Friday May 18, 2018 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
Chase makes his way up onto the pit box, giving Rudy Fugle a quick nod before taking his usual seat. Taking a deep breath, it was going to be a fun night under the lights.
The race started off strong for Sarina as he was ran second until Lap 15, before passing Johnny Sauter for the lead. It looked as though a stage win was in sight, when the caution flew with nine laps to go. Rudy made the call to bring her down pit road, where they’d come off strong in the running order.
“Speeding,” Rudy tells her. “Coming onto pit road. Tail of the longest line.” Chase could only let out a sigh as he watches her fall back down the running order to 22nd.
“We got a strong truck and there’s still a lot of laps tonight,” Sarina comments over the radio, surprising Chase as he half-expected her to be frustrated.
Once the green flag was back out, she made some moves, working her way up to 14th by the time the stage was finished. She was also able to gain ground under caution, with four trucks pitting, bumping her up to 10th to start stage two.
Once again, she showed more speed, working her way up to seventh mid-way through the second stage. However, it appeared the handling of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra was a little off, as she’d fade back to 10th by the checkered flag. Once again, Rudy brought her down pit road, giving her four tires, sending her back out to restart fourth.
The speed was back after the restart as the progress continued, with her battling Brett Moffitt for second when the caution came out with 56 laps to go for another truck going around. As per the other cautions, Rudy had her back on pit road for tires, set to restart seventh. She didn’t gain much ground this time on the restart, but another caution with 48 laps to go and more trucks pitting bumped her up to fourth. She was able to get a good restart, moving up to second before the next yellow flag with 22 laps to go.
With Kyle Busch on her back bumper for the next restart, Chase knew it was bound to be good and felt hopeful about her chances at possibly going back-to-back. However, Kyle got going before she did, getting into the back of her truck, sending her sideways, but she managed to hang on. However, it’d drop her back to 10th in the process.
“Lovely….” was all Chase could say as another caution came out with 15 laps to go. He really didn’t want to be around to hear what she said post-race as he knew she’d probably be fuming right now about Kyle.
The final restart saw her struggle a little, but she managed to gain some ground, crossing the finish line in eighth. As per usual, Chase and Rudy both made their way off the pit box together and were set to go see her. Chase felt a little nervous as they made their way over, not sure what her reaction would be.
“Where is he?” She immediately questions, and they both knew that she was referring to Kyle.
“He is in the media center,” Chase states, having seen him walk off in his own frustrated mode with his PR rep.
“Great. I’ll go wait for him…” Sarina goes to head that direction, when Chase puts his arm out stopping her. “Excuse me?”
“Maybe you should hold off talking to Kyle…” She then looks over at him surprised.
“We’re seriously going to do this again, are we? I mean, I thought you would’ve figured it out last year when you tried to stop me from talking to Chri-”
“I let you both talk eventually, remember? I made you wait until you were both away from everybody else and then I didn’t stand in the way as you basically went off on him. That’s all I’m doing here. Besides, Kyle is a little frustrated himself right now.” She then chuckles with a slight eye roll.
“That’s great. Ask me if I care, Chase?” Chase lets out a sigh as Rudy crosses his arms.
“The pit crew let him down twice tonight,” he starts. “Two penalties for being over the wall too soon put him back twice. I know you don’t have sympathy nor probably give a damn right now, but that’s why he’s overly frustrated. That’s probably why maybe he went a little early and got into you there. Chase just wants to save you from doing something stupid.” She then glances back at Rudy.
“So I’m just supposed to be the good employee and let my boss control my life? That sounds great, Rudy.” She then walks away from the pair of them as Chase lets out a sigh, following her. “You aren’t going to stop me, Chase…”
“I’m not trying to stop you, remember?” Chase questions before reaching out and grabbing her arm firmly. “Just please let’s save this and do it back in the motorcoach lot, just like you did with Christopher.” She then stops, letting out a sigh as she glances back. It was almost getting to be too much energy fighting him, and as long as she saw Kyle, what else mattered?
“Fine…” She agrees as they then turn and head the other direction, the frustration still stemming on her.
“Besides, I do have a question for you…” She rolls her eyes right away. “You spun the tires, right? Before Kyle even touched you, you spun the tir-”
“What are you getting at, Elliott?” He didn’t appreciate the tone, but that wasn’t going to stop him from going forward here.
“If you don’t spin the tires, he doesn’t touch your bumper, right?” She just laughs.
“You sound like Rudy….”
“Maybe he was just trying to help you get going, and didn’t realize that your bumpers weren’t lined up. We’ve seen that before.” He then reaches out and places a hand on her shoulder. “Think about rationally….” She then stops, taking a deep breath.
