Friday, August 3 – Watkins Glen International
“Ugh, why is it raining?” Sarina lets out as she grabs a snack from the fridge before flopping down on the couch.
“Wet air rises, cools, and water vapor forms those things called clouds,” Chase starts as he glances over with a small smirk on his face. “When those clouds get large and heavy enough due to tiny particles of dust or pollen swept up high in the atmosphe-“
“I don’t need the science behind it, jackass!” He then laughs as she chucks a pillow at him. “But seriously, though, why does it have to rain today and now? Why not later?”
“So you would rather race in the rain?” She then lets out a sigh as that wasn’t the best solution, either.
“I was third in practice. Now I have to start 18th today. Do you see my point?” Chase nods his head.
“More practice for you in passing as you’ll have to make your way to the front now…” She then chucks another pillow at him. “What? You said this was practice for Canada?”
“Do you want to just come out and ask for your ass kicking instead?” He then sticks his tongue out.
“You have no more pillows…” She then glances around the couch as she smirks.
“But I do have a fist, and it’ll come over to your side of the room….” He just laughs as he resets the game he was playing. “Geez, maybe I should just go see Christopher. He may be better company than you’re being right now.”
“Oh really?” She nods her head as he sets down the controller. “Yeah, well, there’s one thing that he won’t do that I know you love to do during a nice, long rain delay to relax.” He then walks over, planting a kiss on her lips. “Now is the rain so bad after all?”
“Maybe we could make use of our time…” She then wraps an arm around him, pulling him back close as she locks her lips with his.
It felt weird to be sitting on a pit box with strangers, but it was his norm for when she raced so he wasn’t going to do otherwise. All he hoped was the day went smoothly, and she made her way to the front.
The K&N race started off well for her as she made her way through the field, running third by the 15th lap. However, a bit of confusion over the radio in whether to pit at the mid-race break or not, resulting in staying out, ultimately cost her as she’d pit outside of the window later in the event. Per NASCAR rules, that was a one-lap penalty.
She was never able to make up the lap either, ultimately finishing the race in 21st.
“Remind me to read the rulebook if I ever want to run one of these races ever again,” she tells him as they leave pit road together after the race.
“But did you have fun and learn how to turn left and right?” He questions and she glances over with a nod. “That’s all that matters then.” He then wraps an arm around her as they head back through the garage area.
“You’re an oddly cheery mood this weekend…” He then shrugs his shoulders.
“Therapy is going well, worries about Alison is off my back, and I feel like for the first time since everything, I’m really moving forward with my life. Besides, I also have a good feeling for this weekend…” She then smiles as she clutches his hand.
“Here’s to you having a better race than I did then.”
Saturday, August 4 – Watkins Glen International
Chase makes his way into the garage area, leaning back against the toolbox as he glances over at Josh.
“What are you doing?” Chase questions as Josh glances over a touch.
“Reading some posts on twitter,” Josh answers as Chase was now surprised.
“Aren’t you supposed to be working?” Josh shrugs his shoulders, passing over the notebook, before looking back to his phone. “Okay, fair.” Chase then sets the notebook back down. “What are you reading on twitter?”
“Who gave you the right to ask 20 thousand questions?” Chase chuckles as he keeps his eyes on the car chief. “Have you seen the whole hashtag debate?”
“Charina or Sarell? Sarina showed me that. Did you vote?” Josh nods his head.
“I obviously picked Sarell….” Chase then gives him a fake punch as Josh laughs. “But seriously, who believes that Sarina and Christopher should get together over you and her? Did these people miss the fact that you’re engaged and planning a wedding?”
“It’s the same people who have the fascination that I should be with Erin.” Josh then looks over shocked.
“As in Erin Blaney?” Chase slowly nods his head yes. “Okay, actually, you guys sort of were cute together at the banque-”
“Seriously? You’re not helping!” Josh lets out a sigh as he looks back to his phone.
“Do you even care about all of this, though?” Chase shakes his head no.
“They can say what they want – the more power to them. All that matters to me is the commitment that Sarina and I have to each other. If everybody can’t understand that I’m just friends with Erin as she’s just friends with Christopher, well, oh well.” He then gives the car chief a pat on the shoulder. “Now, I have work to do, and I think you do too…”
“I think so, and for the record, I voted Charina.” Chase gives him a small high-five before walking over to the car, set for the first practice.
Climbing out of the car after the pair of the practices, a smile could be seen from Chase’s face from a mile away. The ‘ol No. 9 Chevrolet was working as he wanted, and that showed with him leading the final practice session.
After breaking down what Alan needed him to do, he made the quick trip back to the motorcoach, knowing they had a bit of time before qualifying later on that afternoon.
He walks inside, surprised to see Sarina sitting at the small table in the kitchen with a photo album before. He quietly makes his way in, not wanting to disturb her concentration, as he grabs a drink from the fridge before sitting down.
“Nice job on the practice charts,” she says, giving him a quick kiss, before looking back at the photos. The comment had went right over his head as his eyes were now focused on the images before him, as well. He recognized them without a doubt, smiling at some of the memories.
“Why are you looking at my baby album?” He questions, knowing that sounded odd as it came out of his mouth but he was curious. He remembered when it first surfaced at the house as she wanted to see the photos of him after they had looked through the images that were given to her in the toy box. It now surprised him to see it in the motorcoach.
“I’ve got a lot on my mind, and seeing some of these gives me a little peace.” He then brushes a strand of hair off of her face. “We’ve talked about my future as a mother and there’s decisions to be mad-”
“….which you can take whatever time you need making, and do when you feel is right. Just because a doctor told you that you can’t carry a baby full term and need to explore options doesn’t mean you need to do that right away. It’s a big decision, Sarina. It’s something that we both actually need to explore all the options, talk about, and see what we want to do for us.” She nods her head, remembering the discussion they had shortly after the news and the fact that he added then he’d support her no matter what.
