Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 94: Axaltra Pocono 400

Chase walks into the garage area, hearing commotion down in one of the other stalls as he glanced over confused, before looking at his guys.

“What’s going on there?” He questions, catching his guy’s attention.

“Another poisoning incident,” Jared Erspamer states with a shiver of his own as he thought back to his own bout. “One of the Joe Gibbs guys.” Chase looks on shocked as he shakes his head.

“Crazy…. Is he going to be okay?” Alan shrugs his shoulders, not sure yet as they hadn’t heard many details.

“Regardless, the garage has been a fury of activity with cops questioning every single person that they can come across,” Alan states. “So boys, now that we’ve been left alone, can we get to work?” A mix of sighs and head shakes as the boys scatter around the car. Chase remains with Alan, shaking his head. “I think I figured out something that will work today – or at least, I can say that I’ve put in a good effort. I’ve changed everything.”

“Well, you’re not quite there yet,” Chase comments. “You’re still stuck with me.” Alan smiles as he looks over at his driver.

“Look at it this way, then. If we suck today, I say we change the driver next.” Chase looks on shocked as Alan just laughs. “We’ll be fine, kid. Don’t worry. Just be careful, alright?” Chase shakes his head yes.

“Ugh, found him finally!” Sarina lets out as she enters the garage stall, walking up to Chase and giving him a big hug. “I missed you!”

“I missed you too,” Chase says as he keeps his arms wrapped around her. “What do you mean ‘finally’? You could’ve texted me.” She pulls out her phone, hitting the button to turn it on with no power. “You killed your phone, again?”

“I forgot to charge it last night and then I left my bag with the cord and portable charger in the hauler.” He shakes his head in disbelief. “So I landed this morning in Pennsylvania with my brother. He came here pretty shortly after, and my plan was to find you. Well, that didn’t happen right away as I got tied up with Kyle and Samantha, and oh lawdy that was a discussion of everything from here to there. I think Kyle knows every bitty detail that happened in Texas now.” Chase chuckles, knowing how thorough Kyle could be at times.

“It’s what makes him one of the best team owners to drive for, though.” She knew that was right, whether she agreed to the discussion or not. She would’ve rather been cuddling Chase sooner.

“So anyway, after we got done, I went to your motorcoach and no dice. So then I went and saw Ryan because heck, you normally hang out with him and it’s early. Well, no dice there – but he wanted to chit chat about Texas, too. So another 10 minutes wasted and then I made my way to the garage area. I asked my brother if he saw you but that retreated to no avail so after checking two other spots, I found you.”

“Sounds like you had quite the morning.” She shakes her head yes. “Now, does this excitement compare anything to the weekend that was in Texas?” She laughs and shakes her head no.

“That IndyCar race freaking bananas. I mean, I can’t believe the amount of carnage and wrecks as you normally don’t have that. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was watching. By the way, I’m wondering if Tony Kanaan is alright because I think someone may have kicked his ass by now. Did you see what happened with him and Rossi, and then with Hinch?” Chase shakes his head yes, having watched the race.

“Pack racing and IndyCars don’t mix well.” She rolls her eyes, growing old of the ‘pack racing’ excuse for the wrecks.

“Smarter driving would’ve also helped, too. Bu anyways, it was pretty good. The Stadium Super Trucks were great to watch, too. Sheldon Creed had his showstopper nickname for a reason, and it’s always fun joking with Robby for awhile.” She then wraps her fingers around his hand. “But I will admit – I missed you a ton and at some points during yesterday, I wished I had flown my butt here to see you sooner. I love you.”

“I love you, too. I’m glad you’re here for the race today.” He leans in and kisses her lips.

The pair spent the morning – or what they could of it, hanging out and continuing to chat back and forth about their recent experiences. Sarina then reluctantly let him go so he could attend the driver’s meeting, followed by a couple sponsor appearances and then joined him on pit road after driver intros.

A quick wish of success, followed by another kiss, and it was time for the race to begin.

The efforts put in by Alan Gustafson over night to change over the car completely worked as Chase was able to work his way into the top-10, despite starting back in 25th. Throughout the race, he ran amongst some of the fast cars, cracking the top-five mid-way. However, a mix of strategy saw him fall back out, en route to a solid top-10 finish.

That wasn’t the highlight of the day, though, as all eyes had been on his best friend. He couldn’t contain the excitement for Ryan after hearing how well he had worked to get by Kyle Busch, followed by holding off Kevin Harvick to the line for the victory.

After a quick chat with Alan, followed by a quick kiss and hug from Sarina, he made his way to victory lane, immediately giving his buddy a hug and congratulations.

“Awesome job, man!” He says as Blaney just looks back with a pure smile.

“Thanks buddy,” he replies. “Are you coming to the party?” Chase smiles, shaking his head yes. There was no way that he’d miss it.

“I’ll be there – and we’ll have a good ‘ol time tonight.” Ryan laughs as he watches Chase head out of victory lane. Chase catches up with Sarina, wrapping an arm around her as they head back to the trailer together.

“You don’t mind spending some time at Ryan’s party tonight, do you?” He questions and she shakes her head no.

With Ryan’s media obligations, the party did not actually get started till midnight when he was able to finish up, fly home and then get back to the house. Though as soon as he arrived, there was no stopping the fun that ensued. Throughout the house and in the pool, all different drivers and their significant others could be found, living it up and having a ball to celebrate the night.

Chase spent time goofing off in the pool with Bubba and Ryan, including a couple cannon balls, before going to find Sarina and where she had headed off to.

“I thought you got lost,” he comments as he walks up behind her, wrapping his arms around her as he lays his head on her shoulder.

“Nah, me, Amy and Paige have been just kidding around about your antics,” she replies as he gives her a surprised glance.

“My antics? I’m innocent tonight, sweetheart.” She then laughs as she had seen the cannonball into the pool, along with the attempt at karoke.

“Go ask Jack if he believes you….” He then chuckles as he glances over at the bottle of Jack Daniels he had split with Ryan. “Little tipsy there, Elliott? Need me to hold you up?”

“Nah, I’m good.” He then stands up and starts to walk away, wobbling a little as she rolls her eyes.

“Good luck with him tomorrow morning,” Amy comments with a chuckle of her own.

“I wouldn’t be so certain that you won’t be in the same situation,” Sarina replies, pointing to Dale, who jumped off the small mound into the pool for another cannon ball with laughs spewing.

“That, my dear, is a trained party professional. He can handle this.”

“I’ll be sure to remind you of those words when you call me tomorrow whining about his complaining of a headache,” Paige teases as Sarina just laughs. “Why are boys nuts?”

“Because that’s why we love them so much,” Amy reasons as Paige rolls her eyes. “I know this girl is in love and will actually admit it now.” A smile forms on Sarina’s face at the comment as Paige looks over.

“Oooooo, she finally fell for the Elliott charm? Oh my….”

“Oh no, she fell immediately. She was just afraid to tell us that.” Sarina rolls her eyes. “Listen, it’s great, though. Dale even said the same thing I’m going to tell you – we can see it on both your faces. You guys are great together, deserve each other, and make a great couple. I see a lifetime of happiness.”

“Going to the chapel of love, going to get married….” Amy chuckles at Paige’s singing as she glances at the wine bottle.

“I think she’s had her fair share tonight.” Sarina laughs as Paige grabs the bottle, taking another drink, before going to look for Brad.

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