The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 44: Active Pest Control 200

Friday, February 23, 2018 – WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital – Griffin, Georgia

Alan and Chase walk down the halls, double checking the directions. Kyle had been doing a good job thus far, keeping them both informed on their way over as to where Sarina was so they would know upon arrival at the hospital.

Reading the room numbers down the hall, they stop at the room as listed in the last text message from Kyle, entering together slowly. Alan and Kyle share a simple nod back and forth in return, as Chase immediately goes over to Sarina, taking her hands into his.

“I’m so glad you’re okay,” he tells her, pulling her into a hug as she lays her head against his chest immediately. “She didn’t do anything too terrible did she?” Sarina shakes her head no.

“One minute I’m walking with Rudy, next minute I woke up there alone,” she recalls. “Kyle showed up about three minutes later.” Chase just quietly rubs her back, saying his thankful prayers under his breath, as he glances over at Kyle.

“Thank you…” Kyle nods his head, accepting.

“You don’t need to thank me because I’d do it over in a heartbeat,” he tells Chase.

“Chase, I’m fine…” Sarina repeats, feeling his nerves against her as he stayed there, rubbing her back, taking a couple deep breaths as he calmed himself down. “Easy baby…” She reaches up, rubbing his side as he looks into her blue eyes.

“You don’t get it, do you?” He questions, causing confusion around the room. “She went after you to get to me. She went after you to mess with my head and get under my skin. The notes weren’t enough that now she’s resorting to going after those who are closest to me to bug me. It’s because of me that you’re in this mes-”

“It was Bethany that got her involved with the plan initially, and that’d be my cousin, Chase.” Chase lets out a sigh as he knew that was true, but that didn’t excuse what happened.

“But this incident, what she’s been doing, it’s solely focused on me and me alone, and now this was meant to get under my skin. I hate to watch you get hurt because of someone going after me-”

“I’m fin-”

“What if this would’ve turned out different?” Sarina felt every fear that he was expressing as she reached for his hand, gripping it as tightly as she could.

“But it didn’t, Chase. I’m fine. Let’s be thankful about that, and focus on the future. Let’s focus on being more careful, watching our boundaries, doing the right thing, and not letting it happen again. We can’t change what happened, but we can plan for the future.” Chase knew that, and it was why he had set on a plan before coming over to see her. Taking a deep breath, he knew saying it would be harder than coming up with it.

“I think until everything is sorted out and she is caught, we need to stay apart. I feel it is the only way to keep you safe so that way she comes straight after me and not those around me…” Shock came over the whole room in his revelation, as both Kyle and Alan fought against interrupting the pair’s discussion.

“Seriously?” Chase slowly nods his head yes, holding back the tears. “Do you honestly hear yourself right now? I can’t believe you said that to me at all. After everything we’ve been through, this is what you have to tell me?” Chase knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, but it was the only thing that he could think to do in his mind. “Remember when Chris started to go after you to get to me? Do you remember that hell we went through and survived to get to here? I remember a time that I wanted to walk away from you to save you in my words, but you wouldn’t let me. You told me that no matter what, you loved me, stood by me, and wanted to help me. But now you expect me to walk away from you? Like hell! I could never ever do that, nor will I ever do that. I’m in this for the long haul. I’m going to help you just as much as you helped me.” He takes a deep breath, trying to find the energy to fight against it.

“I don’t think that’s a goo-”

“I don’t care. Listen to me, Chase Elliott. I accept the danger that comes in being with you and facing the likes of Allison, just like you accepted the danger of facing my brother. You dealt with being poisoning, almost killed in a plane crash, all because you loved me and wanted to be there for me. I can’t walk away from you now. I need to do this for you.” He slowly lets out a sigh as he lets her lean her head back against his chest, wrapping his arms around her again.

“Thank you, I guess. I just…” He takes a deep breath, once again forcing the tears back. “I’d just hate for something to happen to you because of me. I’m more afraid that I realize, and frankly, she’s doing a damn good job screwing with me because I can’t even think straight about this…” She looks up into his brown eyes, wiping away the couple of stray tears.

“Nobody blames you for feeling scared, worried, confused, whatever. I would feel the same way in your shoes, Chase. I know it’s hard to withstand giving her that power. That’s why you need me, and Alan, and everybody in your corner. We’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure she goes down, okay?” He slowly nods his head as he pulls her back close to him. “I’m okay, Chase…”

Thankfully, she was cleared with no further issues from the incident, set for tomorrow’s truck race without issue. just in case, Kyle had assured her that both Christopher and Erik would be around if needed.

The pair retreated back to the motorcoach that night, solely focused on cuddles together as neither wanted to let the other go from their arms. Closing their eyes for the night, they could only hope Saturday went better.

Saturday, February 24, 2018 – Atlanta Motor Speedway

“Are you sure you’re okay for today?” Chase questions as he and Sarina walk out to the grid together, holding hands. She glances over at him, nodding her head.

“I told you – I’m fine,” she repeats for what seemed like the millionth time since last night. “I’m feeling no pain anywhere, no after-effects – I feel like myself, okay? I’m ready to go for today.” He nods his head accepting.

“Just be careful, okay?” She accepts, kissing his lips lightly.

“The same goes to you. You may be acting all concerned over me – like you always do, but I’m just equally concerned for you. I know you’re still sore…” Chase couldn’t deny that as his ribs had been bugging him a bit more than warranted, with more ice sessions happening then preferred.

“I can handle it, okay?” She nods her head, accepting.

“Just promise me you’ll tell me if you get something on your mind again…” He lets out a sigh, but could easily accept that – even knowing how hard it could be to discuss sometimes.

The pair share another kiss, before separating as she heads out on pit road with her team, while he made his way back to the garage area to meet back up with Alan and the team. Following along with qualifying, he couldn’t complain about her qualifying third.

“Just so you know, I can’t stick around for post-practice debrief,” he tells Alan, who simply glances over his way. “I have the XFINITY broadcast to do.” Alan nods his head, having seen that on the schedule.

“If there’s anything we need to discuss, I will message you and we can meet up after the truck race,” Alan replies. He knew that Chase wouldn’t want to miss the truck race, which was taking place right after the XFINITY race in the unique double-header format.

“Thank you.” Alan goes over to where he is standing, eyes locked on the young man beside him. He still couldn’t get the events from yesterday out of his mind, from Chase’s reaction to the phone call, to his words to Sarina in the hospital room.

“You haven’t gotten any updates on the investigation, have you?” Chase shakes his head no. “Remember what I told you. I’m always here.” Chase glances over at the crew chief.

“Are you trying to instill something?” Alan takes a deep breath, knowing he had already said too much.

“I was just caught off-guard by your reaction yesterday…” Admittedly, looking back, Chase couldn’t deny it as the crew chief was right.

“Can you blame me after what happened, though?” Alan shakes his head no. “I mean, I know why Alison did what she did. Just like the plane incident for you guys, it’s a sign to me that she can get to who she wants when she wants, and do what she wants. It’s part of her puzzle, mind game to me in making me wonder what the hell she is thinking in that crazy head of hers. That, and the fact that I will have to make a decision in relation to those who I lov-”

“It won’t come to that, Chase.” Chase couldn’t be quite sure as so far, everybody had delivered empty promises since everything began. “She’s not going to get a chance to screw with you again.”

“I hope you’re right as I’m done playing games.” In Chase’s mind, he’d rather deal with her straight up and see his chances, rather than be dealing with what was dubbed the mind field of attacks.

Taking a deep breath, he makes his way over to the car, climbing in, set to go for practice as there was no more time to play around with debating Alison’s next move. Unfortunately, the session did not go as planned, as he finished the session 28th on the board, still unhappy with how the car was handling.

“Better than yesterday, but we’re still out to lunch,” he tells Alan before heading off to the trailer to get changed.

He goes into the trailer, slipping off his firesuit carefully, before grabbing the suit that had been hung in the cupboard before the day began.

“Have fun in the booth,” he hears from behind, smiling immediately as he recognized the voice. He turns around, kissing her lisps. “I look forward to hearing you drop your knowledge on the rest of the world.” He chuckles as he slips on the dress shirt.

“I don’t know about that,” he offers as she just rolls her eyes, helping him with the buttons.

“Oh trust me, you’re smarter up there than you think.” She gives him another kiss as he glances in the mirror, fixing the jacket and pants. “And you look damn sexy. Actually, you look way too damn sexy. All the other girls are going to be jealous seeing you….”

“But my heart only belongs to you.” He then turns around, giving her another kiss. “If I don’t see you before the truck race, I hope you have a great day.”

“Fingers crossed. That truck is fast this weekend.” He nods his head, having watched her practice and qualifying so far.

“I wish some of that speed would translate to my Cup car.” Letting out a sigh, he couldn’t dwell on the frustrations of the weekend anymore as he gave her one more final kiss, before heading out for the trip up to the broadcast booth.

“Thank you for having me up here,” Chase says as he shakes both Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip’s hands. “You made it easy as always…”

“You did a great job,” Adam tells him. “Are you going to watch the truck race?” Chase then glances back at him, surprised.

“Is that even a question, man? Of course!” Adam glances at his watch, followed by the sheet from NASCAR.

“Well, you got about 20 minutes…” Chase nods his head, having planned everything out already.

He heads out of the broadcast booth, back through the infield of the track to the trailer, making his way up to the lounge. He shares a quick wave for the crew guys, before grabbing a pair of jeans and t-shirt out of the closet.

“Does he have a whole wardrobe in there?” Josh questions as Alan just shakes his head.

“He’s a superstar – he has to be able to be dressed for any occasion,” Alan answers as Chase pops back into the lounge, hanging the suit back in the closet as he had gotten changed. “That’s record timing there!”

“I seem to be getting plenty of practice,” Chase comments, grabbing his phone. “You remember our dea-”

“I’ll text you if I need you.” Chase then heads out, making his way out to pit road.

Finding his way down to the No. 18 pit box, he climbs the steps, taking his usual seat behind the crew chief. Rudy Fugle glances back surprises as Chase sits down, grabbing his headset.

“Weren’t you just in the booth?” Rudy questions and Chase nods his head. “I swear you must have a twin or a duplicate to make that trip and be changed.”

“Nah man, I know magic,” Chase answers with a wink as Rudy just rolls his eyes.

“I still can’t believe Kyle gives you the access he does…” Rudy focuses back forward ready to do his job, as Chase settles in for a good race.

Off the drop of the green flag, though, he got the surprise of the day as he watched Sarina push Kyle Busch out front going into the first turn, before passing him to lead the opening lap. She then put together a solid first stage, picking up the checkered flag. Unfortunately, the pit stop did not go as planned, as she came off pit road in fifth following a hang-up with the left rear.

“Of course,” Chase muses himself to as he takes a deep breath. It just meant that he was going to be entertained with her fighting back to the front.

