The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 149: A Rainy Opportunity

Friday, November 30 – Pennsacola, Florida – 5 Flags Speedway

Sarina stood on pit road, taking a deep breath as her fingers found their way back up to the necklace. She didn’t know whether it was her pregnancy, knowing Chase was in unfamiliar territory, or the prestige of the Snowball Derby, but something had her more nervous than normal and the only comfort was clutching the necklace.

Perhaps it was the fact that they were going out later in qualifying than they wanted. Marcus had drawn then 37th at the qualifying party draw, which certainly wasn’t what they wanted as it was best to be earlier in the order. Now with the supposed dew of Florida around, it made putting down the lap they wanted harder.

Sarina kept her eyes focused on the No. 18, rather than even glancing towards the stop watch that Marcus clutched in his hand. However, a simple nod afterwards and she knew the lap he had put down was good enough to set them up right.

Once all the cars had gone, they were officially in the show, set to start eighth on Sunday afternoon. More importantly, there was no b-main in their future.

With qualifying in the books, the No. 18 Late Model was loaded back in the KBM hauler, with the team gathered around in the lounge to discuss.

“To be honest, I think the set-up was closer than our lap showed,” Chase comments, earning a nod from Marcus.

“We already knew we’d be off due to where we drew anyway,” Marcus replies, remembering their discussion on Wednesday night. Chase still shook his head at getting caught red-handed with his phone texting Marcus at the birthday party.

“But I also feel the car was closer, too. I could’ve probably gotten you a little more, maybe enough for top-five, if I drove it in a little harder. I was worried it wasn’t going to rotate the middle, though.” Marcus understood that, based upon their discussions after practice. “That said, we had nothing for Harrison. He’s fast as hell right off the drop of the run.”

“But can he sustain for the full length?” Chase shrugs his shoulders as he hadn’t gotten a chance to watch Harrison in practice or know the game plan they were following.

“Chris Wimmer isn’t stupid.” Marcus knew that, as he had lost his share of races to that team in the past.

“Oh I know that obviously they’d be focusing on both, but the set-up at the end of the day determines the answer.” Chase’s phone then goes off as he pulls it out of his pocket.

“I told Kyle not to worry….” He then easily answers the phone call, knowing he couldn’t ignore the boss – not like he’d ignore Kyle anyway. “We’ve got it under contro-”

“Alison was by the house earlier today,” Kyle interrupts, causing Chase to freeze immediately. “She was here between 10 and 12 as she wanted to see me. She had a simple message – don’t be messing with my boy’s schedule or you’re going to receive consequences. She then left before I could even do anything.”

“The main thing is you’re okay….right?” Chase had to wonder about that given the delay in Kyle making this phone call.

“Absolutely. She threatened and had the weapon of choice, but didn’t use it. Essentially, it was all about delivering the message.” Chase takes a deep breath, knowing that had been Alison’s mark. She was the queen of delivering you messages and proving she could do what she wanted whenever. Then when she chose, she would strike and you wouldn’t be able to prevent it.

“She was here this afternoon and left a baby rattle by the trailer during the second practice. Since everybody was focused on the car and on-track action, she wasn’t spotted. I’m glad you’re okay, and I’m sorry I brought yo-”

“I accept this chaos when I kept Sarina as my driver despite every warning dished out to me from her when everything began. I won’t break that promise even to you – I am willing to do whatever it takes. I just wanted to let you know so you’re aware, but didn’t call earlier as I know you were focused on the Derby.” Chase lets out a sigh, understanding the delay, but still not totally satisfied.

“Can you please forget about focus precaution next time and give me a damn call? I’d rather know then not know and something happen. I hope you understand that.”

“Perfectly clear. I’ll let you go but just remember that I believe in each of you guys, and you better get the job done.”

“That’s the goal. Thanks for calling, boss.”

“No problem. Talk to you later. Bye Chase.”

“Bye Kyle.” Chase hangs up as he lets out a sigh, only to be met by shaking heads courtesy of others in the room.

“I want to act surprised, but I can’t honestly say that I am after what she did to me,” Marcus comments, remembering that experience after the late model race.

“The only problem is she’s gotten worse since then which makes me more relieved that Kyle is okay,” Chase adds. “She killed a doctor, and I’m pretty sure she was behind Brittney Teals’ death.” Marcus’ jaw slowly drops. “Evidence is there to prove both.”

“You’re both being as careful as you can be, right?” Chase and Sarina nod their heads. “Well, I hope they find her soon and I hope you both stay safe – especially you, sweetheart.” Sarina could only think back to the note that she was left shortly after revealing her pregnancy.