“Okay, so maybe you’re right. Maybe I am wrong to be upset with him. That just leaves me to be upset with myself. Great…” He then glances down, knowing that the situation had just gotten worse – even if Kyle was off the hook.
“You made a mistake. It happens. Live and move on. Learn what you did wrong from that restart so you never do it again. But do not beat yourself up because you drove a great race tonight, and you came out of there with a top-10.” He then wraps his arm around her shoulder. “Besides, I can’t let you leave in the morning if you’re upset.”
“Part of me still doesn’t want to go. Part of me wants to be here wit-”
“I’ll be fine, Sarina. Go and learn what you can about that place. Maybe even bring home a trophy.” She then smiles, giving him a small kiss in return.
“That’s the plan, right?”
Saturday May 19, 2018 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
Chase climbs out of the car and makes his way over to his teammates, knowing that there’d be a good discussion forth coming. It was the first time practicing the new package fully, and he had to say that it was different and certainly interesting. For the record, the practice had gone solidly too, as he felt pretty good about the car and ended up 10th on the charts.
“I feel if you can get that run off the corner, then you can make something work,” Alex Bowman shares with the group as Jimmie nods his head in return.
“But can you make it work so you actually clear the guy?” Jimmie wonders. “I almost felt stuck there at times.”
“The runs don’t come without you focusing perfectly on that timing. Like, you need to be precise or else you’re screwed big time.”
The teammates continue talking, as Chase listens on, not really having anything to add at this point. If he was being honest, Sarina being away was actually starting to bother him as he wanted her to lean on there right now. instead, he was stuck trying to find some way to get updates from Canada as there was not really the best of coverage for what was happening.
“Earth to Chase!” Chase hears, snapping him out of his thoughts as he looks up at Jimmie. “Dude, are you okay?”
“Yeah,” Chase replies, almost instinctively as he grabs his phone, hopeful for an update. He was glad that Sarina had sent one, noting that they’d practiced in the heavy fog which was certainly a new learning experience, and qualifying had been cancelled, setting her up to start 13th tomorrow. She then noted that they’d run another practice later on that day.
“He’s just missing his girl,” William comments before walking away as Jimmie watches him closely.
“Is he right?” Jimmie wonders and Chase nods his head. “I thought you’d be used to this with all the separate schedule stuff that you guys deal with.”
“It doesn’t mean that it’s always easy, right?” Chase offers and Jimmie could understand that. However, he was still a little caught off-guard by Chase’s behavior.
“I know what you mean as some weekends, I wish Chandra would bring the kids when she doesn’t. But really, are you sure everything is okay? I mean, I made mention of a bit of a joke last week and you like clamped up immediately. Then your deal with Ricky – which I can’t totally get mad at you for, and now this? Remember I always said that I’m here if you nee-”
“I’m fine, Jimmie, really.” Chase could see the sympathy in Jimmie’s eyes as everybody knew that his behavior was probably somehow connected to the mess with Alison. However, the details weren’t there and Chase was determined to keep things that way. “I have some things on my mind, but I’m fine. I’ll work them out.”
“Well, you know I’m here to talk if you need to.” Chase nods his head once again. “And for the record, I don’t know what all Alison did to you and Sarina, but don’t let that bother you. You’re strong, and nothing that she did or said matters.” Jimmie then walks away as Chase leans back against the pit box.
“If only you knew, Jimmie….” He then lets out a sigh, before grabbing his phone and Gatorade and heading off. It was only a matter of time before they’d be starting the night’s festivities, and Chase was thankful for that distraction.
After finishing the practice session seventh on the board, Sarina checked into her hotel room, getting comfortable on the bed as she opened the box.
“All-Star Race and Chicken Wings – perfect combination right?” She questions to herself as she glances over at the small stuffed animal sitting on the bed.
She smiles as she knew it’d be a good call to bring Hootie with her as it gave her some connection back to Chase. of course, if she was really looking for something, she just needed to glance at the ring on her finger.
Right from the drop of the green flag, she had to admit that she was proud of the package NASCAR had put together for all-star race in seeing the racing. It made her wish she was there, knowing that it was going to be a great show by the racing already.
“That’s it Alex!” She let out in watching Alex Bowman winning the first stage of the Monster Energy Open to qualify for the main event. Now Chase and William needed to do the same.
“So close….” She lets out after the completion of the second stage in watching Chase finish second to Daniel. She wanted to be happy for Daniel in being her Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, but she honestly wished more than anything that Chase would’ve won instead.
