Saturday, August 11 – Michigan International Speedway
“I want to know how you kept that thing from getting any damage,” Alan comments after Chase climbs out of the car following practice.
“I want to know what adjustment you’re going to make to get the looseness out of the car,” Chase replies as Alan glances up at the chart. The session was pretty much a write-off considering the comments from Chase, and the fact they were ranked 18th.
“Is it that bad now?” Chase nods his head as he walks over to the crew chief.
“The rear-end is just too snappy that there was nothing I could do there but hold on.” Alan glances over his notes, as he tries to figure out what direction to go.
“Well, at least it isn’t tight anymore….” Chase just shakes his head as he glances over the data. “I think if I go in-between earlier and now, we’ll be fine – unless you want to go a little tight.” Chase thinks it over, while continuing to look over data – including some from his teammates.
“I’d rather be tight in the center than loose off like that, but perhaps you can fix both?” Alan glances over with a side eye.
“Now now driver, let’s not all get demanding for perfection here….” Chase rolls his eyes as Alan places a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll see what I can do for you. You can trust me…”
“I hope so…..”
Rudy walks over, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
“You did good holding on at the end,” he tells her. “I’m proud of you.” She then glances over with a small smile on her face.
“It still sucks, though,” she replies and he simply nods his head in response. She had run top-five through the first half of the race, before getting the lead off pit road for the final segment. Unfortunately, battling a tight condition, she would end up finishing fourth.
“When you can say fourth sucks, you’re doing something right. Hey, brighter note – Bristol is next weekend.” She couldn’t lie that she was excited as it was going to be a fun weekend.
“Thanks as always, Rudy….” He then heads off as she glances over to her right at Chase.
“Fourth sucks, but it’s better than 14th,” Chase comments as she reaches over, giving his hand a squeeze.
“Still worried about tomorrow?” She questions and he just shrugs his shoulders.
“It’s frustrating to come off a win and struggle so much to find the speed and handling you want in the car. I want to be mad at the guys, but I can’t because I know how hard they’re working and how far we’ve come.” She then moves closer, leaning her head against his arm.
“But your push for success, perfection, and the playoffs still makes you ponder it, right?” He nods his head.
“The fact that we’ve always ran good here, too. This wasn’t a place that I was worried about.” She then glances up into his eyes.
“Look at the bright notes. You’re locked into the playoffs, this track isn’t in the playoffs, and boom – you guys are getting better. things could be worse, right?” He nods his head, accepting. “Say, why don’t we go back to the bus and I get your mind off of that pesky car?”
“Do I want to know what you’re thinking?” She then looks at him with a bit of surprise.
“I wasn’t going there, but I can if you want….” He moves his arm so it’s wrapped around her, instead of her head against it.
“Either way is fine by me, but I can’t deny that we have fun together.” He then kisses her lips, before they head off pit road together.
Sunday, August 12 – Michigan International Speedway
Starting 21st on the grid, Chase immediately made his way forward, running 12th as of the competition yellow at Lap 25. The combination of speed shown, along with happiness on the radio, brought some relaxation across the pit box in knowing the adjustments last night were the right ones.
Though their day wasn’t meant to go smoothly as Chase would have an uncontrolled right front tire on the pit stop, resulting in a penalty, sending him back to 34th for the restart.
“Of course…” Sarina comments after hearing the call, rolling her eyes in response.
The restart came, and brought forth complaints from Chase in regards to feeling a vibration.
“Is it getting worse?” Alan questions after a couple of laps, sending Josh down to check with the tire changers if they got the lug nuts tight.
“Yes, 10 percent worse,” Chase answers, earning another eye roll from Sarina. “I think it’s a right.”
Knowing it wasn’t getting any better – and not willing to risk the consequences, Chase headed down pit road at Lap 40 for an unscheduled pit stop. Now a lap down, Sarina could only sit there, arms crossed, frustrated.
“We’ve got a long time to make it back up,” Jordan tries to coach the situation as he rubs her shoulder.
Alan made the decision to leave him out at the end of the first stage, allowing him to take the wave around and get back on the lead lap. From there, they slowly worked their way back up through, finishing stage two in 14th, followed by ninth at the checkered.
“Can I bitch today?” Chase questions as he glances over at Sarina afterwards. She just chuckles and nods her head.
“If not for Jordan, I think I would’ve strangled the guys,” Sarina comments as Chase just chuckles.
“They don’t make a lot of mistakes – and they were heroes last week. But it still sucks.” Sarina nods her head in agreement.
“Hey, at least you guys found speed and you made moves to the front of the field. Progress, right?” He glances over with a small smile.
“I see my lessons are rubbing off on you…” She lays her head against him once again.
“I got to be smart if I want to win a championship this year, right?”
Wednesday, August 15 – Kyle Busch Motorsports
Sarina makes her way down the stairs after a meeting with Rudy Fugle ahead of this weekend, set to check in with the guys before leaving for the night. However, she pauses as she notices a familiar face sitting in the No. 51 truck.
She makes her way through the shop and over to the truck in question, peeking inside.
“I know you’re having a killer season in the XFINITY Series, but is Sir Bell missing his time here at KBM with me?” Sarina questions as Christopher just laughs with a glance her way.
“There’s something about Denny, Ryan (Preece), Daniel, and Kyle as teammates that doesn’t equal to your standard,” Christopher answers as Sarina places her hand on her heart.
“I’m so touched by your compliments. But do you realize how mad Harrison will be if he finds you in his truck? You’d be worse off than Goldilocks was with the three bears.” Christopher just smiles as he keeps his eyes locked on her.