“I don’t think you need to worry about this little one as babies are a touchy subject for her,” Sarina offers, rubbing her stomach as she does so. “But don’t worry, I am being careful and I will do whatever I need to so I can protect this baby. That’s not a threat; that’s a promise.”

Saturday, December 1 – Pennsacola, Florida

Sarina looks out the window, watching the rain drops continue to fall down. She takes a small glance back at her bag, knowing what laid inside, before looking back out the window.

“What has you feeling down?” Marcus questions as he walks over, sitting beside her.

With the rain continuing to fall and hold water everywhere, Marcus and the guys had met up with Chase and Sarina at the hotel before going out to breakfast. Now, everybody was back in their room, with some of the guys enjoying a couple games together.

“Did you seriously lose already?” She asks, knowing that he had been playing Monopoly with everyone else.

“Everybody bought all the properties before I did, and bankrupt me,” Marcus answers with a sigh. “Now, can we get back to my question?” She then lets out a sigh as she looks out the window.

“If it was going to rain all day, I could’ve given Chase his birth-”

“We can leave if you want some time alon-”

“It’s not what you’re thinking!” She then takes a deep breath. “I bought him tickets to the SEC Championship game with Alabama and Georgia.” Marcus froze immediately upon hearing the words.

“Does he know?” Sarina shakes her head no.

“Kyle came over on Tuesday and started talking about the Snowball Derby. I could see his eyes light up immediately and I didn’t want to diminish any thoughts that he had about running this event. I mean, you can already tell how he like being back in a late model, and personally, I wanted to really see him do it so I wasn’t going to spoil that. So instead, I kept the tickets a secret. I thought I could get someone else to go, but I never got a chance. So now, they’re sitting in my bag unused and he has no clue.” Marcus then looks out the same window that had her attention.

“And now with the rain, your spirit is spoiled because you could’ve still gone….” Sarina shrugs her shoulders.

“Is that too much to ask?” Marcus shakes his head no as he puts an arm on her shoulder.

“I think you should tell him about the tickets.” She was now confused as she looks over. “It’s going to rain all day and even if it stops raining, there’s standing water. I got a photo from Harrison and the track is flooded; there’s no way we’re getting anything done today. Instead of sitting around watching a bunch of grown men whine about fake money, I think you should go enjoy the game.” She then looks over to where Chase sat with the crew members. “You still have plenty of time to get to Georgia for the game.”

“Are you sure this is what I should do?” Marcus nods his head as he follows her lead to look at the table.

“They can play games anytime together. A birthday surprise only comes once a year, and I know how much he loves his dawgs and he’d enjoy it. Besides, you both need some time of your own before that little one turns your life upside down.” She then chuckles a little as she looks back at Marcus.

“Alright, fine….” She then stands up and walks over to the group, placing her hands on Chase’s shoulders. “I got something that I want to talk to you about.”

“If Marcus paid you to distract me so I’d lose because I bankrupted him, it’s not goin-” Chase starts, though stops as she drops the two tickets on the table.

“Before everything started about the Derby, I bought these for us to go together – so I could take you,” she starts. “It was supposed to be your big birthday present. I know how much you love your dawgs, and how you wanted to go to a couple games during the off-season. I also know how much you’ve been bragging in how important this game is. It’s raining, nothing is getting done today. How much more fun does a football game sound compared to this?”

“I was just starting to get somewhere, too…..” He then places the deeds and money in the middle of the table. “But you guys can divide this up as I can never pass up a chance to go watch my dawgs win.”

“Good luck with that one,” Brandon Setzer comments with a chuckle as Chase stands up. “Roll tide young man.”

“My dawgs are going to roll the tide all the way to the championship this year,” Chase replies with a grin.

Saturday, December 1 – Georgia

Chase and Sarina walk out of the stadium, holding hands, both adorning Georgia Bulldog jerseys.

“I can’t believe that….” Chase lets out as she looks over at him. “They were doing what they do perfectly, and had everything going their way. And yet there they go throwing it away in the second half.” After leading through the first half, the Bulldogs ultimately lost the game 35 to 28.

“You can’t blame it fully on them,” Sarina offers, earning a confused glance. “The referees made some questionable calls in the second half.” Chase nodded his head in agreement.

“I can’t say that I would’ve called those plays like they did, to be honest, but our game wasn’t where it needed to be. The defense needs to get stronger to match the offense. It sucks that they didn’t get the job done today, but I know they’ll get there. The potential and the players are there.”

“Do you think they’ll make the playoffs?” Chase nodded his head, despite hearing skeptical comments as they left.