The stage did not start off as well as he hoped, though, as she dropped back to ninth in the first couple of laps. However, she made up some of the ground, ultimately finishing the stage in fifth – despite battling a tight truck.

She’d keep herself in a solid top-seven position – battling for spots just outside of the top-four in the third and final stage, all the way up until a final late race caution. While some teams elected to take two tires, Rudy put four tires on the Toyota Tundra, lining her up seventh for the final restart.

The four tires proved to be the right call, as she drove her way from seventh to third in turns one and two, before edging Johnny Sauter at the line for second.

“Nice, solid job tonight,” Rudy says as he and Chase reach the truck together. “You put together some nice driving throughout, and a really impressive restart at the end.”

“That restart was total perfection!” Chase adds, giving her a pat on the back as she nods her head in approval. She couldn’t deny that the final restart was everything about the race. However, that didn’t make up for the rest.

“We had a truck good enough to win tonight if we hadn’t gotten too tight there,” she comments, and Rudy nods his head in agreement. “We need to just work on putting everything together. The crew needs the pit stops, and I need to get to be able to tell you what you need to hear to make the adjustments.”

“Absolutely,” Rudy agrees. “We have the pieces to put together an incredible season; we just need to work on the small things. You work on your communication, and I’ll work on reading you better for adjustments, and we’ll be winning some races.” She smiles, nodding her head in agreement.

“It’s just how do I communicate that tightness to you without going too far? Ugh…” She lets out a sigh as she takes a long sip of her water. “It frustrates me to have a truck that strong to start and to actually end the race, but yet sit here in second. Am I asking for too much?” Rudy shakes his head no.

“Not being happy with second is okay. It means that you’re ready to push hard and do what it takes to succeed. It means you’re not willing to settle.” Chase couldn’t help but agree, having been in her position before.

“Just don’t get too lost in that feeling,” he tells her, though. “Sure, it’s okay to push and strive – but don’t let it eat you. Be thankful and glad to have the speed and finish you have, and the opportunity. Be happy with the success you’re able to have. Then use that as motivation moving forward.” She glances between the pair, wrapping her arms around both of their shoulders.

“Have I stated lately how much I love you guys?” She offers, as they glance each other, before focusing back to her.


The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 43: “Are you sure you want to see that?”

Friday, February 23, 2018 – Atlanta Motor Speedway

Chase makes his way into the garage area, smiling as he sees the guys going about business as usual. He walks over to the pit box, looking over at Alan Gustafson.

“Everything okay?” He questions, catching the crew chief’s eyes.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Alan answers as he crosses his arms. “If you’re referencing last night, most of the guys had no reaction at all. there were a couple intrigued responses, and an offer from Josh to kick everybody’s ass for you.” Chase chuckles, not surprised.

“I’m sorry that she brought you guys into-”

“I don’t want any apologies, Chase. It’s obvious why she did it – to get inside your head. She wants you to think about it, and ponder the possibilities. She wants to know that you’re thinking about her, and what she’s doing, rather than yourself. Do you know what I have to say to that? Don’t give her the power. Focus on this weekend, and having fun.” Chase nods his head in agreement, knowing that advice fell right along with what his dad told him. “Now, how are you feeling?”

“I’m fine, Alan. I told you that you didn’t have to worr-”

“That was before the wreck at Daytona. I heard it aggravated things from Jordan.” Chase glances over to where Jordan was, before looking back over at Alan.

“Just a little extra pain for the first couple of days, but now it’s back to where it’s been. I’m fine, Alan.” Alan nods his head, accepting.

Chase’s eyes, meanwhile, remained locked on Jordan as he went through his usual duties of making sure the radio was connected through the helmet, and the cockpit was ready to go per driver instructions. However, his eyes immediately drew to Jordan’s pocket, seeing the corner of an envelope sticking out.

He immediately lets out a sigh and closes his eyes, trying to block out any thoughts that were set to enter his mind. However, he could only ponder the contents, considering the past 24 hours. While not being able to see or know was supposed to be helping him, admittedly he was driving him bonkers right now.

He makes his way over, tapping the interior mechanic on the shoulder, before reaching for the pocket.

“Are you sure you want to see that?” Jordan questions and Chase nods his head. Jordan lets out a sigh as he takes it out, handing it over, before focusing back on his job.

“Curiosity is driving me insane,” Chase answers as he opens the envelope.

“Curiosity is also killed the cat. Then again, you remind me of a cat in having like nine lives with this family. Don’t use up your chances.” Chase lets out a sigh as he pulls out the piece of paper, seeing it’s a complete depiction of how to build a bomb.

“I already knew that she could do that…” Chase shoves the piece of paper back in the envelope, handing it back over to Jordan. While he didn’t want it to become a thought in his mind, there was no mistaking his nerves had picked up a notch. “Make sure the guys are on their toe-”

“I’ve already talked to Alan and Josh, and they spoke to everyone. Just make sure to watch your back, okay?” Chase nods his head. “And Sari-”

“Rudy is aware of what’s going on. Her guys aren’t letting anyone near her.” Jordan was thankful for that as he went back to finishing up his duties, taking a final glance towards Chase as he watched his driver return to his previous spot.

Jordan could only hope that the end was near for everyone.

Everybody didn’t get much chance to think about it any longer, with the lone practice of the day starting. While hopes were high based on previous success at Atlanta and how well the limited testing had gone, the car was evil right from the get go. Chase immediately began to complain of a lack of security with corner entry, feeling the car wanting to snap on him. Alan was able to make some adjustments to improve the condition a little, but they ended up finishing the day ranked 29th on the chart.

“You’re not the only one struggling,” Alan comments, bringing up their teammates’ data as Chase just shakes his head.

“But at least Alex is decent in qualifying trim,” Chase says as he runs his hands through his hair. “How do you end up three miles per hour off of the quick time?” Alan shrugs his shoulders as he glances over his notes once again.

“That adjustment helped, right?” Chase nods his head as he looks over. “I think if I can keep going that route, we should be closer to where you want to be. I may take a bit of what Greg has put under Alex, and combine with the direction we were headed, and maybe we can manage to get something out of qualifying.”

“Whatever you feel is going to work, I’m game. I’m going to watch truck practice. I’ll come see you an hour before qualifying, if you want?” Alan nods his head as he makes a couple notes, before flipping to another sheet.

Chase makes his way out of the garage stall, headed straight to the NAPA Hauler where he goes up on top, sipping a bottle of mountain dew as his eyes focus to the on-track action.

As the track appeared to come in more, with both the top and bottom groove being relevant, he was admittedly impressed right away by the speed that Sarina showed. It seemed that Rudy had the truck where she wanted, ranking fifth quickest in the first session. The second round, she continued to get even stronger, even passing her boss at one point to top the session.

“At least one of us has this place figured out this weekend,” he offers as he walks into her garage stall, wrapping his arms around her from behind.

“I’ve missed you this weekend,” she replies as she spins around, kissing his lips. “I know it’s only been a couple hours not seeing each other, but it’s been paining me. I was expecting to see you stop by sooner.” Chase had thought about it, but every thought in his mind had him stuck in his place.

“I got busy talking with Alan about the car, trying to figure out what to do and everything. I’m sorry, okay?” She nods her head, kissing his lips once again.

“Fingers crossed for a better qualifying run than you’ve had all day.” Chase chuckles, knowing anything was better than where he had practiced. “Don’t tell me you’re losing fai-”

“I trust that Alan will do what he can with what we’ve got, but we may be further out to lunch than we want to admit.” She looks on surprised as he can only let out a sigh. “I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”

“Believe, and as you would always say, dig.”

Chase walks up behind Jordan, smiling as he glances over the special helmet for the weekend, before glancing out to the track with a sigh.

“What are you thinking?” Jordan wonders as he glances back over at Chase.

“Did Alan make the right adjustments?” Chase questions. “Are we going to be any closer than we were?” Jordan nods his head, as those were respectable questions. He almost hated to do what he was about to do next.

“Where’s Sarina right now?” Chase then looks over puzzled. “Just please answ-”

“She’s debriefing with Rudy, Spencer, Marcus, and the other KBM guys. She told me that she’d come see afterwards.” Jordan simply lets out a sigh as he reaches in his pocket. “You asked me for a reason….”

“Let’s just say that she’s done playing mind games, and mincing her words.” Chase reluctantly takes the envelope from Jordan, pulling out the slip of paper.

“It seems you’re off your game, but this is just the beginning as I have a plan for you, involving a blue-eyed beauty.” Chase looks up at Jordan, who simply nods his head reading his driver’s mind immediately. “I’ll text her and tell her to be careful leaving the hauler. Maybe Rudy can walk her back.”

“That’d be a good idea.” Jordan takes the envelope and paper back, placing it in his pocket. “I hated to do that right before qualifying and possibly throw off your game, but I felt that you should know.” Chase nods his head, accepting.

“Better safe than sorry, right?” Jordan couldn’t help but agree as he gives the helmet a final wipe down.

Whether due to still fighting an ill-handling car, or whether his mind being thrown off by Jordan’s reveal, he certainly wasn’t going to start where he wanted to on Sunday, qualifying the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet back in 27th.

“Some days you do and some days you don’t, and we didn’t today,” he offers for the media. “So, I don’t know. We were way off; not even close. So, I don’t really have much of an excuse for it. We just didn’t hit it right today and we’ll go to work tonight and work through it and hopefully get ready for tomorrow. It’s our only option now.”

He answers a few more questions, before making his way back to the trailer, heading up to the lounge immediately. once in there, he drops the top half of his firesuit down, letting out  sigh as he rubs his side a little. He then grabs a drink from the fridge, sitting down on the couch as he glances at the floor.

“I’m sorry,” he simply says quietly, catching the attention of Alan. The crew chief had been sitting in the corner, working through notes on the laptop. He had noticed his driver enter, but hadn’t said a single word due to concentrating, and knowing that Chase was just going through his usual steps.

“Excuse me?” Alan questions, watching the brown eyes turn to face him.

“I’m sorry about the lap. I’m sorry that I basically just threw it away there. My head wasn’t in the gam-”

“Jordan told me about the note, and frankly, I don’t want to hear anymore apologies out of your mouth today.” Chase looks over surprised as Alan sets his laptop aside. “I saw your lap and I looked over the telemetry. You were driving it for what it was worth in the package that we went with. You were doing your job, and I’ve certainly been trying to do my job, but we both just missed the set-up totally. So you don’t need to apologize. Besides, I’d rather you be aware and her be safe, than have something happen.”

“Thank you.” Alan gives him a quick pat on the shoulder, before getting up and walking out of the lounge. He returns about two minutes later with a bag of ice, handing it over to him.

“You should go and rest. It’s clear that this has been physically draining, but also mentally draining on you. Go have a nice relaxing night. I’m going to go through the data with Josh, Tom and Matt, and see if we can figure something out for tomorrow’s practice.” Chase shakes his head no as he gets out the IPad.

