Friday at Dover International Speedway
Sarina walks through the garage area with Chase, giving him a quick kiss before letting him head off for practice. She then took a deep breath, continuing to make her way through the garage. She signed a couple autographs throughout her walk, before reaching the Kyle Busch Motorsports hauler.
“This needs to be done,” she calmly reminded herself as she took another calming deep breath. “This needs to be done….” She then walks up to the door, sliding it open and walking inside. She immediately comes face-to-face with her teammate, giving herself some more calming deep breathes. She wasn’t ever good at staying calm in these situations.
“You called?” Christopher Bell questions and she shakes her head yes.
“We need to talk about our issues,” she answers as he crosses his arms. Needless to say, she could tell that he had the same attitude as her normally.
“Well duh. Do you not recall what happened yesterday in the garage?” He rolls his eyes, shaking his head yes. His crew chief had already mentioned to him that it’d be best to clean up his actions.
“Let me guess – Marcus told you that we should work out our issues?” She shakes her head yes. “That figures as I got the same lecture. So, what’s it going to be?” She crosses her arms, knowing there was only one way through this.
“What is it going to take for you to damn well lay off Chase and I? It’s clearly obvious that you have a problem with us. You told me straight up at the shop that you didn’t trust him because of what happened. Well news flash, I trust him from one end of the earth to the other. If anybody should have a reason to not trust, it’s him for what I did. Now should that concern you? I don’t think not as it doesn’t concern me, hence why we’re together and better than ever. So, can you lay off please?” He lets out a sigh, wishing he could just say the words and do as she pleases. However, he couldn’t allow himself to do that.
“If you’d prefer that I lay off, I supposed I can keep my mouth shut for your sake. However, don’t think that I’m not going to keep my eye on you or him. I have some reasonable concerns that I’m sure plenty of others have as well based on what happened. I mean Sarina, how is it he can take you back so quick after you lied to him? How is it that you can handle things with him when he straight up admits that he’s nervous about your brother?” She lets out a sigh, having explained this already to Christopher.
“I’m not going through this again with you, Christopher. Can we just agree for you to shut your flap?”
“Can we just agree for you to consider my concer-”
“What is it going to take to get through your damn head?!?” A smile forms across his face as he keeps his eyes on her.
“Sarina Ott, the tough as nails female racer that nobody could crack and always held her own. Despite any challenge her way, she would never back down and stood guard to that person. Here was the girl that would never crack, shout – just give you straight up attitude back and let the talking happen on the track. But yet, here we are, and you can’t keep your damn cool and are shouting at me about your boy. Do you see what’s happening? You know my concerns are valid so therefore you have to push beyo-”
“Did I ever tell you that your concerns weren’t?” She then takes a deep breath, knowing that he was right though. It was amazing the things that love caused you to do. “I explained the trust deal. I explained why he was able to easily forgive me – hello the fear and everything. I explained why things are a mess with him and my brother – understandably as my brother basically tortured him for a good year. Like I said, their valid and I get why you can’t get it right away. The same way I get that Cindy has iss-”
“So his mom doesn’t like you, either? Oh man, that’s never going to fly knowing that boy as family means everything to him.” Sarina glances down, knowing that he was right in those words. She knew she’d have to work on Cindy over time if their future was going to be set, but she was fine with that. Like everything else, she understood the concerns.
“Like I was saying, everything is fair and valid. But, can you please give me the benefit of the doubt and shut up about it? I don’t need constant reminders. I don’t need you getting under his skin. I don’t need you always trying to shove it in my face. I get the damn mistakes made. Now give me the space to fix them, please!” Christopher leans back against the drawers, understanding where she was coming from as he keeps his eyes locked on hers.
“Why does this mean so much to you, Sarina? I want the truth…” She then glances back down as she looks away partially.
“My life has always been a mess. I’ve always been fighting against my own family and issues – just ask my brother about the deals that happened with our parents. My father was no perfect man and that caused tensions and resulted in what happened. I’ve always been on the run, trying to leave demons behind.” She then takes a deep breath as she looks up at Christopher. “When Chase gave me the chance to drive for him, it really set things down and gave me a chance for the life I wanted. It gave me a chance to have solid grounding, to stop worrying, and actually build towards what I wanted. Then when we started dating, he is the only second person in my life besides Tony Leons that I could truly trust and know that no matter what happened, things would be okay. I don’t want to lose that….”
“What about your cousin Bethany and your brother?” She lets out a small chuckle.