“I know, and I remember that, Chase. However, I can’t help but still be stuck on looking at those options. It broke my heart to lose the baby in January even though I had no idea I was pregnant. It broke my heart to learn that I can’t carry a baby full term if I wanted to one day. But looking at these options, it makes that pain easier to handle because I know I’m totally not ripped at the chance of doing something that mostly every other female can do in this life.” Chase rubs her shoulders.
“I understand….” He could see where she was coming from – same way he used certain things to help cope with everything Alison had done before. “You can’t avoid the pain forever, though.”
“I know, but dealing with it slowly rather than taking everything at once makes it easier for me.” She then glances back at the photos. “Those options make me feel a lot of things, Then when that becomes too much, trying to figure out what to buy for Lindsay or Emma can offer relief. The other thing is looking back at baby photos, whether you or me, and thinking happy thoughts about the situation. I don’t know if it’s strange or weird, but it helps me.”
“I’m not going to judge you, because we all deal with things in our own way. If this helps you, then hey, go ahead and stare at little me.” She then flips through a couple more pages.
“Your dad wasn’t the first person to hold you after your mom gave birth, right?” Chase nods his head as he looks over the photos.
“Dad gave that opportunity to Casey.” She then looks over at him, slightly confused.
“Every parent dreams of that moment of holding their child for the first time, but yet he offered you to your cousin?”
“At that time, they knew Casey was dying. However, the hope and happiness of mom being pregnant with me gave the family something to hold onto. He was happy for my parents, too. So when it came time for that day, he came to the hospital to meet me, and he followed my dad down to the room where they weigh you. Dad said in watching someone lose everything, you want to give them something to hold onto, a piece of happiness. That’s why he did it, and he said it paid off as soon as he saw Casey’s eyes light right up.”
“So he has no regrets over the decision?” Chase shakes his head no.
“That happiness that he saw from Casey was worth every part of why he did it. The weeks after, he would go over to see Casey and Casey would always ask how I was doing. He brought me a couple times, too. That was something that they could share in happiness, along with other stories and stuff, and just for a moment of time let go of what was happening.” She then smiles as she looks back at the photos, seeing one of them of Casey holding him.
“That’s why the car means so much to you for Darlington…..”
“There’s a bond there that I can’t describe because for me, I don’t remember those moments or feelings, but yet I feel connected when people tell me.” He then pauses, remembering the one conversation that happened last year. “And I know he’s watching over me, Ernie, everyone.”
“I always feel that my dad is with me, no matter what anyone else may say. Sometimes I think I feel him, too, or maybe I catch a glimpse of a butterfly or a ray of sunshine and it makes me think of him. I don’t want to lose that memory, either….” He then reaches over, squeezing her hand a little with a small smile.
“You won’t, because he’ll always be someone that we talk about together, share stories about, and tell our children one day.” She then looks at him a little surprised.
“Children? Wait a second, here. We are talking about possibly having problems surrounding having a child, and you just said children.” He nods his head, knowing what he said exactly.
“We have options, and we’re going to find what exactly works for us, and we’re going to have the child, or children that we want to have. Remember the daydream I told you about?” She nods her head as that was a discussion she’d never forget, either.
“A boy and a girl….”
“We’re going to live out every fantasy that we’ve dreamed of. The world is ours, and we can do whatever we want.” He then leans in and kisses her lips. “First, though, I need to go win the pole.”
“Please say pole…” Sarina says as she stands watching Chase come by to complete his lap.
“Third,” Alan replies instead, earning a disgruntle sign from Sarina. “Tracker looked good until the back end of the course. He was close…” She lets out a sigh as she sits down on the wall.
“That just stinks. I mean, it’s great to be starting up front, but to be oh so close and miss it by oh so much…” Alan nods his head in agreement.
“The worst part is he doesn’t slip up in turn 11 and we probably would’ve beaten Denny.” She just shakes her head in disgust.
“Of course it’s Denny winning the pole and not Kyle, too.” Alan glances over at her.
“Are you still mad over Martinsville?” She gives him a surprised look in response.
“Aren’t you? I mean, it’s one thing to do what he did, but it’s another to act like he did afterwards. Those actions aren’t to be forgotten, Alan.”
“I was over it once Chase got his sweet revenge at Phoenix…” Sarina smiles as that was a well-played moment indeed. “Listen, who cares if he starts in front of us tomorrow. All that matters is whose leading on the last lap.” She nods her head in agreement.
Sunday, August 5 – Watkins Glen International
Chase walks over to the guys following driver introductions, giving them each a quick fist-pound.
“Ready to go?” He questions and they all nod their head in response.
“Remember what I said, right?” Nick reminds Chase, catching his attention. “We get in trouble for removing pit equipment, we don’t get in trouble for moving people. Alan tells you to go, you ju-”
“Hit the gas pedal and get outta there as you’ll get your ass outta the way.” Nick nods his head, glad the pre-race discussion had set in.
“I just don’t want us losing valuable time because you’re worried about me.” Chase places a hand on his shoulder.
“I know you’re a tough guy and can handle it….” He then glances down a couple other guys. “Unlike Jared and those fools.” Nick laughs as Chase walks away from them.
He goes and puts an arm around Sarina, placing a light kiss on her cheek.
“Here goes nothing, right?” She replies, as she leans her head against his chest. “Do your thing today and everything should work out just fine.”
“That’s the plan…” He then gives her another quick kiss, before they get set to stand for the national anthem.