“I should be a part of this just as much as yo-”

“That wasn’t an option, Elliott; that was an order. You need to take care of yourself.” Chase lets out a sigh as he looks over at the crew chief.

“I’d rather be here and try to figure this ou-”

“Are you trying to make yourself sic-”

“If I just simply leave now and go back to the motorcoach, there’s no way I’m going to have a calming evening and night. My mind is immediately going to think about the note over and over. I am going to worry that something is going to happen when Sarina and I aren’t together. I am going to panic about the possibilities, based on her warnings of a decision and that diagram. Being here, sitting here going through notes, trying to figure anything out for tomorrow, is a good distraction – and something that I welcome right now.” He then glances down as he lets out a sigh. “I’m sorr-”

“For what? For being honest with me?” Chase glances back over at Alan. “I appreciate it, actually, and I understand where you’re coming from. If it makes you feel better, then I have no problem with you staying here for a couple hours. Just make sure to take it easy and don’t push yourself, okay?” Chase nods his head, accepting. “And I’ve told you many times, you can always talk to me about what’s going on.”

“I just want it to be over. I want her to be caught, and this to be done with.”

The pair then began going through all the notes from practice together, as well as comparing to their teammates’ notes and the lines they were running. They also peaked into what some of the fast cars, like Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick, were running as far as lines, discussing ideas of what to try for Sunday.

The conversation was doing exactly what Chase wanted – a good distraction from everything going on. He was almost completely able to put it in the rearview without a single reminder, when his phone rang.

“Hello?” He answers with a bit of a smile on his face. He simply figured Sarina was calling because she probably expected he would’ve been done by now.

“Chase, are you okay?” He hears, surprised by her sounding like she was out of breath as it put him on high alert immediately.

“I’m fine as I’m in the trailer with Alan still. Are you okay?” He hears a couple more labored breathes, almost set to jump off the couch and go running for her.

“Yeah, I think I am. I’m pretty sure I am. I’m just – I need you.” He felt every heart string pulled at her request as he motioned to Alan, who simply waved him off.

“Where are you?” He makes his way through the trailer, assuming her next word would be the motorcoach as she was going to go back there once done with the guys.

“Chase, something hap-”

“Where are you?”

“I nee-”

“Just tell me where you are!” Alan was caught off-guard by his voice, setting the laptop aside as he went to follow the young driver.

“Chase, take a deep breath as she’s okay; Sam and I are with her,” Chase hears Kyle’s voice next as he stops, following the instructions, before taking a slight glance back to Alan. “Now, I am going to tell you something, but you got to promise me you’re not alone.”

“Alan is here with me.” Alan locks his eyes with him immediately, feeling a bit of confusion as Chase puts the phone on speaker. “He can hear you…”

“Don’t interrupt and just listen, please. But Alison kidnapped Sarina from when she left the KBM hauler to the motorcoach. Rudy was walking with her and Alison knocked him out, taking Sarina. I got a call about five minutes ago to come to a location and pick up a package, but to make sure to come alone. I called the investigator number that Sarina had passed along and they followed a good distance behind, but I found her tied up in an old warehouse, nobody or nothing to be found except a note stating that this is a warning that this is possible, and the future won’t be as bright. I was going to call you sooner, but I was just worried abo-”

“It’s fine, Kyle, as long as she’s okay.” Chase felt every tinge of worry on high alert, on the verge of freaking out with tears in his eyes as Alan places a hand on his shoulder.

“She’s fine, Chase. Alison didn’t hurt her at all – just tied her up and left her. I promise you that she’s okay. She may be a little scared, frightened, caught off-guard, but she’s okay. I am taking her over to the local hospital to get checked over, and then the investigator wants to talk to both of you. Alan, I know you’re liste-”

“I can bring him over, Kyle,” Alan finishes the thought, knowing the question immediately. Even if Kyle hadn’t asked for Alan to, the crew chief already plans to do so as he knew there was no way Chase was heading over by himself given his condition. “We’ll see you shortly. Thank you for calling.” Alan hits the hang up button, slowly taking the phone out of Chase’s hand and placing it in the young man’s stunned pocket. “Talk to me….”

“I just can’t believe it,” Chase says, standing there completely shocked as Alan squeezes his shoulder. “We kept saying that nothing was possible. We kept saying that everything was going to be okay. But look at what happened!”

“I know that it brings all of your fears to reality and scares the crap out of you. I understand, and I get that. I don’t know what to say to make you feel better, except to remind you that I am always here to listen, and help you. The guys and I are going to make sure this is the only thing that happens.” Chase wanted to believe those words, but his focus on the future was certainly not as bright. Contemplating his options, he knew what he needed to do.

“Let’s go see her, please…” Alan nods his head, accepting, as he follows Chase out of the trailer.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 42: Daytona 500

Sunday, February 18 – Daytona International Speedway

It may have been the biggest race of the year, but Chase began the day like he would any race day – a quick shower in the morning, along with breakfast, before heading out to go through the usual sponsor appearances. Each of those went according to plan with no issues, as each of them wished him best of luck along with a series of photos.

He was getting finished up with the final one for the day – NAPA – and set to leave, when someone placed an envelope in his hand.

“We found this here addressed to you when we got here,” the older man tells him and Chase simply nods his head in return. He didn’t need to glance down at the envelope to know who it was from.

“Thank you sir,” he simply replies, clutching it in his hand as he shoves the envelope in his sweater pocket.

“Do I want to know?” Morgan wonders as they leave and Chase just shakes his head. “I can take it if you wan-”

“All notes go to Jordan, and Jordan opens them. He lets me know if there’s something important, and then passes it along to where it goes.” Morgan was caught off-guard, but simply nodded her head in acceptance in return. “It’s a system we developed when they started to try and make it easier on me.”

“Okay. Well if I ever can do anything to help, just let me know.”

“Thank you.”

He makes his way to the garage area, seeing Jordan standing by with the team as they get ready to push the car out to the grid. He quietly slips him the envelope, with a nod, before continuing on his way back to the motorcoach.

Jordan lets out a sigh as he glances at the white envelope, slowly ripping away the back of it. He pulls out the slip of paper, looking around, before reading the writing inside.

“I hope the message is getting to you clearly,” he reads. “A decision will be coming, and I hope you make the right one.” Jordan was puzzled, and could only wonder as to what was going to happen next.

With Alison, he could only guess on the variables – but knew it would have to deal with Sarina in some way, if she got her way. Taking a deep breath, he just hoped the measures put in place stopped that from happening.

He then made the familiar phone call, speaking of the details, before agreeing to when they would grab the note and envelope for evidence.

Sarina gets comfortable in her usual spot, as Jordan glances over with a pat on her leg.

“500 miles, 200 laps – you can do this,” he tells her as she glances over nervously.

“You saw me yesterday and you think today will be easy?” She questions and he shrugs his shoulders. In his belief, the driver was going to make it easy by staying up front all day long.

“Trust in your man…..”

For both, it was relief to see him up front as the race didn’t start off with the calm feeling that they had experienced in the Clash or Duel, with chaos from the drop of the green flag. Sarina even had to admit that she was caught off-guard when Kasey Kahne was sent out of line early, flying down pit road in the opening laps.

Chase wasn’t making her nerves any easier, either, as he fell back some spots, running mid-pack after getting split down the middle. All she could think about was him being in the eye of the storm the whole way.

She got a small break with the field stringing out single file on Lap 31, but it wasn’t a surprise to see that only last for four laps. It was actually her man ruining the calmness, too, as he made his move to get back to the front.

“That’s how you do it!” She lets out as he takes the lead with 15 laps left in the stage. If he wanted dance, she had no problem with that – a s long as he was at the front of the train.

The first major wreck of the event happened five laps later, thankfully far behind pack as Kyle Busch blew a left rear tire, collecting some others with him.

Reminding herself to take deep breathes, trying to kill the nerves, she knew that once when they went back to green, it was only going to get crazier. Everybody would want stage points, and her man was going to be right in the middle of that.

Right when the green flag flew with five laps left, the craziness began immediately with everybody switching lanes, attempting to block each others runs. Chase was one of those, going up to block a move, but ended up getting put the top with no help, causing him to slip back through the field.

Sarina didn’t get a chance to calm down as three laps later (two left in the stage), Ricky  Stenhouse Jr. got sideways down the backstretch running second, causing the field to get all jumbled, resulting in contact with cars sliding every which way, whether grass or outside wall. Thankfully, Chase made his way through – barely – finishing the opening stage in eighth.

“Aaah nice job,” Alan congratulates his driver as Sarina takes a couple deep breathes. That was too close to comfort, and she knew it was just the beginning with 140 laps still left to go.

“Holy shit!” Chase lets out on the radio, and Sarina couldn’t help but nod her head in agreement.

“I’m going to need malox, tums, and whatever else you can find before this is over,” she comments causing a chuckle from Jordan.

When they went back racing, the chaos didn’t calm down one bit, with passes and blocking happening every turn. The front of the field saw Chase lead some laps, followed by Ryan Blaney leading some, back to Chase, before Ryan got back to the lead.

Running in second, Chase was riding behind him with 18 laps left in the stage, trying to plan his move accordingly.

“2 has a run on the top….” Eddie D’Hondt tells him, in which Chase was set to use to his advantage. Both of them came down at the same time, which caused Brad to make contact with the left rear corner, hooking Chase. “We’re wrecking….”

The contact instantly caused Chase to spin up and hit the outside wall, before spinning around and hitting it once again as he also got hit in the door. The car then slowly rolled down the banking to the apron, damage seen at every corner.

“Are you alright?” Eddie asks right away, feeling every nerve pinched at seeing the incident.

“Yeah…” Chase answers, trying to take a couple deep breathes. Instantly upon hitting the wall initially, it had taken his breath away, with the contact afterwards not doing anything to help him. “Yeah….” He takes a couple more deep breathes, getting his wits about him, feeling a bit of pain up his back and especially through his ride. “I’m alright…”

Jordan continues rubbing Sarina’s shoulders, as he glances up at the monitor. He could only shake his head at the events that had transpired, and he could kick Brad’s ass right then and there.

“He’s okay…” Jordan reminds her once again as she takes a couple deep breathes. Upon the wreck beginning, she instantly freaked, panic consuming her. It was Jordan that reacted immediately, wrapping his arms around her to hold her and offer comfort, certainly caught off-guard by how hard the initial impact was. “He’s climbing out…”

“I can’t believe this…” Sarina lets out as she takes a couple more breathes, watching on the monitor as Chase sat on the window ledge, laying his head on the roof for a little bit as he waited for the medical staff to come over. “He’s sore…”

“I’d be sore, too if I hit a wall that hard. Come on…” He slowly helps her stand up and make her way over to the ladder. He climbs down first, before watching closely as she followed, making sure she didn’t slip.

The pair of them make their way through the garage to the infield care center, sneaking in through the back door as they wait for the ambulance to make the trip back.