“Are you freaking kidding me?” She could only say after the third and final stage. He had led laps and looked like he was going to win it, until A.J. Allmendinger pulled the move out of nowhere with a jump from fourth to first in the last two laps to win instead.
Taking a deep breath, she wanted to believe in the fan vote. After all, it was clear that everybody liked her boyfriend just as much as her. However, she wondered just what would happen as she saw the campaigns put together by Darrell Wallace and Matt DiBenedetto.
The instant sigh of relief came in watching them announce Chase as the fan vote winner, including a fist pump in the air. It wasn’t how they necessarily wanted to get into the big show, but he was in the show and that’s all that mattered.
After washing up, and getting comfortable in her pajamas, she curls up on the bed with Hootie, ready to take in the all-star race that night.
Starting back in 21st, she was ready to watch him carefully make his way through the field.
“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy…” was all that slipped out of her mouth as she watched him barely getting by Kurt Busch when he went for his spin, backing into the wall barely.
However, she couldn’t complain by the end of the stage as he had finished seventh. The happiness didn’t last, though, as it turned to anger and a bit of confusion in watching him miss his stall getting onto pit road, set to restart at the back of the field once again.
“He’s just keeping it interesting,” she tried to tell herself.
Through the back half of the event, it was all smiles as he put on a show, working his way forward, contending for spots, en route to a fifth-place finish. It wasn’t the million dollars, but it was great momentum heading into the Coke 600 next week.
Sunday May 20, 2018
Chase watches her walk over to the car, climbing in the passenger seat. It had been difficult to get updates on her Pinty’s Series event, but she had done well, running up front throughout the event, and finishing third. Not too shabby for a learning experience weekend.
“I missed you,” she tells him, leaning over the center console to kiss his lips.
“I missed you too,” he replies, deepening the kiss immediately as he grabs her hand with his own. “I couldn’t sleep last night without you. Nice job today, though.”
“The only reason I slept was because of Hootie….” He had to chuckle as he saw the owl sticking out of her sweater pocket. “But I was right. I should’ve stayed and took care of yo-”
“I’m fine. We have tonight to make up for that…” She then puts her seatbelt on right away, with a wink at him.
“The sooner we get home…..”
“….the sooner we can cuddle.” He then puts the car in gear, heading out of the airport parking lot, thankful that it was a short drive home.
Wednesday May 23, 2018
“This is the life,” Sarina comments as she hits on the edge of the boat, enjoying the sunshine.
“I’m not complaining,” Chase says as he keeps his eyes locked on her.
“Of course you wouldn’t.” She just glances back at him, giving him a wink, before looking back forward. “Can we spend every day on the lake?”
“Sure.” He then makes his way over, sitting down beside her. “As long as you promise to wear that every time.” She smiles as it was obvious the bikini fit every single curve perfectly.
“As long as you promise to leave your hair like that…” She then reaches over, playing with the ringlets once again. “So you have the Hooters Pageant this weekend….”
“Don’t worry. I promise you that you’re the only girl that I’m totally staring at in total awe of.” Her heart fluttered in response, but the assurance wasn’t needed.
“You don’t need to tell me, Clyde. I know that already….” She then leans in and lightly kisses his lips. “But that’s just a reminder of how much I know.”
“A reminder, huh? Maybe I need another one…” She then leans in for another kiss, as he wraps his arm around her, keeping her held tightly against him.
“Chase….” He then looks into her blue eyes, feeling lost in them immediately.
“Sarina….” He goes in for another kiss, as she places her hand against his bare chest.
“Are you sure you’re ready?” He knew why she was doing this, and almost felt annoyed immediately.
“Is that going to be your question every time I go to kiss you, or make love with you?” She knew she hit a nerve, but it was better this way than to have regrets later.
“I just don’t want you doing something that you don’t want to do…” He then keeps his eyes locked on hers, as their fingers intertwine together.
“There’s nobody else I would want to be with. There’s nobody else that I’d want to do this with. There’s nowhere else that I would want to be. I want this, with you, right now, full heartedly. Yes, she hurt me and yes, I still can’t bear the thought sometimes, but I know I want you fully right now.” She then brings herself right close, breathing lightly on his neck.
“Then what are you waiting for?” He feels every temptation grow immediately as he stands up, picking her up in his arms, carrying her back through the boat till they were underneath the cover, laying her back on the small couch.
“I love you…” He then brings himself down, running his lips across hers, moving his body against hers as their lips fight for control.
“Clyde…” She then reaches around, running her hands along the waistband of his swim trunks, hand slowly going in underneath.
“I’ve missed this so much…” He then reaches around, slowly undoing the top of her bikini.