“They’ve had a good year and they’ve played well enough that they should be ranked in the top-four. We’ll just have to see.” He then glances over at her. “Regardless, though, I had a great time today.”

“I’m glad that I could give you the birthday present that I intended to.” She then lays her head on his shoulder as he wraps an arm around. “I just hate the game didn’t go like we wanted.”

“Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. I got to spend a day with my sweetheart, and that beats staring at rain or playing monopoly with those guys any day. I love you.”

“I love you, too.” They then share a quick kiss, before climbing in the Tahoe, ready for the drive back to the airport. “Hopefully tomorrow we’re winning.”

“That’s the plan.”

Sunday, December 2 – 5 Flags Speedway – Pennsacola, Florida

Chase leans back against the car, glancing up the grid with a smile. It was going to be a fun afternoon – as long as the car kept co-operating like it was.

“You made it!” He hears Sarina let out, glancing over to see Erik and Christopher walking over. Admittedly, he was confused in seeing both.

“I always come check out this race,” Erik comments as Christopher and Sarina share a quick hug.

“A promise is a promise – even if you’re not driving anymore,” Christopher offers, bringing forth a little more confusion from Chase. “I really don’t get why I came.”

“You wanted to see your bestie,” Sarina says as she leans back against the car with Chase. “I told him that he needed to take a break from all his dirt racing and come check out some late model action again. I was hoping to show him how to get it done. Now, that’ll be your job.”

“We’ve got a good car so we’ll see,” Chase comments as he wraps an arm around her shoulder.

“You should know how good those KBM cars having finished behind them before,” Erik adds as Chase had to chuckle, remembering the several late model races across the province where he raced against Erik. “I just hope there’s no tungsten this time.”

“Actually, I just hope the weight is right in general.” Erik had to let out a sigh, knowing that they’d all ran into issues with technical inspection at one time or another.

“The driver who crosses the finish line first is the winner as you’ve all gone through enough technical inspection before the race to know whose legal,” Christopher starts. “I mean, why would things be different afterwards? I’ve always thought some of Ricky’s DQs are a little crazy.”

“He has a rule book and you have to follow it to the letter – simple as that,” Chase states, remembering the words that Ricky Brooks offered many times in the tech shed.

“I still don’t agree with everything…”

Starting off from the eighth spot, Chase was able to make his way forward in the beginning stages to run third by the first caution at Lap 50. The pit crew then delivered on pit road, getting him out in the lead. He led the first couple laps off the restart, before falling in line in second behind Raphael Lessard.

“Keep bidding your time,” Marcus says over the radio. “Lots of racing left to go here….”

Sarina could only smile in knowing Chase didn’t need the bonus tips like her, as he had been here and done this before. it was about keeping yourself in position through the first 200 laps, before making your charge in the last 100.

By the halfway mark, he was back to fourth as he had also been passed by Jeff Choquette and Harrison Burton. With no caution laps over a span of 75 laps, the officials would throw a competition yellow at Lap 165. The race off pit road would be won by Choquette ahead of Lessard, then Chase, Bubba Pollard, and Harrison.

“Bubba still hasn’t won this race, right?” Erik double checks and Sarina shakes her head no.

“0 wins in 12 chances,” Sarina replies. “It’s like his Daytona curse.” Erik had to nod his head in agreement as he knew Bubba had pretty much won every single other race across the United States.

“Do you guys still talk regularly?” Sarina nods her head, having texted him just a couple weeks ago. He was one of the late model drivers that she had gotten to know and kept in contact with.

“I can understand why Kyle said he wanted to be like him one day…”

Shortly after the restart, Chase dropped back a couple spots to fifth, complaining the car was not completely to his liking, fighting the same tight condition they fought in practice. Despite not being totally happy, he was able to maintain the position until the caution came out at Lap 225 for Stephen Nasse having a wheel come off.

“Did he just go after his pit crew?” Christopher asks, confused as he looks down towards where Nasse was pitted.

“When you’re paying like 5k to have a NASCAR pit crew come out for your late model operation for one race and they leave a wheel loose, I’d be mad too,” Sarina comments. “I’d be sharing my opinion with them so they clearly knew how I felt about it.”

“That may be crossing the line a little,” Erik offers and Sarina just shakes her head no.

Under the caution, Marcus made the decision to leave Chase on the track with most of the leaders.

“Harrison is the only one ahead of you to pit,” Marcus informs him after the round of stops. “The 12 has no more fresh tires on pit road. I still think there’s going to be more cautions and I’d rather you have fresh tires late.”