It wasn’t long after before he walked in, helmet and HANs in hand, with their eyes connecting immediately. Every tinge of worry she had showed, and he saw that right away. In return, being sore didn’t help anything and any comfort she could offer was a bonus. He walks over to her, wrapping both arms around her, as he kisses the top of her head.

“I’m okay,” he tells her as he gives her another kiss. “I’m okay…”

“I know,” she replies, glancing up into his eyes. “I knew you would be, but I just couldn’t help but worr-”

“It’s okay…” He then takes her hand into his, letting him come with her as he goes into one of the cubicles as directed, sitting up on the bed. He lets out a small grunt as his hand immediately goes to his side, rubbing it.

“Sore?” He nods his head as he continues to rub his ribs, taking a couple breathes. “Worse than earlier?” He nods his head as she lets out a sigh. “I hope it’s not worse…”

“I’ll be fine. You don’t need to worry about me.” She could only let out another sigh as she walked right over, leaning against him as he wrapped his arms around her.

“I’m never going to stop worrying about you, okay?” He smiles as he kisses her head once again. “On the bright side, you have someone to look out for you tonight, and tomorrow. I suggest you take two Tylenol and a nice, long hot shower tonight or you’ll be regretting it tomorrow. Maybe I’ll even give you a massage, if you’re lucky.”

“If I’m lucky?” She nods her head as he thinks it over. “I thought I meant enough already to deserve one…”

“You’re probably right. Besides, I need to take care of you so you can spoil me.” He chuckles as they watch the doctor come in.

He goes through the usual questionnaire, answering everything accordingly, before slipping the top half of his firesuit off so the doctor can take a closer look at his ribs. Feeling them, pushing lightly in a couple spots, a couple grunts could be heard.

“I’d like to run an x-ray to be safe and make sure nothing is broken or cracked,” the doctor says, and Chase simply nods his head accepting. “How about you go do your post-wreck interview since you’re actually cleared, and then we can do that?”

“Sure,” he answers as he carefully puts the firesuit back on, feeling every bit of pain as he does so.

Following instructions as requested, the x-ray came back clean with no cracks or breaks, just the bruises that were left over from Thursday with a couple more to join them.

With strict instructions to rest for the next couple of days, and to go to the hospital if he felt any new or worsening pain, he was able to leave and head out, returning to the motorcoach to get changed.

“Let me take care of you, please,” she tells him, helping him take off his firesuit slowly.

“Oh man….” was all he could say, feeling the familiar pain up his side and through his back as he slips it off. He then slowly slipped off the undershirt, biting his tongue along the way.

“Are you sure you’re going to be alright? Maybe you should’ve let them give you something stronger for the pai-”

“I’ll be fine. I just want to get home, okay?” She slowly nods her head as she hands him a t-shirt out of the drawer.

It was no secret that he was frustrated with how Speedweeks had gone, given the fact that two days straight he had a car capable of winning, but wrong moves and over-aggressive driving by both himself and his competitors got him in trouble. Combined with the remaining frustrations over the note and plane crash, and the faster he was out of Florida and back home, the better.

With this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the plan wasn’t to go home – but rather fly back with his parents to Georgia and stay at their house for the week as he went through media responsibilities promoting the event. Though given the amount of pain he was feeling, he didn’t care where he ended up – as long as he found a nice comfy bed tonight.

“There’s something on your mind, other than the wreck and how you’re feeling,” Bill says as they reach the house, holding Chase back a bit as Cindy and Sarina headed inside.

“Is it that obvious?” Chase questions and Bill nods his head.

“The notes haven’t stopped, am I right?” Chase lets out a sigh. “They haven’t found a single trace yet, and the notes haven’t stopped. You’re probably feeling a mess of emotions in regards to that, too, from anger to fear. But I can sense that something is off, too.”

“It’s just been a long wee-”

“Chase….” Chase didn’t want to talk about it, no matter how hard he tried as he wished to avoid the topic all together.

“The past couple of notes have me intrigued. They reference making a decision and being connected to someone that I care about, and making sure the right one is made.” He takes a deep breath as he tries to sort through his thoughts. “It has to do with Sarina. Alison is set to put her next plan into action, and it will be do Sarina. It’ll probably be like Sarina or something, and my decision will affect everything. Everything that has happened – we didn’t have any reasonable explanation or something we could’ve done different. But making a decision, fear of something happening – it’s messing with my thoughts more than I would like.” Bill crosses his arms as he glances out into the night sky.

“Have you told Sarina about this?” Chase nods his head. Reluctantly, he told her following the XFINITY race on Saturday – only after Jordan made him do so, in fear that something could happen.

“She put it off as not being worried, calling it an empty threat and that I needed to not let them mess with me because it’s just a mind game to screw me. Meanwhile, I can’t just say that like she can because Alison got close enough to hurt me again and if she can do that and get access to drop these notes, then the chance is there.” Bill couldn’t help but agree, increasing his own nerves about the situation.

“Sarina is just telling herself that so she can psych herself out of being worried, like you are. If she prtends that she can’t get hurt, then she doesn’t have a thing to worry about. Meanwhile, she can put that energy in trying to ease your worries, take care of you, be there for you.” Bill places a hand on Chase’s shoulders. “You have every right to be afraid and worry. But you can’t let it eat at you, or consume you. You need to keep reminding yourself that you have the right people around you, the right policies in place, and everything will work out – just like I will have your back no matter what.”

“I know…” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances up at the sky before looking back to his dad. “Thank you.”

“You can always come to me. Now, you need to get some rest…” Bill wraps an arm around Chase’s shoulders, as they head inside for the night.

The week went smoothly as the pain slowly eased with rest and time, but bothered him at times. He was able to get through during media activities Monday through Wednesday without any problems, and the visit to the Children’s Hospital on Thursday went off very successfully.

Back at the house for the night, he was focused on getting a good night’s sleep, knowing that Friday would be a busy day at the track and he needed to be as ready as possible. He was comfortable in the bed when he heard his phone go off, reaching over and grabbing it off the nightstand.

“Shit!” He lets out, catching Sarina’s attention as she was playing a game on her laptop. “Alison’s weekly vis-”

“What did she do now?” Sarina questions, feeling the immediate worry to match Chase’s reaction.

“The guy’s plane is delayed because the same sabotage put together last year was done once again, per Alan.” Sarina shakes her head in disbelief as she lays her head on his chest.

“I’m glad that they caught it.” Chase nods his head in response as he sends back a text message.

“Alan said it was obvious by how the evidence had been placed. Like, she wanted to prove she had access and could do it, but not actually hurt the gu-”

“Chase, think about this for a minute.” She then takes a deep breath as she tries to put her theory together. “She’s going in the same order of what Chris and Bethany did to you and I. We had the plane crash – which was you and Ryan this time around. Now the team plane once again. What happened next?” Chase closes his eyes, wishing he wasn’t having to think back to the timeline of events.

“I had the small issue at the training session, and then we figured out it was him as he like disappeared for awhile. We had our fight and went to California, and I fell down the ste-”

“You fell while you there for my Winter Showdown. That was the start of the plan.” Chase nods his head, remembering.

“The next thing that happened was the drugging as he began with the crew members, followed by Ryan, and then myself.” He grabs his phone once again, texting Alan. “I’ll tell Alan the theory in case.”

“I’ll make sure to mention something to Rudy tomorrow.” He then puts his phone back up as he thinks back to Jordan’s latest text messages.

“But what does all that have to do with a decision and being connected to someone I love?” He takes a deep breath as he glances into her eyes. “I know, I’ll do what you said. I’ll just forget about it and not worry.” Though closing his eyes and trying to get comfortable, the thought just wouldn’t leave his mind.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 41: Powershares QQQ 300


Saturday, February 17, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway

“You can’t complain about that….” Sarina sounds off, as qualifying finishes up with Chase ranked 12th quickest.

“I can get to the front from there,” he comments. “The car was working well yesterday.” He also had confidence in the XFINITY Series drafting package as it hadn’t changed much over the past couple of years, and everybody remembered the drive he put in to beat Joey Logano to the line.

“Just remember to be smart, and be there when it coun-”

“Didn’t I prove on Thursday that I know how to make one of these races work?” She lets out a sigh, immediately smiling though as that night certainly had fond memories.

“By the way, out of all your helmets, can I just say that this one is my favorite?” He looks over at her surprised, as he glances it over.

“While I love the design, I’m surprised to hear that. I do recall that you and Hootie didn’t quite get along upon your first meeting.” She laughs, remembering how she wanted to shred the small stuffed animal at Talladega. Since then, though, she had even managed to take him with her on times when the pair were separate.

“Well, could you blame me after what happened?” He lets out a sigh and shakes his head no. “Are you running Cup practice?”

“Alan wants to continue working on the handling, and William wants some more practice working in the draft with teammates.” She nods her head, accepting. It was almost like a pointless question as he hadn’t skipped a Cup practice all weekend to date.

“How does it feel to be the teacher?” He shrugs his shoulders, not feeling anything different than any other weekend.

“At least I’m not the Grandpa…” She laughs, having heard the jokes from William and Alex about Jimmie. “Make sure you tell Lindsay that she’s welcome to join you later.” She nods her head, accepting, as they share a quick kiss, before separating.

He makes his way into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage, stopping immediately as he saw Jordan twirling an envelope in his hand.

“Do I want to know?” He questions and Jordan shakes his head.

“I found it by the garage door when we came in this morning,” Jordan reveals and Chase lets out a sigh. It honestly didn’t surprise him anymore with what was going on and the fact the pieces continued to add up over and over – despite supposedly everything being followed and investigated.

“You know the drill…” He walks past Jordan, going by the pit kart as he leans back with a sigh.

His mind immediately began to wander about the contents that were in the envelope, and whether he could even feel safe about Sarina wandering the garage area without him, or someone he could trust, by her side. He even began to wonder if going easily between garages without a second thought was something he needed to stop himself. Every question that you could think about safety flooded his thoughts as he tried to push it behind himself and focus on the practice ahead. While not focusing on the contents of envelopes was supposed to save himself, it was instead proving to be a bigger distraction right now.

“Are you okay?” He hears, snapping him out of his thoughts as he just automatically nods his head. “I know you’re lyin-”

“I’d rather not talk about it,” he tells the crew chief without even turning his head to acknowledge him. “Don’t we have a practice to focus on? I’d rather just worry about that.” Alan slowly nods his head, accepting, though felt every alarm going off in his head in the process.

“Of course, but know that if you want to talk about anything, you can let me kno-”

“I know, and I appreciate that. But right now, I’d rather not.” Chase walks away and checks over the helmet and gloves, before climbing in the car.

They went through the first couple of runs without any problems, before Alan was set to take a small break with some adjustments being made.

Jordan took the time to come over, kneel by the window of the car and look in.

