Friday, June 9
Chase walked into the garage, smiling as he saw the crew guys all hanging around ready for a busy day of practice and qualifying. With the speed they’d shown lately, and a good run last week, it was time to keep the momentum rolling.
“Ready to go, superstar?” Jared Seate questions and Chase shakes his head yes. “Not missing the girl at all?”
“I’m confident that she’ll do well this weekend,” Chase answers, having followed the live updates from Kyle Busch Motorsports all-day Thursday on practice. While she wasn’t at the top of the time sheet, the fact that she felt comfortable and knew they’d be good in race trim was a good feeling. Now if they just borrowed a bit of Bell’s qualifying set-up, perhaps it’d be a stellar night for her.
“And let me guess – she’ll be here tomorrow?” Chase shakes his head no, remembering her plans.
“She’s going to stay back to watch the Stadium Super Trucks and the IndyCars. She’ll be here on Sunday, though.”
“I thought she’d be traveling back to be with you as soon as possible.” Chase laughs and shakes his head no, though partially wishing that a bit himself. He had to admit he missed her sometimes on weekends like this. Though, it was part of the schedule and he knew the summer brought that a lot with how the trucks did a lot of stand-alone events.
“We have our own lives, and our own desires. We both want to make this work. I respect hers just as much as she respects mine, so therefore we give each other space.” Jared crosses his arms as he couldn’t help but admire that.
“Then why is it your mother still has a problem with her? I mean, we’re four months removed and you guys have only grown more closer together. I mean, it’s the talk of the garage…well, besides Bubba getting a chance to drive for Petty. But still, it baffles me.” Chase knew the answer without saying much as he sat down beside the crew member.
“She still doesn’t trust her and fully grasp what happened there. She gets the reasons why she did it, and yes, she has a heart and understands. But I’m her baby and as she described to me, she’s supposed to protect me no matter what. It’s an underlying worry that she has still till she’s fully proven otherwise. It’ll take time, but it will happen. Besides, she admitted that she’s starting to grow on her….” Jared smiles, remembering that small detail amongst everything.
“I heard that comment at Dover, too – till she mentioned Sarina’s brother. It seems with her brother in the picture, it may not ever come though.” Chase knew that was a good possibility, having pondered that a bunch of times himself. It wasn’t like it was something he could brush aside either, recalling a couple recent conversations with Alan.
“I don’t blame her, honestly. I mean, look at what happened between us, right? I’ve told Alan straight out, too, that I don’t fully trust him either.” Jared watched Chase curiously, as he thought over his next question.
“Alan mentioned a worry about the poison deal being connected to him. Are you worried about that?” Chase wanted to straight out say no, however he couldn’t do that. He heard about Chris’ brief ‘fan zone’ disappearance, and seemed odd on the timing of the incidents. “I see some hesitation….”
“Let’s just say that I know what he said to me that day, and it has stuck ever since. Now, we have a job to do, right?” Jared shakes his head yes as he watches Chase stand up. “Let’s focus and do what we got to do.”
“Yes boss.” Jared then brushes his legs off, before heading the other direction as Chase lets out a sigh. Glancing at the car, he knew it was time to focus on the day at hand.
The team was able to put together a solid practice, with Chase ‘alright’ about the car after the session full of race trim runs. As they got ready to switch over for qualifying trim, he could only hope that it went accordingly to plan.
With some time to kill between the session, he made his way back to the trailer, snagging some lunch before relaxing in the lounge part of the hauler. Just as he was set to bite into his sub, his phone rang and an immediate smile formed on his face.
“Hey princess,” he says as he hit answers on the FaceTime request, instantly earning an eye roll from her.
“Oh, so you think that you can try that line on me since it worked so well for Christopher?” She questions as he laughs.
“But you’re my princess as I’d do anything to make you feel good.” She couldn’t help but giggle in response.
“Okay, that earns you a point Mr. Elliott. The only thing is I don’t know how I feel about you in orange yet. There’s something about you and blue…” He just rolls his eyes.
“Well, white definitely works for you, sweetie, as it shows off every curve – just don’t let people stare at that butt of yours.” She takes another round of chuckling.
“You’ll just have to win me over with that lovely orange….” He looks on intrigued. However, he couldn’t deny that he was loving the chat as it was nice to get in some quality flirting.
“Maybe when you’re here on Sunday I can do that. Better yet, you can show up a day early and make my weekend that much sweeter.” She then sighs. It was a big toss-up for her. One of the reasons she loved the trucks racing at Texas was the fact IndyCar and SST ran the same weekend. She loved watching both, and it was nice to get a chance to see them live for a change. However, she understood the pain of being separated for a couple days.
“You know I’m just a ring-a-ling a way if you’re that desperate for company, Chase. But anyways, I thought you could take care of yourself.” Chase chuckles.
“Oh I’m not worried about myself, dear. I know I can handle cooking and all that day. It’s you that I worry about.” She had to laugh, knowing that her cooking was questionable at times. There were also times that she forgot to eat totally when she got busy.