“10-4 I agree as the speed difference is noticeable,” Chase replies, having dealt with his fair share of the rough Florida pavement in the past. “I’ve been just riding here lately. I can handle the handling issue no problem, but keep in mind for final round of adjustments.”

“10-4. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing a great job.”

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 148: Most Popular Driver Award

“I try to be me. If people like that, I thank them for their support. If they don’t, that’s fine too.” – Chase Elliott

Thursday, November 29 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Chase walks back over to the table, taking his seat once again. He had done this part of the banquet – gone up and spoke about finishing sixth in points, and now it was time to relax the rest of the night.

As he had been walking through the room, he passed a glance over at Kyle and Samantha, still thinking about what Sarina had told him just before the banquet. He then takes his phone out, knowing the message needed to be sent. He selected both of them, before taking a deep breath as he began to type out what he wanted to say.

Sarina told me the news. My heart is broken for you, and thoughts are with you both. Through everything, you guys have been there for Sarina and I. You stood by our side when we were at each other’s throats, and you helped us find our way back to each other. You gave Sarina all the tools to succeed the past two years. You’ve shown us both support through everything that we’ve had to deal with. Most importantly, I don’t think we would’ve gotten through January without you both.

So anything you need – whether a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to, someone who fully understands your pain, or even someone to keep an eye on Brexton one night so you can have some time to yourselves, just call me. Whatever you need, I’m here for both of you.

Don’t worry about the Snowball Derby this weekend. I’ll take care of everything on that front from you, from my guys to Raphael’s guys. We’ll go and put together the performance you and your team are deserving of, and that’s getting to victory lane.

“Are you okay?” Sarina asks as she glances over to see him typing out the message.

“Yeah,” he answers as he clicks send, before placing his phone back in his pocket. “I sent a message to Kyle and Sam, offering my support.” He then wraps an arm around her shoulders. “Are you okay?”

“As long as I have you, absolutely.” She then looks over, kissing his lips. They both then focus back on stage, watching the introduction for the Most Popular Driver Award. “Are you ready for your moment in the spotlight?”

“I’ll laugh if everybody assumes I am winning this award and someone else does.” She just rolls her eyes as she glances over at him.

“I’m sorry but I can tell you right now that’s not happening.” They then watch Dale come out on stage as Sarina shakes her head. “I still can’t believe sometimes that I am going to driving for Dale and Kelley next season.”

“I still remember Dale giving us the third degree when you showed up with me at Hendrick Motorsports that day.” She chuckles, remembering the line of questions offered by Dale combined with Jimmie’s teasing.

“I still can’t believe that I froze a little when Kasey walked over.” Chase had to chuckle in response, still remembering that day perfectly. The pair focused in on the ceremony as Dale talked about the history of the award, and smoothly let that lead him into introducing the winner. “I told you. Nobody can deny the charm of my Georgia peach.”

“Let’s hope I don’t screw this up….” Chase then stands up, accepting the hugs and quick congratulatory messages from various crew members at the table before heading to the stage.

Chase stood there, initially posing with the trophy in front of the NASCAR Awards banner, followed by a series of photos with the white background.

“That’s perfect,” the photographer says after taking a series of images. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Chase replies as he walks over to where Sarina stood.

“I like how they designed the trophy,” Sarina comments, taking in the full image. It was nice in having the appearance of someone offering a helping hand to someone on top. “Now, do you believe what everyone was saying?”

“It’s soaking in nicely…” She then leans in and snags a quick kiss.

“I like what you said up there about legacy, by the way. It is nice to see the Elliott tradition continue.” He then reaches out and grabs her hand.

“It also continues with you, as well, and for the right reasons as you’ve worked hard to do what you can for the fans as I told you.” She smiles, nodding her head in approval. His speech on Wednesday was slowly beginning to soak in more.

“I just realized that you are the first female winner of the award, and obviously first couple to share the award in one season,” the photographer interrupts, catching their attention. “When you receive your award next weekend Sarina, we’ll have to do some photos of you both together with them.” Sarina and Chase nod their head in agreement.

“Speaking of next week, I need you to wear your tan colored suit that you wore yesterday,” Sarina says, catching Chase’s attention.

“I was just going to wear a black tuxedo as I am simply your esco-” He starts and she shakes her head no.

“It won’t go with my brown dress. Besides, the pink looks amazing on you.” He was still stuck on her first comment.

“So your dress is brown? Do I get any clue as to what it looks like?” She shakes her head no with a grin. “I can’t see your wedding dress, and I can’t see your banquet dress. Do you realize this is torture?”

“It’ll be worth it, trust me.” She then gives him a kiss, before walking away so he could focus on his media availability.