“The note was her usual tactic of trying to scare you,” Jordan reveals, catching Chase’s attention. “Nothing alarming, nothing new, except the fact that she’s saying that you’ll be forced to make a decision and it’ll be based on who you care about the most.” Chase instantly swallows the lump that had formed in his throat, knowing whom Allison was referring to.

“I know you’re supposed to be focused on your job here, but can you make sure that Sarina is okay?” He questions and Jordan nods his head, accepting. While it wasn’t in the normal work description, he knew Alan wouldn’t say anything based on the circumstances.

“Absolutely. I can check up on her, and make sure that she’s always got someone with or around her incase.” Chase nods his head, accepting. It made him feel a little better, but he couldn’t deny that the butterflies were still there.

“And Jordan, don’t say a word about why…” Jordan accepts immediately as he stands up, giving his driver a quick pat on the shoulder before walking away. “Deep breathes, deep breaths, and stay calm; everything is going to be okay.”

“Ready to go for another run?” He hears Alan, immediately thankful for the distraction as he gives a simple nod. “Let me know how she feels…” Alan puts the window net up having seen Jordan walk off, before sending him back out for another run.

Sarina takes a deep breath as she gets comfortable in her usual spot on the pit box, even if it felt odd to be sitting behind someone other than Alan. At least she had been around these guys a couple times before, and had familiar faces in both Jordan and Lindsay with her.

“You got to believe in your man more!” Jordan encourages as he rubs her back, seeing the nerves on her face even under the simple pace laps to get the event started.

“Oh trust me Jordan, I believe in Chase,” she assures him with a smile. “It’s just….It’s Daytona, and everything is possible. He can be doing everything right and something could happen. It’s always made me on edge.” He could sympathize, having seen her reaction to Chase’s wreck last year at Talladega.

“Well I think today is going to go smooth sailing without a single issue….” Lindsay glanced over, almost wanting to smack him, having sensed an automatic jinx in those words. However, she bit her tongue, not wanting to make her friend even more nervous.

The first two stages of the Powershares QQQ 300 went smoothly, and accordingly – even if Sarina’s reaction would’ve told you otherwise as she spent the entire time nervous. Chase spending much of the first stage marred back in the teens certainly didn’t help that, but she got to relax a little as he made up ground and brought himself to the front in the second stage. Of course, the nerves only got to take a small break, instantly returning as Chase diced back and forth with both Joey Logano and Kyle Larson for the lead, blocks happening every which way.

The final stage started off accordingly as Chase kept himself up at the front in the top-three, set to make moves to move forward, until he was hung out by Elliott Sadler, causing him to slip back some spots.

“Great teammate Sadler!” Sarina lets out in frustration, as she tries to keep herself as relaxed as possible. With lots of time in the race, and Chase’s ability on the plate tracks, she was confident that they were far from being done.

As predicted, he was able to get himself back up to second, set to make a move at chasing down Joey Logano for the lead. As he began to close that gap with 25 laps to go, Elliott locked with his back bumper through turns one and two, followed by the backstretch. The move caught the attention of NASCAR, who penalized the pair as you are not supposed to lock bumpers in the XFINITY Series.

“Are you kidding me?” Sarina questions in shock as she was caught off-guard by the penalty.

“Oh yeah, let’s go ahead and penalize him for that,” Lindsay adds. “I mean, it’s not like everybody else is going to be doing that on the last couple of laps anyway, and we know they’ll get away with it, too.” Sarina nods her head in agreement.

“Besides, what the hell is Chase supposed to do in that situation? He wasn’t his choice to hook up like that. It was Elliott’s decision to push him. So Chase just supposed to pull out of line and lose all that track position to stop that? is he supposed to cause the pusher and the field to become wrecked? I mean, that’s just ridiculous!” Sarina was almost set on the verge of punching something. “I used to like Elliott, but this is just sa-”

“Are you serious right now?” Jordan questions, surprised by her anger and Sarina looks over at him immediately.

“First Sadler hangs him out to dry, and then does that,” she reminds him. “On top of that stupid comment for Preece at Homestead about racing him for position, he’s just turning into a pain in the ass!” Jordan was shocked, but wasn’t set to argue as he knew that it would just be useless at this point in the game.

The pair of JR Motorsports teammates made their way down pit road a couple laps later, serving their pass through penalty, which dropped them back to 24th and 25th in the running order. It seemed they were right out of the equation, until a wreck happened a lap later in turn three and four, taking out a whole bunch of drivers. Chase was able to easily avoid the incident, moving him up the running order and allowing him to catch back up to the rear of the field.

“Elliott apologies by the way,” crew chief Scott Radel says under caution. “He thought you could only not lock bumpers if you were passing someone.” Chase knew the explanation by Elliott fit what they were told in the driver’s meeting, but he also knew from past years that Elliott should’ve known better.

“10-4,” was all he replied, not wanting to start a debate on the radio. For now, the focus was making his way from 18th to the front with just under 20 laps to go.

The restart came quickly, but another caution flew four laps later as a couple drivers spun. Chase was able to make up some ground, having moved up to 12th before the yellow flag, but knew the frustration was mounting as the laps were slowly running out with each caution.

He would continue to move forward when the green flag came back out, breaking into the top-five as the race neared conclusion.

“Come on Chase,” Sarina quietly says as they go by the flag stand for three laps to go. If the moves continued like they were, she knew it was quite possible for them to get back to where they belonged.

However, another wrench was thrown in their plans, as he and Elliott weren’t quite lined up down the back, with a bump causing his teammate to go spinning across the backstretch pavement rather than forward as planned.

“Karma?” Lindsay questions with a bit of a grin as she wasn’t totally disappointed in those events. Sarina could only roll her eyes and let out a sigh, not surprised to be honest.

“Of course we’d have an overtime,” she comments, taking a couple deep breathes as she tries to calm herself down, knowing action was about to get crazy – if it wasn’t crazy enough, to be honest.

“Tell those guys I’m sorry,” Chase says over the radio. While he may not have agreed with what happened earlier, he never wanted to do that to Elliott, especially considering they were teammates.

Restarting just outside of the top-three for the restart, Chase was set to make his move on the first overtime attempt, watching closely as he saw the blocks continue to be thrown between Kyle Larson and Joey Logano. He saw the move made with the attempted block by Kyle on Joey, sending Kyle around. He immediately dove to the bottom to avoid, with the car getting out of shape right away. He’d keep his steering in it, going for a complete 360 through a small bit of the grass, before continuing on.

“Nice driving!” Scott cheers over the radio as both Lindsay and Jordan had their hands on Sarina, rubbing her back and shoulders.

“He made it through,” Jordan whispers in her ear and she slowly nods her head, having seen him come back around with no damage.

“Jesus Chase, don’t be doing that to me,” she comments as she takes a couple deep breathes. “Holy shit man, he got lucky there…” She sits back in her seat, continuing to take deep breathes, just wanting to see the checkered flag and car in one piece at this point with everything that happened.

“Really, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Elliott…” Lindsay says, in reference to Sadler who had been far behind the incident and not caught up in it at all. With the drivers eliminated involved, Elliott had now broken back into the top-10.

“This is turning into the bloody freaking ARCA race!” Sarina now couldn’t deny that she could relate to the nerves that Chase felt last Saturday with her craziness, and only hoped that things went smoother for him this time around.

The next three attempts at a finish continued to see things not go smoothly, producing three more wrecks throughout the field. Thankfully, Chase had been ahead of each incident at the front of the field with no nerves to be spent by Sarina.

“You need to pit here bud,” Scott tells him with a sigh. He hated to deliver this news, considering they had fought back from their problems to be running in the top-five. “NASCAR says you need a passenger side window.” It seems with the spin he had earlier, it caused the window to come loose, and it was now missing.

Chase reluctantly brings the car down pit road to the attention of the team – but there was a problem as they had no spare window in the pit. David Mayo became the hero of the day, though, making the run from the pit to the trailer and back, grabbing a window and bringing it back in the nick of time to get it installed.

The efforts by the crew member earned a round of applause by everybody on the team, along with a pat on the back from Scott.

“You deserve a raise man!” Sarina lets out as he gives him a high-five.

“With the way this race is going, he may just get back in it,” Lindsay offers as Sarina just rolls her eyes, sitting her back.

“If it could go wrong, it has gone wrong today. All I can do, honestly, is just sit here and laugh. This is getting almost ridiculous.”

“Daytona – she’s a crazy hormonal bitch sometimes.” Sarina and Jordan both break out laughing.

There’d only be one more wreck before the end of the race, and Chase managed to get through it without a single issue, ultimately crossing the finish line in 12th.

“Not bad considering….” was all Sarina could manage as she climbed down the steps of the pit box afterwards. She just hoped that tomorrow’s race went much smoother because another day like that and she knew she’d go insane.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 40: NextEra Energy Resources 250

Friday, February 16 – Daytona International Speedway

Sarina glances over as she watches Chase get ready for another jam-packed action day at the track.

“You’re staring again….” He comments, despite having his back turned to her as she lets out a sigh.

“Am I wrong to worry about you?” She questions as he turns around to face her and nods his head. “I can’t help it, okay?” He lays on the bed alongside her.

“I know, and it’s okay because I understand. But believe me when I say that you have nothin-”

“How can you be so chill right now?” Chase lets out a sigh as he rolls over on his stomach, eyes locked on her.

“That’s just me. I don’t let myself get worked up or frustrated. But, you are right that this isn’t the ideal situation. I am worried. I am scared. I do wonder what could happen next. I will look over my shoulder more than I need to today.” He then closes his eyes, taking a deep breath. “It’s just so hard to openly say it, and discuss why, but it is there.”

“That’s why you understood it taking time for me, right?” He nods his head. “Well when you are ready to talk, you know I’m here, and I will do whatever you need me to do. Just promise me you’ll be careful today?”

“Absolutely. Besides, today is simple – small drafting session in the XFINITY session, and a teammate only group for the Cup session. You don’t have to worry about me.” He then places his hand on top of hers. “Just promise me the same in return tonight.”

“Trust me, I’m going to do my best to create that magic you know so well.” A grin forms on his face as he leans in, kissing her lips, before getting up and heading out for the first session of the day.

The day started off smoothly as the sessions went well back and forth between the two series, with confidence rising in both cars. As long as he made the right moves come race time, it was going to be a good weekend.

Sitting in the lounge for a small break as he was sitting out the second XFINITY session, he was caught off-guard by a message on his phone. He picks it up, opening it with intrigue.

“There’s no denying that Bethany brought Alison into the picture for her own reasons,” he began to read the text message from the investigator. “But Bethany declares now that she has nothing to do in connection to the latest round of events, and prison records show no visitation between herself and Alison. It’s clear without a doubt that Alison is acting upon her intentions alone in trying to do whatever she has in mind for you. Still no trace of the lawyer or her, though.”

“How can people across the country be searching for two individuals and not see a single trace?” Jordan asks, having listened to Chase reading the message. Chase shrugs his shoulders as he quickly types back a reply.