“Does it make you happy that I’m eating while talking to you right now?” He shakes his head yes. “Good. So see, I can take care of myself.”
“Just make sure you have a good safe, fun, clean night. I want to see what a cowboy hat looks like on that sweet head of yours.” She smiles, wishing for the same result.
“I’m going to try, buddy. Alright – I better go as Marcus wants to chit chat soon. Talk later?” He shakes his head yes. “Love you.”
“Love you, more. Bye Sarina.” He then hangs up as he kicks his feet up, eating the rest of his sub as he watched XFINITY practice. That phone call was exactly what he needed.
The relaxation lasted for a good hour before a knock at the door, and he knew it was time for qualifying. Making his way out of the trailer, he grabs one of the markers off the counter and heads out. Taking his time along the way, he signs some autographs for the fans as he heads out to pit road.
He makes his way out to pit road and the walk down to his stall for the session, set to lay down the best lap that he could imagine.
“I was wondering where you were,” he hears a male voice as he reaches there, surprised to see his parents. They had told him they were coming, but weren’t sure if they’d get there for Friday or not.
“I was taking my time, but knew I’d be here with time to spare,” he answers as he fixes his shoes.
“Any updates from Texas?” He shakes his head no, knowing the truck series qualifying session was scheduled around the same time that he was supposed to go out for his session.
“She’s supposed to text me when she’s done, just as I am supposed to do for her.” Bill shakes his head, understanding. It was the same agreement that they had in place when she was racing a late model for him.
“Her brother and that supposed cousin with her?” Cindy asks and Chase shakes his head yes, only imagining what his mom would say next.
“Well, Bethany actually isn’t with them since Sarina told her off this week after the family comment stunt,” he starts. “Bethany stopped by and made some other comment about that reunion. Sarina told her to fly a kite because she wasn’t doing family drama anymore.” Cindy rolls her eyes.
“But yet she still hangs around with her brother?” Chase lets out a sigh, having a feeling that was coming.
“We’ve talked about this, and that’s all I’m going to say. I’ve told you what she’s said about her brother. I’ve also told you that I’m being cautious and careful. Now, can we drop it, please?” Cindy shakes her head, knowing there were bigger fish to fry. Besides, as long as he aware, that was all that mattered. “It is nice to see you both, though.” Chase then walks away, heading over to Alan as Cindy watches on.
“You need to relax a little,” Bill comments as he rubs her shoulders.
“But I’m Mama Bear and it’s my job to prote-” Cindy starts.
“But your cub is growing up, and learning to handle things for himself. Besides, you both are just going around in circles. You see how much he loves her. Respect that, embrace that. Give her a chance.” She then looks back at Bill.
“You’re just worried that he’s going to be mad at me and not talk to me, aren’t you? You don’t want to lose that…” Bill just pulls her back close. “Don’t worry – I won’t let it come to that. But I will not back down when it comes to protecting him.”
The debates of the afternoon were all put aside through the next couple of hours with the focus being on qualifying. Still fighting a loose condition, Chase was unable to lay down the lap he wanted and barely missed out on making it to the second round, qualifying 25th.
“I should’ve went further on that adjustment,” Alan comments after the session is over. “I’m sorry.” Chase shrugs his shoulders.
“There’s a lot of ways to get to the front, strategy or passing,” Chase says. “We’ll work on the car a little tomorrow and be fine for Sunday. Don’t worry.” Alan smiles, liking the confidence from his driver.
“I believe you’re right as we know what we need to do now.” Chase shakes his head yes as he grabs his phone off the pit cart. “Any update?” He shakes his head no as he lets out a sigh.
“Pole!!!!” Jared Seate lets out, causing everyone to look over confused.
“Um, none of our cars on the pole,” Alan states the obvious as Jared laughs, shaking his head.
“Truck Series live timing and scoring – I have it loaded on my phone from NASCAR’s website. Someone is going to love-a-dub his update from his girl.” Chase then looks over at Jared with a face of amazement.
“Seriously?” He questions and Jared shakes his head yes, walking over as he shows Chase the scoring monitor.
“Read it and weep, baby. Sarina Ott just got her first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole at Texas Motor Speedway. How does that feel?” Chase immediately smiles as he lets out a small woohoo.
“That’s awesome!” He then grabs his phone, texting her immediately to say congratulations, knowing she’d get it once done with all the photos and such.
“So, where are you watching this truck race tonight?” Chase looks over at Jared, intrigued. “We were stealing Alan’s suite at the hotel tonight because he’s got the 70 inch screen in there. That’d allow you to see her full screen…”
“Do you really want a panicking boyfriend ruining our viewing experience?” Chad Avrit questions as Chase laughs.
“Me? Panicking?” He asks and Chad shakes his head yes.
“I saw you at Talladega. You’re nervous watching her.” Chase chuckles, though knew that the crew guys were right.
“Regardless, I think it’d be fun if you join us…” Jared continues as Chase thinks it over, figuring company was perhaps a good idea since Ryan and Darrell had ditched him.
“Fine, just so I can drive Chad crazy,” he comments.