“Things have never been smooth there, nor has there ever been any grounding. Let’s just say that what we’ve seen this year is the first time I’ve seen something I wanted out of them both.” Christopher felt himself breaking for her, understanding her perspective.
“I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and leave you be. I get it and understand why you want this so badly now. To be honest, even though I was ribbing the heck out of you and bugging you, I want you to be happy. I want things to work with you and Chase. I hope they do work out, and you both get the happiness you deserve.” She looks up with a smile on her face.
“Thanks Christopher. You won’t say anything about this conversation to anyone, will you?” He shakes his head no. “Good, or else I may actually kick your ass.” He then walks over to her, wrapping an arm around her.
“Everybody has a vulnerable side, and that’s okay. As long as you handle it right and trust the right people, it’s fine. I’ve got your back.”
Chase Elliott walks up the steps, taking his usual seat on the pit box as he was set to take in the truck race that afternoon. Silently crossing his fingers, he hoped that Sarina had the good run that she wanted.
He watched her through the first stage, seeing how loose the No. 18 Toyota Tundra was off the corners. However, like she had impressed him a couple years ago in the late model, she managed to keep it out of trouble and gain some track position, crossing the finish line for the first stage in fifth.
His eyes remained focused on her through the next stage, in hopes that she’d continue to make up ground. Restarting 16th, his nerves for her were edgy in knowing how quickly Miles could snatch you up with a single bite. However, she kept it clean, moving forward up to the eighth spot by Lap 74.
Ahead of her, a couple trucks got together, sending someone spinning. She slowed up to avoid after the call on the radio from her spotter, just to be hit from behind.
“Shit!” He heard her curse over the radio, feeling his heart drop. So much for the good run that she needed. “How bad is it?”
“It’s easily repairable,” the spotter announces over the radio, peaking Chase’s interest. “Left rear and bumper cover, crew chief.”
“10-4 bring it in,” Marcus instructs as he focuses his eyes on the pit crew. It was obvious what they needed to do.
The repairs came easily, with her returning to the track near the back and ready to make up the lost ground. Both Marcus and Chase crossed fingers in hoping the repairs were enough, watching her drive from 17th to 12th over the next 12 laps to complete the stage.
“Stay out!” Marcus instructs at the end of the stage, given that they only had 12 laps on their tires. “Going to gain some position here.”
“Whatever you say boss,” she replies, knowing that she could trust Marcus in seeing their work together already this year, and his past with Timothy Peters.
Restarting seventh, she made her way up through the traffic to the third spot, before having to under green for fuel on Lap 156. Now trapped a lap down, the field began to cycle through stops which was set to put her back on the lead lap. However that happened, the caution flew as Chase Briscoe’s wheel went rolling onto the track after coming loose.
“Crap!” Marcus lets out as he shakes his head. He knew that was pretty much the end of them getting the top-five finish they deserved. “Just try to do what you can here, and hope you get a caution for the lucky dog.”
She would put herself into position, running in the lucky dog spot after the restart. However, a caution failed to fall in the final 25 laps, trapping her a lap down and handing them a ninth place finish.
“Solid day everyone,” Marcus says over the radio. “Great effort all day. Great truck. Great driving. Sorry about the strategy.”
“It happens – you were just trying to make up what we lost,” Sarina says, not feeling a drop of disappointment. “Great job today guys!”
Climbing from the truck afterwards on pit road, a smile was firmly planted on her face the entire time. Normally, she had to admit in the past that she’d pissed about coming so close and falling short at the end. However, given how the past month had gone along with the fact that they still got a top-10, it was a great effort. It was the solid footing that they needed moving forward into the summer. It also didn’t help that she found Dover to be a very fun track, and couldn’t wait to race there again sometime.
“I’m proud of you,” Chase says as he gives her a hug, followed by a kiss. “You did a great job all day. Great driving, great maturity – you’re growing into quite the driver.”
“Why thank you Mr. Elliott,” she replies with a smile.
“I just may have to treat you out to dinner tonight as a present.” She then looks on surprised as they hadn’t gone out for dinner much since they started dating.
“Really?” He shakes his head yes. “I wouldn’t mind that one bit, actually. It’d be nice to get some alone time…”
“Just promise me you’ll both behave,” Marcus comments over her shoulder as she glances back, giving the crew chief a smack as he laughs. “I don’t want to find out my driver is preg-”
“Marcus!!” They both yell together as he laughs even harder while walking away.