“Crazy how someone can just hide in plain sight if you ask me.” Jordan nods his head, accepting, as a thought comes to his mind.

“Make sure no matter who you are around, you double check who they are and have no look-a-like to her. You asked how she has access to everywhere, but answered your own question at the same time.” Chase knew that as he stares at his phone blankly. Maybe he could erase the new thoughts and just focus back to their task at hand.

“You don’t need to remind me, Jordan.” Jordan knew that, based on their discussions already, but a reminder never hurt.

“I got your back, man, as always.” Jordan stands up, gives him a quick pat on the back before leaving the hauler. Chase could only lean back and let out a sigh.

The rest of the day went smoother than the discussion, and before anybody could predict it, race time was upon them. Just like Sarina had been the night before, he was now sitting atop his usual spot on the Kyle Busch Motorsports pit box, ready to cheer her on.

The race started out according to plan, as she kept herself in line, not giving up the bottom at all, en route to a solid ninth-place finish for the first stage. So far, so good.

The pit crew did their job on pit road, getting her out third for the restart, which saw her take the lead quickly to start off the second stage. With a continuous lap tap on the pit box, Chase watched as she maneuvered the lines, blocking with style just like he had done the night before. However, she made one wrong move to switch, which saw her get shuffled out, ultimately falling back through the field.

“Stick with it,” Chase whispers to himself as he lets out an aggravated sigh. He knew the discouraging feeling it delivered, but he also believed in her ability to work her way back to the front. Ultimately, she wasn’t able to make up as much ground as she or he wanted, though, finishing that stage in 14th.

Restarting 11th following a pit stop for right-side tires, she looked set to begin to make up the lost ground. However, contact ensued up ahead. She was in the right spot to avoid the mess, too, when she got sandwiched between a pair of other trucks as they tried to avoid.

“Ah shit,” was all Chase could say afterwards, seeing the front fenders pushed in.

“Both fenders got it,” she reports over the radio.

“Bring it in and we’ll get to work,” Rudy tells her. “We can still get back in this.”

The crew did what they could, pulling the fenders as much as they could out and back into shape, before sending her back out. checking the monitor and seeing her back in 28th, Chase takes a simple deep breath as he tries to keep himself calm. There was lots of time and she could make it up, even despite being a bunch of nerves to come.

However, she didn’t get the chance as another truck spun ahead of two laps later, and she would miss him – but caught the outside wall instead.

“More damage!” She barked on the radio, growing frustrated. In her eyes, that was totally her fault as she had totally missed the spun truck initially.

Losing two laps to make those repairs, she would miss the big wreck, but ultimately pulled behind the wall shortly after the restart as the repairs weren’t enough with more issues continuing.

“Ugh,” was all she could say as she climbed out of the truck. Chase walks over, rubbing her back. “That was ridiculous!”

“Daytona is always crazy,” he offers as he wraps an arm around her. “You were doing a good job. Everything that happened was out of your contro-”

“I over-steered when I went around him. I got behind on my steering trying to avoid him and got myself in the wall. That was my fault, Chase, because I didn’t keep up on my steering. If I had’ve missed the wall, and that wreck, we would’ve been right in the thick of it. Instead, we’re out of the race 20 laps early and finishing God knows where.” She then climbs the rest of the way out of the truck as he lets out a sigh.

“I know you’re frustrated. I would be as well. But hey, that’s Daytona. it’s a bitch. You will get them next week at Atlanta.” She glances back at him.

“Seriously?” He nods his head.

“You finished out the year strong on the mile and a halves. Now having Rudy setting up the truck, I don’t see any reason to doubt what’s possible. Just chalk this up to crazy Speedweeks and focus forward.” She accepts, giving him a quick kiss.

“Let me go see Rudy and the guys, and then we’ll head back.” He accepts as he watches her walk off.

Her time with the crew guys didn’t take long as they were back in the motorcoach shortly thereafter, with her changed out of her firesuit as they cuddled up together in the bed.

“Roll on your side,” she instructs and he does so, letting out small grunt in the process. “Sore?” He nods his head as he hated to admit it, but the ribs were more sore than he thought they’d be after today. She runs her fingers down lightly, rubbing as lightly as possible, as he relaxes a little.

“Look at this,” he starts. “You have the rough night, but here you are taking care of me.” She smiles as she kisses his cheek.

“That’s because I love you, and I want to help you, and I want to be there for you. It makes me feel better doing this for you.” She then takes a deep breath as she keeps herself cuddled up as close as possible. “I know everything you’re dealing with isn’t easy, from the pain to Alison looming over your head. I know it’s driving you crazy at times. I know it’s tough to talk about. But I want to be here for you throughout all of this, no matter what. Is that fair?” He nods his head, accepting.

“I appreciate it, too, more than you know. I’m glad that you’re not pushing me to tell you everything, to pour my heart out, to be perfec-”

“Because nobody is perfect, Chase, and I know what it’s like to be in your shoes, scared and unable to talk about it. Like I said to you before, it’s time for me to repay you back for that patience and understanding that you gave me. Now, close your eyes. You have a busy day tomorrow….”

They both just hoped it ended with them standing in their favorite spot once again.


Saturday, February 17 – Daytona International Speedway

Chase heads out for XFINITY Series qualifying, walking out to pit road as he meets up with the guys. He was then surprised when he saw Amy walking over to him.

“I’m surprised you haven’t said hi yet,” he replies as she walks over, giving her a hug.

“I’ve been a little busy, okay?” She offers and he nods his head.

“You look good, though. Is she being nice to her mommy now?” She chuckles, but nods back in response.

“Besides the odd crazy craving for ice cream or something sweet, it’s going smoothly.” He smiles as it was nice to see both Amy and Dale happy. “Dale sent me over, by the way. He wanted to make sure that you’re still good to run today after what happened.” Chase was slightly caught off-guard by the offer, but also understood the reasoning.

“You can tell him I’m fine. I’m a little sore, but it’s not bad. I can handle it. I’m ready to get him another win.” She smiles back in response, as she wasn’t going to bet against him right now.

“I am still surprised by those moves you pulled off during that Duel…” Chase chuckles as he had caught himself a little off-guard in watching back the replay of the final laps.

“Let me guess – if I would’ve told you that I wasn’t sure about this, he would’ve drove instead?” Amy glances away a little. “Ah, okay, I get it. Retirement totally hasn’t set in for him yet…” She then looks right back at him.

“Actually, it’s the complete opposite. He’s fallen right into being comfortable knowing that he isn’t behind the wheel this weekend, having fun with the other stuff that he’s been doing. I admit being a little concerned in coming down to Daytona, knowing that he wasn’t driving, and it feeling weird, but he hasn’t said anything yet. Instead, he’s caught himself up with what he’s doing for NBC and being that team owner.” Chase looks down pit road, seeing Dale and Kelley talking about something together.

“I feel bad for Kelley. He’s probably chewing her ear off with questions now.”

“Chase!” He then chuckles as Amy rolls her eyes. “But really, let us know if it gets to be too much, and know that we’ve got your back too – well, I’ve got your back as much as I ca-”

“You just focus on keeping that little girl healthy, okay? I can’t wait to meet her.”

“Chase!” One of the crew members calls and Chase gives him a quick wave.

“That’s my call to get to work,” he states, giving her another hug before walking over to the car.


Saturday, February 17 – California

“I thought you said you were going to be getting Chris free?” Shelley questions over the phone as she leans back against the counter in her kitchen.

“Patience, young grasshopper,” was the response that she received, causing her to roll her eyes.

“I’m sorry, but all it seems that you’re doing right now is torturing the heck out of Chase, and seeing how that affects Chelsy. It seems to have no connection or bearing in my mind in how you would be getting Chris out and away from being mistreated unfairly.”

“Can’t you just let a plan come together?” Shelley almost chuckled to herself.

“The only reason I agreed to not say anything is for Chris’ benefit because clearly Chelsy can’t seem to care about her brother or family. I suggest you make something happen or your plan is getting revealed.”

“You wouldn’t have the guts to do that.” Shelley was now actually chuckling.

“Watch me, bitch.” She then hangs up the phone, glancing over at the television.

She didn’t know why she had put on the Cup practice or why she was bothering with NASCAR, but it was the only thing she could do in trying to figure out what the heck Alison was up to.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 39: Can-Am Duels

Thursday, February 15 – Can-Am Duel 1 – Daytona International Speedway

Sarina and Chase walk through the pits together, carefully.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” She questions as she wraps an arm around his waist. He glances over, nodding his head.

“I’m fine for tonight – trust me,” he answers, giving her a quick kiss. She wanted to believe him, but her mind kept wandering to just that morning, those fears and concerns, and knowing how quickly he had gotten comfortable in their bed during her practice.

“As long as you’re confident and know that you’ll be fin-”

“I know what I can handle, and this is nothing.” She nods her head in return as they glance around once again. “Let’s go sit up on Johnson’s pit box.” She simply nods her head once again, accepting, as they make their way down pit road.

“Mind if I join you?” They hear, caught off-guard, as they glance between each other, before looking back at Lindsay.

“I thought you’d be on Ryan’s pit box,” Chase offers as Lindsay shrugs her shoulders.

“I don’t know if I’m comfortable there. Ryan never mentioned anything, and I don’t know the guys yet, and I don’t know what I’d sa-”

“It’s fine.” She instantly looks relieved, catching up to join them as Chase looks over at Sarina. “Remind me later to give the rookie a lesson.” Sarina can only chuckle in response as they reach Byron’s pit.

It didn’t take them long to get comfortable on the pit box in their choice of seating, following a round of hellos from the crew.

Their eyes were immediately drawn to the action on the track, as the field came to take the green flag. Immediately, Bowman pulled to the right after taking the green, letting the field go past him.

“What the heck?” Sarina questions as she looks over at Chase concerned. He could only smirk back in response. “By design to protect the pole?”

“And the fact the car isn’t set-up yet for drafting due to the impound and Greg’s plan,” Chase answers and Sarina could only smile. It now made sense why Chase hadn’t been able to qualify right up there with his teammates. They had gone for a more ‘qualifying’ set-up, versus sticking to their race package like Chase and Alan had. “Personally, I would’ve preferred to get as much learning as I could before Sunday, but that’s their style….”

“Yours makes me more nervous at the same time as I agree with it.” He chuckles as he wraps an arm around her.

It didn’t take long for the first caution to fly, though, as it’d be Jimmie Johnson blowing a tire on Lap 9, taking Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola out with him.

“Jimmie’s luck sucks down here,” Chase comments with a sigh.

The troubles for the Hendrick Motorsports teammates continued, with William Byron going around on Lap 38, tapping the outside wall, after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had sidedrafted with him.

“You guys can stay here until race’s end as we can’t remove equipment until then,” Darian Grubb tells them and Chase simply nods his head back in return.

“That sucked,” he comments. “Hate to see that for you guys.” Darian packs up his stuff, before glancing back at Chase once again.

