Sarina sat on the pit box, focused on the action on track. Everything that happened pre-race was out of mind without a single worry left to think of. For now, she was focused on Chase and them having a good night of racing.
Her eyes flip to the monitor, watching smoke begin to trail from Jeffrey Earnhardt’s No. 33 entry, knowing that it was a possible blown motor and a caution was to come. Her eyes then focused on track as the No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet came into view on the frontstretch.
She watched as it slowed dramatically, what appearing to be fire in view by the front wheel well, before being slammed into the back off and lifted off the ground by Brad Keselowski.
“What the hell?!?” She yells out loud in shock of what happened, her hands immediately landing on her mouth. There were no words to describe what happened before her.
“Chase, are you alright?” Alan immediately cues the radio after what happened. “Looks like a lot of fire there….” He then sits back on the pit box, eyes focused down the frontstretch where both Chase and Brad had ended up.
“He’s out guys,” Eddie D’Hondt tells them over the radio. “He’s out and walking around. He’s okay…”
“10-4.” Alan then takes off his headset, putting his notes together as he lets out a sigh. So much for a fun night of racing.
“What the heck happened?” Sarina questions once again as she looks over at the crew chief. He could only shrug his shoulders, though his eyes then laid on the screen. He saw the debris come out from Jeffrey’s car, followed by going through the nose of Chase’s car. It was obvious the fire was due to the oil cooler being knocked off. “Why the hell didn’t NASCAR call the caution sooner? Are they freaking insane? They caused that crap by not calling the caution! Jeffrey was smoking for a whole half a corner before they thought of anything. Are they insa-”
“There’s nothing that we can do now so take a deep breath, relax, be glad that he’s alright and go see him at the medical center.” She then takes a couple deep breathes, knowing that Alan was right no matter how mad she truly was. She makes her way down the steps, beginning the long walk back.
After climbing from the car, Chase made his way to the ambulance, climbing inside followed by Brad.
“Are you okay?” Brad asks and Chase shakes his head yes. “I didn’t mean to hit you. It’s just I didn’t realize how slow you were going till the last minute….” Chase could understand that, given how quickly everything happened.
“I hit a piece of debris off Jeffrey’s car and it punched a hole in the nose, hit the oil cooler, caught fire,” Chase explains, as Brad shakes his head understanding. Everything made sense now. “You’re okay, right?” Brad shakes his head yes.
Chase sat quiet the rest of the ride, fingers fumbling around the clips on the HANS device. It seemed the wreck was the perfect way to end May. Nothing had gone right through the month. From doubts and fights with Sarina, to multiple wrecks including a flying at Talladega, no luck seemed to be in his corner. Combine that with the Jared incident and he knew he wouldn’t miss May one bit.
Reaching the care center, he climbs out, eying Sarina immediately standing there as he walks over, wraps an arm around her and kisses her forehead.
“I’m okay,” he tells her as he looks into her eyes. She looks back into his, shaking her head immediately. Despite the nature of what happened, she was much calmer than she had been all month so far.
“I know and I’m glad,” she replies, kissing his lips. “It just sucks period that you have no luck and NASCAR can’t call a damn bloody race.” Chase then looks at her surprised. “Well, I’m sorry but the caution should’ve been flown sooner.”
“They didn’t know he was leaking flui-”
“There was smoke coming out of the back and going that fast, there should be no chances taken. That could’ve been a lot worse!” He then pulls her as tight as he could to him, rubbing her shoulders.
“Calm down, deep breathes. There’s nothing we can do. Let me go checked out and then we can get out of here, okay?” She shakes her head yes. He then lets go and heads inside as required.
He comes out of the medical center about 15 minutes later, handing his helmet and HANS over to Morgan before walking over to the media waiting for his comments.
“Yeah, I saw parts and pieces flying,” he starts. “I don’t know if he blew a tire or something and I ended up hitting something that he had on track. I hit it pretty hard. It was really solid, so I knew it was rough. I saw some fire, tried to get stopped and get out of the way and I guess Brad got in my oil and couldn’t get slowed down, so I hate it.” He then takes a pause, thinking back through his thoughts earlier. “Man, it is so just ridiculous. I wish I knew what to do to try to fix things like that, but at the end of the day you really can’t.”
He then walks away from the group after a quick wave, meeting up with Sarina as they head towards the garage area together.
“That wasn’t your fault one bit,” she starts. “ I heard your comments. There’s nothing that you could’ve done, as ridiculous as it was. You did what you could. Just luck of the draw.” He knew that she was right, but he still felt terrible as he glanced up on the scoreboard to see who was running where. He hated being eliminated out of the race so early – Lap 19 out of 400. It just sucked, period.
“I know…” He simply replies as he leads her into his trailer. “It just sucks…” She then spins around, pulling him close to her as she rubs his back.
“Things are going to get better. You guys are running great, and that’s half the battle. You’ve proven that you can run up front and contend for wins. If you keep doing that, you’ll shake this bad spell and damn well get some wins. I believe in you and I know it’s going to happen.” He gives her a slight smile as he leans in for another kiss.
“I appreciate the vote of confidence, really. It helps…” She then smiles as she lays her head against him.
“I mean it, every single word of it. Everything is going to be fine. We’re stuck together like glue, things are coming around with Chris, and we’re both going to have success this year…” He just hoped that her words played true in every regard as he held her close.
“I believe you….” She then slips her fingers up his front, grabbing the zipper on his firesuit and pulling it down slowly. “Sarina….”
“Relax, Chase….” She then slips the zipper down, before reaching up and pulling the top off his shoulders. “I’m not going to make you do anything that you don’t want and I’m not going to do that. I just figure a nice massage would help.”
“That’d actually be nice…” He then turns around as she rubs his shoulders, followed by down his back a little.
“You know that you never have to be uncomfortable with me. You can always tell me what you’re feeling or want or don’t want. I’ll listen. We’ve had this deal from the beginning – we won’t push each other no matter what. We do this at our speed. And Chase, I know that you’re not ready for that and it’s fine. I don’t think I’m ready either…” He feels himself relax against her as he looks back at her over his shoulder.
“I’m sorry I tensed there when you started. I just thought the worse….”
“It’s fine and understandable. Now sssh…” She then works his fingers in a little deeper as he feels himself relax more and more.
The pair remained there for awhile, before he got changed and they headed out. Once the rain delay hit, Sarina texted Chris and Bethany that she was leaving with Chase and they headed back to the house.
As they sat in the living room set to watch the final 200 laps of the race together, they could only hope that Miles treated them much better than this past weekend.