“I don’t think Harrison will be too mad. Actually, he texted me today stating that he hoped that I had a good weekend.” Sarina now keeps her eyes on him, feeling more confused than ever. “Oh, you haven’t heard? I’m going to be your teammate this weekend, sweetheart.”
“Say what?!?” Christopher continues smiling as he glances back forward, running his hands over the steering wheel.
“He’s still feeling pretty sick after someone passed along their flu bug, but I wouldn’t know who.” Sarina glances down, knowing that she was one of the people within the shop to have had the bug at one time or another. She was still mad that she wasn’t about to run that weekend, too.
“So Kyle called you to replace him this weekend?” Christopher nods his head as he looks back towards her.
“Now can you try not to wreck me this time?” She then playfully punches him as he laughs.
“Can you seriously just let that go?” Christopher continues laughing, shaking his head no.
“You should know better than anyone that racers don’t forget when they come close…” She nods her head, knowing that was true. However, she couldn’t deny it stung when he made a comment about what happened.
“Recall I did apologize 100 times over for the contact, but relax – I won’t wreck you this weekend. I’ll just give you a slight bump when I pass your ass for the win.” He then looks on surprised.
“That’s some pretty tough talk there for a gal who has only two career wins to her credit, against someone who has hoisted a championship. Are you sure you’re up for the challenge?”
“Is that a bet, Christopher?” Christopher glances back out the windshield, before turning back to her with a serious face.
“You’re on, Ms. Ott. Be prepared to be embarrassed when you lose.” She just chuckles, before going to leave the shop. She couldn’t help but take a glance back and smile in watching him climb out, though.
It was now certainly going to be a really fun weekend.
Thursday, August 16 – Bristol Motor Speedway
The first day of the weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway was filled with lots of action for both Chase and Sarina, as it was alternating practices between the trucks and XFINITY Series.
The day started out strong as Sarina was ninth in the first truck series practice, but confident in how comfortable the truck felt despite not being up there in the top-three with Christopher.
She had walked over to the No. 23 pit during the quick break between sessions, knowing that Chase would be in a good mood after timing in sixth quickest.
“Can you go tell Christopher to slow down, please?” He questions as she walks over, just earning a chuckle in response. It wasn’t a surprise to see Christopher fastest with Kyle second, either.
“I’ll see if the guys can distract him for you, okay?” She replies, snagging a quick kiss. “I can’t stay for long, but I wanted to come see you…” He glances into her eyes, brushing a strand of hair off of her face.
“I don’t have a problem with that – just make sure your boyfriend over there isn’t jealous.” She rolls her eyes, knowing that Christopher’s pit wasn’t far from Chase’s.
“Let him be jealous all he wants because I only have eyes for a handsome Georgia Peach.” He smiles back in response, before playfully glancing around.
“I don’t see no one that fits that description.” She then tugs at the collar on his firesuit, getting his attention.
“I’m talking about you, of course. No other man can ever take this heart.” She then snags another kiss, which he pushes his lips against hers more so this time than before. “I didn’t just come here to flirt, though.”
“Should I be worried?” She takes a deep breath as she reaches into the pocket of her firesuit, pulling out a folded piece of paper. She slowly unfolds it, handing it over.
“This got dropped off in the mail yesterday…” Chase was a little confused, but went with it anyway.
“Shelley….” It didn’t take long for the mood to be killed as he read the top of the notice and saw the name. “Why didn’t you show me this sooner?”
“I debated just throwing it in the trash, or burning it…” Chase holds it over the garbage can.
“I can drop it in if you wan-”
“At least read it first, please…” Chase was surprised with the request, but followed through anyway as he read the notice in full. Simply, it was an apology letter as she tried to once again reason for her actions before in trying to free Chris, and help everyone in the family along. “I don’t believe a single drop of her apology, nor do I want anything to do with her. I get what she says about not having much family, but I don’t care anymore. All I need is Lindsay – no one else as I’m done playing games. I’ve got what I need in you, Samantha, Kyle, Christopher, Rudy, and those around me.”
“So you’re not going to entertain this meeting that she wants to have?” Sarina shakes her head no as she snatches the piece of paper back from Chase.
“I just wanted you to be aware of the notice before I threw it out.” She then holds it over the garbage can, but he grabs it before she can drop it in. “What are you doing?”
“I think we should accept the mee-”
“Are you serious?!? We let Alison get close by believing her trail of words with Bethany. Haven’t we done enough?” Chase nods his head, knowing there was no way he was going back down any road like that ever again.
“I didn’t say we were accepting her apology or allowing her to get close to us, did I?” Sarina crosses her arms.
“You’re agreeing to a meeting with her-”
“I want to hear her intentions said out loud. I want to hear the direction that she is wishing to go. I want to hear why she reached out now. I want to hear what she intends for the future. Not because I’m willing to accept the apology or move forward with her, but because I want to know what we’re facing this time. We set the meeting up, make sure to alert authorities in case it goes south, and see what happens. Can you agree to that?” Sarina understood his approach, but still wasn’t wanting to open those family doors once again.
“I am only going to say yes right now because I want you to be comfortable with the situation. However, if I see anything off, then I’m ending this. Do we have a deal?” Chase nods his head in agreement as he hands her back the piece of paper.
“Figure out where she wants to meet, and when. I’ll make the phone calls afterwards.” Sarina nods her head, accepting, nervously, as she shoves the piece of paper back in her firesuit.
“Not a word of this is spoken to Lindsa-”
“Only if her life depends on it. If anything happens to her, that baby, or Ryan, we’ll have some sisters who will throttle our asses.” Sarina lets out a sigh, nodding her head as there was no denying that. As it was, she had heard enough from Emma already.