“It proves one thing – watch your left rear quarter as always.” Chase nods his head in agreement, remembering the old adage rule at Daytona – make sure you’re square when bump drafting and never get someone in the left rear as it makes them unstable immediately.

Their eyes remained focused on the rest of the action, feeling a little bit of dread at points in seeing the field simply run single file entering the closing stages. Chase watched closely in seeing if anybody was getting any runs, where a move could be made, studying the laps just in case his Duel fell into the same predicament later on that night.

It seemed the race was going to end with a bore, but Ryan Blaney popped out of line with four to go, set to make a move on Joey Logano for the lead.

“Come on Ryan!” All three shouted together, though felt paused immediately when another wreck happened.

“How do you do this every week?” Lindsay questions as Sarina just chuckles, rubbing her shoulders. “I could always watch before as a fan – not one freak out. But yet here I am on the verge of heart failure.”

“Ask Chase,” Sarina starts as she looks over at him. “I may be a driver, but I can freak out with the best of them.” Chase nods his head as he gets comfortable.

“Ryan should have this no problem,” he summarizes, catching the pair off-guard.

“No problem?” Chase nods as he looks over at the girls.

“Look at the moves he made all race long. Look at the moves he made in the Clash. He knows what’s he’s doing and he will beat Joey. Besides, he’s got a friend…”

As predicted, Darrell Wallace Jr. pushed Ryan on the restart, getting him out front. There were moves made as they came back around, but it was not enough as Ryan was able to come across with the first Duel win.

“That was awesome!” Lindsay lets out as she shares a high-five with Sarina.

“Girl, you need to get to victory lane!” Sarina instructs as they begin to make their way down off of the pit box.

“Are you sure about that?” Sarina immediately nods her head. “I mean, Ryan hasn’t told anyone that we’re together at all, and I don’t even know what to call us. Are you sure he’d want me there? I mean, I don’t even know what to do! Maybe I should jus-”

“Take her to victory lane, Sarina!” Chase instructs, knowing that Ryan would love having Lindsay there with him. He then wraps an arm around Sarina, pulling her close. “I love you, and don’t worry – I’ll be careful.”

“You better.” She then kisses his lips as the pair separate with Chase heading up pit road as the girls ran off to victory lane together.

Sarina carefully snuck Lindsay in, keeping her in the back corner as Ryan did his assortment of interviews. As soon as the final one was done, Sarina gave her a push forwards towards Ryan, standing back and smiling as Lindsay took the bait.

“Congratulations,” Lindsay says simply as Ryan looks over, smiling cheek to cheek.

“How was that show?” He questions as he pulls her close.

“That was great, beyond amazing. I just wasn’t sure if I should be here.” Ryan then looks at her shocked.

“Absolutely. I wouldn’t want to share this with anyone else – well, except my team. But they don’t get one of these…” Ryan then kisses her lips as the flashbulbs go off behind them immediately. “Thank you for coming.”

“Thank you for inviting me, and thank Sarina and Chase for convincing me to come to victory lane…” Ryan looks over to where Sarina had remained hidden, giving her a wave, before focusing his eyes back on Lindsay.


Thursday, February 15 – Can-Am Duel 2 – Daytona International Speedway

Sarina climbs the usual steps, taking her seat as she glances between the boys, flashing a trademark smile. It then immediately fades as she looks down, crossing her fingers together, closing her eyes, just hopeful that everything went smooth as possible.

“Hey, are you okay?” Alan questions as he glances back at her. She simply nods her head back in response. “You don’t need to be nervous.”

“It’s Daytona,” she tells him. “Whether you like it or not, I’m always nervous at Daytona because anything and everything can happen. Given this morning, you could say I may be on a little edge..” Alan nods sympathically as he reaches back for her hand, giving it a squeeze.

“You know I wouldn’t give your boy a bad car to work with, so you know he’ll be fine that way. But, I do understand that worry. Just try and focus on the good and remember that if he feels confident that he’s okay, the-”

“Everything will work out as planned.” She then takes a deep breath. “I keep reminding myself of that, Alan. Thank you.” He simply smiles as he lets her hand go, focusing back on his job at hand.

The race started off smoothly as Chase put himself in position at the front of the field. That didn’t allow Sarina to relax, though, as she felt every bit of heart-pumping action eating at her core. She almost let out the first yell of the evening in watching Erik’s slide Chase’s bumper, getting him loose with Jones going around for a spin.

“Did he touch you?” Alan questions on the radio as Sarina works at calming herself back down with a couple deep breathes, glad that they’re still in one piece.

“No, he was sideways the whole frigging time,” Chase answers, knowing his bumper had not made any contact with Jones to trigger the incident.

Alan brought him down pit road, choosing to go with fuel only, before sending him back out. of course, the jubilation was shortly lived as they were penalized for the crew going over the wall too soon. Knowing they were restarting at the back, Alan called him back down to put four tires on it.

If Sarina felt her heart was going to come out of her chest before, then she couldn’t describe her current stage of emotions as she felt even more freaked out in watching Chase dice his way up through the pack, using whatever lane would move. Remarkably, whether due to tires or just a strong car, she watched him move back up into the runner-up spot at Lap 25, just seven laps after the incident.

She felt like she was going to jump out of her seat two laps later when he pulled underneath Denny, sliding by him and back up for the lead.

“Oh my gosh….” She lets out, trying to keep herself calm as possible, despite the drastic blocking before her. It was nice to see Chase in the lead, but she knew that this was just beginning now.

Her nerves got her break through the middle portion of the event as once again, they ran single file like they had done the previous Duel. However, as the laps counted down – 10 to go, eight to go, six to go – her heart began to pound harder and harder, knowing that everybody was planning their move. Fingers crossed, toes crossed, she hoped Chase could pull the bocks necessary.

With two laps to go, the move came as Kevin Harvick broke out of line, set to make a run. However, at the same time, the lines broke apart behind him, slowing the lanes, with Chase making the moves necessary.

“Come on babes….” She says quietly as they come to the white flag.

Eddie D’Hondt perfected his job on the radio, giving him the necessary information, as she watched him hold the gap perfectly, leading the field back around for the win. Immediately, high-fives and hugs filled the pit box as everybody joined in complete excitement for the victory.

“Was that worth the nerves?” Alan questions as he gives her a hug.

“I’ll handle it any day if that’s the reward,” she answers.

It wasn’t long before the whole team was in victory lane, fists pumped in the air with pride for the win. After standing up on top for photos, Chase hops down, immediately wrapping his arms around Sarina and giving her a kiss, before going through his post-race interviews.

That was followed by photos on stage, which culminated with Chase and Sarina taking one of their own together.

“You were absolutely amazing out there,” she starts as she glances into his eyes. “I mean, for the man that says he has to practice and get better at plate racing, that was beyond spectacular. I say you, Ryan, Ricky, Brad, Joey, Denny and Kevin are the only ones that can make moves like that. I can’t wait until Sunday!” Chase leans in for another kiss.

“Alan built one great hot rod,” Chase states, before the pair take a photo together. They then look back over, as she rubs his side.

“Tell me the truth, please…” He takes a deep breath, squinting a touch as he lets it out.

“It’s tender, a little sore – but I’m fine. It’s nothing that I haven’t handled before, and it’s actually not as bad as last year.” She nods her head, accepting, before leaning her head against him. He immediately wraps his arms around her, just holding her. “I know I scared you this morning. Trust me, nobody knows that more than me. I’ve stated my fears of Allison before, but I can tell you right now that what she’s done has upped the game big time. I can’t stop looking over my shoulder, can’t stop wondering, can’t stop thinking, trying to figure what she’ll do next. So I get it, Sarina, and it’s okay to be afraid…”

“I’m not afraid, Chase.” She then looks up into his brown eyes. “I know how strong you are because of what you’ve done for me, whether being there, or dealing with my brother’s crap. I know the type of character you are. I know that no matter what she throws your way, you’re going to be okay because you’re stronger than I can put into words. Right now, though, I am thankful…” She then gives him another kiss.

“Me too.”  He then lets out a sigh as he rests his head on top of hers, thinking things through. He wanted to stand tall and believe in those words that she was saying, but how could he do that when his world was constantly flipped upside down? The little fear that he had told Kyle, Ricky and his dad in the past about – that had grown to the point that he didn’t know if he could keep it under control.

“You’re still here?!?” They hear, glancing down to see Ryan and Lindsay standing there together. it was clearly obvious that the pair had gotten changed, and Lindsay’s hair being messed up a little had a smirk on Sarina’s face immediately.

“I’m about to head to the media center for post-race intervie-” Chase starts, knowing that he couldn’t stay there forever in her arms, despite not wanting to move a single inch.

“Not yet!” Ryan and Lindsay then come up and join them on stage with a smile of their own.

“Group photo!” The girls let out together as they both wrap their arms around the guys.

“Dude, you’re wearing one of my shirts?” Chase questions as he looks over at Ryan, seeing the shirt that he had changed into.

“I’m your number one fan now!” Ryan lets out as he wraps his arms around him, causing a series of laughs.

Thursday, February 15 –Daytona International Speedway

With everything in the books for the day, everybody had met back together in Ryan’s motorcoach for some fun and they were joined by Darrell Wallace Jr., as well. Being the good friend, Wallace had brought both boys a beer to toast their wins.

“If you need more ice, don’t hesitate to ask,” Ryan offers as he hands Chase a bag, getting a simple nod in return. Whether Chase wanted to admit it or not, Ryan knew that he was probably feeling a bit of pain in his ribs and didn’t want to leave his friend hanging.

“How are you feeling, though?” Chase questions, catching Ryan’s attention. It was nice to see the concern go one way, but really, it was more warranted the other way. In Chase’s mind, Ryan never should’ve gotten stuck in the middle of this.

“I’m sore in spots where I’m blue or purple, but I’m fine. Nothing a win can’t cure.” Chase chuckles as he watches Ryan get comfortable across from him.

“So I heard back from the investigator, by the way. She says that the paperwork I received detailing everything – Allison was able to get access through Chris’ lawyer as he would’ve had it. They’re currently looking to track down that lawyer and get him to fess up and talk. They’ve also put a search out for Allison. Now, how is she getting the access to these places? Nobody knows…” Ryan nods his head, accepting. He glances over, seeing both girls joking with Bubba as they played a round of Mario Kart, before looking back at Chase.

“What’s your reaction?” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances down for a second, before back over at Ryan.

“I don’t kno-”

“You have to have some reaction, Chase.” Chase takes a deep breath.

“I just hate that you’re involved, okay? I hate that you were there with me today and had to go through this. I hate that once again, a friend of mine has gotten hurt because of this. You went through enough last year with Chris drugging you; you didn’t need to go throu-”

“I wouldn’t change a thing, though.” Chase then looks over at him confused and puzzled.

“Are you serious right now?” Ryan nods his head.

