Saturday at Kentucky Speedway
Regan’s well-wishes for a good day started out on point as she was running up front through the early stages of the event, having made her way through the field.
Though with 50 laps to go, the smoke began to trail out behind the car, as a series of disappointed faces filled the pit box. Just like that, their day was over and just like that, she was in a hole in the standings. They knew she had to get a win in the next two races or else their championship dreams were officially vanished.
“You ran good at both Dover and Charlotte in the spring,” Chase reminds her. “You still got a great shot at doing this.” She smiles back in return, simply nodding her head.
“We just gotta do what we know how to do, right?” She asks and he couldn’t agree more. If anybody could win under pressure, it was this group right here as they’d done it before.
“The roval at Charlotte should fall right into your wheelhouse,” Kevin Meendering adds, referencing her success a couple months ago. “But either track should be perfect for a win.”
“I haven’t lost a drop of hope, yet…”
As she broke down the discussion with the team, followed by a series of interviews, Chase couldn’t help but wonder from a distance as he watched her. Had he thrown her game off with what happened? But of course, that couldn’t be blamed as it was a mechanical failure, not driver error.
His mind also filled with a flew of thoughts, thinking back to his conversation earlier with Regan, and the past couple of weeks, as he found himself balancing the positives and negatives.
“I’m sorry I rambled on earlier this morning,” he finally speaks, catching Regan’s attention.
“What? Those rambles about your fears and frustrations?” Regan questions and Chase simply nods his head in return. “Don’t be. I’d rather see you get that out of your system, see some answers, then let it eat at you. I’d had no issues handling that this morning.” Chase was glad that he found that trust in Regan, but often wondered about other people.
“I know it’s the anxiety bugging me more than anything, but I just worry about things like that. How will other people see it? Will I get that same acceptance when I get back? Am I truly who I think I am? I just found myself worrying and wondering and asking so many questions…” Regan wasn’t about to end the conversation, actually glad to see his friend continuing to open that door.
“It’s understandable as a lot of has gone on, and I can see why that’s happening. I can’t say that everybody is going to be the most positive like myself, Dale, Alyssa, and others. There will be some that want to tear you apart at the seams. But in the end, do their opinions matter? Absolutely not. All that matters is the confidence that you have in yourself, and the confidence those around you closest to you have.” Chase knew that, even though the questions lingered once in awhile.
“But how do I stop myself from worrying?” Regan wasn’t quite sure he knew the answer, to be honest.
“I think you just need to focus on the positives. Focus on what’s happening, yourself, what you’re doing, and not try to let your mind wander outside that world. I know part of that worry comes with the fear, wondering if something else is going to happen. The only way to overcome that is to face the world and convince yourself that’s not going to happen, and you’re doing that slowly. I mean, you’re standing out here in the garage in a sea of people. As you convince yourself, put that into practice, and continually remind yourself that it’s over – it’ll come.” Chase hoped that Regan was right, but knew there was still one piece of unfinished business.
“I also worry about completely blacking out, or going through that phase where I just do stuff and don’t remember. I don’t want to do that at the wrong time, but I often wonde-”
“Hey, that’ll come with everything that I just said. As you get more comfortable and retrain the brain so to speak so it doesn’t go hide, it’ll come to be where you’re comfortable. I mean, we’ve been out here all day yesterday and today and nothing has happened, not even a flinch from you despite all the chaos. That’s progress, right?” Chase nods his head, but wasn’t about to say he was home free.
“But I’ve also been having someone look over my shoulder every single minute.” Regan knew the feeling of being ‘babysat’ didn’t quite sit well all the time with Chase. Here, a grown adult, was having to be watched by someone 24/7. It just didn’t seem right when you thought about it in that way.
“But you haven’t had to turn to that person to bail you out, or help you. Besides, what’s wrong in having a friend there to look over your back all the time?” Chase knew nothing was wrong with that, except that missing adulthood independence feeling.
“But you could’ve been hom-”
“I would’ve been here anyway. I just would’ve been watching like a normal fan, rather than down here in the midst of the Alyssa circus.” Chase chuckles, remembering they nicknamed the sea of reporters and photographers that just seemed to follow her around for whatever reasons due to being a princess.
“You know I really appreciate having you as a friend, right?” Regan smiles.
“You’ve told me a time or two, and that feeling is mutual.”