“If I’m not there, you’re going through this alone. I would never want to have someone in a position to wake up on a beach after crashing a plane alone. Besides, what if things had been worse? What if you seriously needed someone to help you? I would’ve wanted to be there, Chase.” Chase almost wanted to smile in Ryan’s reaction.

“That means a lot coming from you. Thank you.” Ryan smiles back in return as he glances over at the other three.

“We’re always going to be friends and we’re always going to be there for each other, right?” He then turns back to Chase. “I’m here for you through this, thick and thin. Until she’s arrested and behind bars for her life, or dead, I’m going to be here by your side whether you are willing to accept that or not. And Chase, it’s okay to worry, or be afraid, or wond-”

“I kno-”

“Just don’t keep it bottled up, or it’ll drive you insane, okay?” Chase nods his head, accepting.

“Can you boys please come kick their girl’s asses?” Darrell breaks up their discussion. “I’m getting my ass handed to me here!” They both laugh as they glance at each other, before joining them to take a crack at it.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 38: “Are you sure we went the right way?”

Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway

Sarina heard her phone go off for what seemed like the hundredth time, and was almost set to chuck it across the room.

“What time is it?” She wondered, half-asleep, as she reached over for her phone. Seeing that there were eight missed text messages from Lindsay, she couldn’t help but feel concerned as she opened them. “What the hell?”

She calls Chase’s number twice, before hitting Ryan’s twice afterwards. She then resorts back to Chase’s number, dialing it over and over as she gets out of the bed, throwing a sweater and pair of pants on quickly. She makes her way out of the motorcoach, continuing to hit the number, as she makes her way down a couple more.

She knocks on the door, panic slowly building, as she was getting no answer, or sign of return from him.

“Sarina?” Bill questions as he opens the door, confused.

“Have you seen Chase or Ryan?” She questions and Bill shakes his head no, now intrigued. “He was supposed to fly down to Miami, pick Lindsay up, and bring her here. But I haven’t seen him, or Ryan, and Lindsay hasn’t been picked up yet.” Bill felt concern forming as he goes back in his motorcoach, grabbing his phone, looking for any messages or missed calls.

“Have you trie-”

“I’ve been calling his number over, and over, and Ryan’s too!” Bill didn’t want to panic because who knew, it may be a simple issue like he left late due to a problem, or there was still a problem at the airport. However, that thought was also accompanied by the reason he had come down there early.

“Stay here with Cindy and explain to her what’s going on, and I’ll be back. It’s probably nothing, but I’ll go by the airport and see if he’s there…” Sarina takes a calm deep breath, nodding her head as Bill walks over up to her. He wraps an arm around her shoulders. “He’s going to be okay, relax…” He then heads off as Sarina enters the motorcoach, ready to see Cindy.


Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona Beach

The pair had been walking for what seemed forever, but it seemed to be leading them nowhere. They had passed by a couple buildings, but there weren’t open so there was no way to find people there.

“Are you sure we went the right way?” Ryan questions as he stops to take a small break. Chase shrugs his shoulders as he glances around.

“The sun always rises in the east, and sets in the west,” he recalls a saying that he learned during pilot training. “The track is west of the beach, so therefore if we walk away from the sun, we should find the track.” Ryan looks over a little concerned by the theory, as he glances around.

“Meanwhile, we’ve been walking for a while and found nothing!” Chase lets out a sigh as he looks over at Ryan.

“I didn’t say it was a short walk, did I?” Ryan shakes his head. “Besides, are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m not the one bitching that my side hur-”

“You’re also not in perfect shape, either..” Ryan knew that Chase was right as he tries to stretch a little.

“I’m not a big swimmer, man. That was probably the most I’ve gone, and will go, swimming in my life. I’m just sore everywhere.” He then stretches a little bit more before continuing to walk. “But standing around isn’t going to get us anywhere, so we better keep going…”

“Yeah.” Chase then continues walking behind him.

“Are you good to keep walking?” Chase nods his head as he catches up alongside.


Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona Airport

Bill walks down the airport tarmac, surprised by the sight before him as there was no plane, bags, or anything to be found. It was clear that Chase wasn’t there, having taken off, now somewhere between here and Miami.

“Where are you?” He questions as he looks at his phone once again. He had followed Sarina’s lead, also dialing Chase’s number a couple of times, demanding an answer.

He goes to where the plane was parked and was almost set to walk away with no signs of anything, but stopped when he noticed an envelope. He walks over, picking it up, and quickly ripping it open. Before even reading the contents, he figured what was coming.

“You should be more careful as you know I’m always watching,” he reads, letting out an aggravated sigh.

Taking a deep breath, he pulls his phone back out, calling the phone number that Chase had given him for the investigator. His heart was panicking, but he had to do what was right. He just didn’t know how he’d tell Cindy and Sarina what he found.


Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona, Florida

“Now which way do we go?” Ryan questions as they seemed to be getting closer to where some hopeful civilization would be.

“This way,” Chase answers as he leads them down a path. Ryan almost wasn’t set to listen, given where they’d gotten so far, but he also didn’t have a single clue. “That hotel there – that’s where the crew guys are staying!”

“Wouldn’t they be gone already?” Chase knew that was a possibility, but whether they were there or not, he didn’t care. It was someone that could help them out.

They continue walking, both of them feeling some pain as those clothes clung tight being soaked, walking up to the edge of the Marriott property.

“Chase?” They hear, catching them by surprise. They could only wonder what crew member and team this person was fun, but it was nice to finally find someone who recognized them. They watch as the person immediately heads over their direction, and every reflex relaxed immediately. “We’re just about to come to the track. What the hell are you doing here? And why are you both soaked?”

“Crashed the plane in the beach,” Chase states, causing Jordan’s jaw to drop immediately. “We were going to pick up Lindsay and ran into a bit of a probl-”

“A bit of a problem? Are you serious? This is no little problem! I mean, I don’t know if you realize, but you’re both damn lucky to be simply standing here based on what you’re telling me. I mean, how lucky can one gu-”

“Look, can I call Sarina and my dad, please? They’re going to be worr-”

“Come with me….” Jordan gets the pair of them to follow him up to the hotel, causing some glances from a couple of the other crew members.

It didn’t take Jordan long to explain what was happening, causing more shocked glances from the various crew members. But in their true fashion, they each stepped in to help immediately. They led both boys inside, and back up to the floor they were staying on. They went down to the crew chief’s suite, with Alan letting them in immediately.

“Get out of your wet clothes,” Alan instructs as he goes into the closet. He didn’t have much, but threw a pair of pants and shirt at each of them. “Anything is better than being soaked.”

The pair nod their heads as they follow the instructions, getting changed quickly. Once changed, the crew members had already figured out their plan of action. Josh was set on making sure both of them were comfortable laying in Alan’s bed, having seen the signs of being sore. Alan had taken the action of calling Sarina, followed by calling Bill, while Jordan took the liberty of phoning it in to the investigator.

“Sarina, Cindy, and Bill are on their way over,” Alan states as he glances over the pair. “You both need to get checked out so they can take you. Ryan, if you want, we can call Roger, anybody you nee-”

“I’m fine,” Ryan cuts him off as Alan simply nods his head.

“Do we really need to get checked out?” Chase questions and Alan gives him a glare.

“You’re in pain right now as I can see that,” Alan starts. “You just crashed a plane into the water and want to go on as if nothing happened? Not happening, buddy.” Chase lets out a sigh as he rubs his side a little.

“I already know what they’re going to sa-”

“You’re not getting out of this – no ifs, ands, or buts.” Chase lets out a sigh as he tries to get comfortable.

“Yes sir.”


Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway

“I’m just glad that you’re okay,” Sarina comments as she cuddles up to him in their bed together.

It hadn’t taken long in the morning for the pair to be reunited, with shock being the number one item of discussion. Although he hadn’t been wanting to get checked out, it didn’t take as long as anticipated either.

Thankfully, he hadn’t actually broken any ribs, but rather just bruised a couple. While it’d take three to four weeks to heal, thankfully a bit of asprin and ice was helping right now. Other than that, some bruises in a couple other spots and rest to heal the tiredness and he’d be good to go.

Ryan had gotten luckier, only having some questionable bruises in spots, and needing some rest as clearly it had taken its toll.

After they were released, the pair returned to the track and their respective tracks. Bill had gone and picked up Lindsay so Ryan and Lindsay were able to spend their time together, while Sarina and Chase had each other.

“I don’t think you realize how luc-” Sarina goes to continue.

“Trust me, I know how lucky I was,” he cuts her off as he runs his fingers through her hair. “Jump any later than I did, or if we weren’t over the water, and we would’ve been in trouble. I get it. I haven’t lost sight on that – especially considering it’s my fault.” Sarina then looks at him confused. “I was running late, and didn’t bother to look everything over. The note was right – I should’ve been more carefu-”

“You couldn’t kno-”

“I should’ve known that it was possible, because of the notes, because of the threats, because of the way the notes have gone. When something like that is going on, you need to be more careful than usual, and I should’ve been. It’s my own fault, and worst of all, I feel terrible for Ryan.” She then lays her head against his chest as she debates what to say next. How was she supposed to make him feel better about this?

“Ryan isn’t mad at you, and you can’t beat yourself up over it. Like you always tell me – learn and more on. Next time, it’ll serve as a reminder to be careful. Be thankful you’re alright and focus on the future.” She then glances up in his eyes. “Besides, don’t you have a race – are you even running the Duel now?” He nods his head.

“This is a whole new package. I learned a lot in the Clash, but I need to figure out some other things. Alan needs the data for the car, too. I’m running it.” She nods her head, accepting, swallowing the lump in her throat as she lays her head back against him.

“Just promise me you’ll be careful, okay?”

“I’ll do my best.” He then kisses the top of her head as he goes back to running his fingers through her hair. “I’m sorry I scared you this morning.”

“It’s not your fault. All that matters to me is that you’re okay.” He shifts a little, getting comfortable.

“I’ll be okay…” She then glances at the clock, and lets out a sigh. “Go practice. I’ll be here when you come back – I promise. I’m probably going to go to sleep for a bit anyway.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to call your pare-”

“I’m a big boy, Sarina. I can take care of myself.” She then kisses his lips, before slowly standing up and reaching for her firesuit off of the dresser. She gets changed, snagging another kiss before starting to head out. “Sarina?” She ten glances back. “Can you get me another bag of ice?”

“I thought you said you could take care of yourself. Maybe I should call your pare-”

“Once you get the ice and I put it there, I’ll probably fall asleep shortly after. If I need them, though, I’ll call.” She lets out a sigh, nodding her head. It didn’t take her long to grab the ice, giving it to him and making sure that he was nice and comfortable. “Thank you.”

“Be careful. I love you.” He grabs her hand with his, pulling her close, and kissing her lips.

“I love you, too, and it’s you that needs to be careful. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” She takes a deep breath, slowly turning on her heels and heading out.

She hated to leave him like this, but she knew she couldn’t give up the first practice of the year, either.