Friday, November 30 – Penscola, Florida – 5 Flags Speedway

Chase and Sarina make their way through the infield, making their way out to pit road where the No. 18 team was set-up.

“Marcus…” Sarina says as she walks over, wrapping her arms around the crew chief to give him a hug.

“Sarina…” Marcus replies as he easily accepts the hug from her. He then takes a step back, giving her a glance over. “You look absolutely amazing today.” She then takes a glance at herself.

“I’m just wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans. What’s special about that?” He could only smile as he thought about the entire 2017 season spent with her and everything he watched her and Chase go through together.

“For being about halfway through your pregnancy, I have to compliment the fact that you look great. It seems the pregnancy is giving you a good look, and you’re starting to show a little.” She nods her head, hands finding their way to her stomach as they had plenty of times over the past couple of weeks.

“The baby is certainly growing, I can’t deny that. I’ve even began to feel the kicks a little.” Marcus’ jaw drops surprised as she simply nods her head to emphasize what she said.

“I was really looking forward to working with you again before you moved on, but…” Marcus then looks over at Chase. “I can’t deny the chance to work with this superstar.”

“Kyle thinks that you guys should gel together well with your attitudes, and I have to agree. Oh, and Chase is getting his dad to spot for him instead of Tony.” Marcus admittedly wasn’t surprised.

“Just like old times – back in a late model with your dad spotting.” Chase nods his head with a smile. “Should I call Ricky over here for you?” Chase chuckles, as he glances down pit road to where Ricky Turner was working with Chase Purdy.

“They have a good thing going,” Chase comments before focusing on his eyes back on Marcus. “But given the equipment that KBM has, along with your talent on the pit box, I have a feeling we’re going to do well this weekend.”

“I like your thinking,” Marcus replies as he grabs his notebook off of the pit stand. “Raphael ran about 20 laps in each session in his car yesterday and found some things out. Combined with past years here, I figured it’d give us somewhere to start today.” Chase nods his head in agreement. “We also know that we’re good to go starting off as he shook down the car with five laps in the second session, and was already ranked top-15.”

“Seriously?” Marcus nods his head.

“He was just supposed to be taking it easy, making sure nothing was dragging, and he said it came to him with ease.” Marcus then looks over to where the car was sitting on pit road. “We don’t mess around when we build cars for the Snowball Derby, and I was making sure this was special for her.”  Chase then looks over at Sarina stood beside him.

“Well then it looks like I owe you, her, and our baby something special this weekend. I am going to get ready..” Marcus and Sarina easily accept as Chase heads up into the KBM hauler with bag in hand.

“Are you going to be able to handle not being in a car down here this weekend?” Sarina then looks over a little surprised.

“This is one race that I absolutely hate to miss, but there’s other important things,” Sarina replies, her hands still resting on her stomach. “I want to do everything that I can for this baby, Marcus. I have fallen so in love with him or her already, and I can’t wait till the first day that I get to hold the baby in my hands, watch him or her clutch my finger.”  Marcus lets out a sigh.

“I still remember sitting in the trailer and we were talking about motherhood and babies. You had so many questions about your life moving forward and where this relationship would take you. I remember you even telling me how you didn’t know how much you wanted that. Do you remember what I told you?” Sarina smiles, nodding her head. “I guess that I was right after all, as motherhood is certainly a good look for you. That said, I expect you to be kicking ass next year in the XFINITY Series while raising that baby.”

“Oh trust me, I am not going to hold back a single inch on track.”

Over the next three hours, there were a pair of practices for the Snowball Derby scheduled, with Marcus electing to take a different approach to both of them.

He focused on getting Chase comfortable in the car for the opening session, which didn’t take much work at all. They then did a total of 16 laps, making mock qualifying runs so they’d have a game plan for later on that night.

“I’d rather we know what we have for qualifying so we know that we’ll be able to make the show and get a decent starting spot,” Marcus told him beforehand. “If we’re struggling, then we’ll start off the second session that way. Though if we’re good to go, we can switch to race runs.”

The focus on qualifying paid off and showed the potential both driver and crew chief wanted with them ending the session ranked eighth quickest.

As per the plan, Marcus switched over to race trim for the second session with a focus on making sure the handling was where they needed it to be. They’d only get 14 laps in with the time allotted on the schedule, ending the session ranked 13th.

“It’s tight on corner entry and through the middle,” Chase explained afterwards. “It was better when we ended the session compared to the beginning and this morning, but it’s still there. I just don’t feel like I can carry the speed through there necessary to get the number we want.”

“You know how much the tires fall off during the race,” Marcus starts, earning a nod in approval from Chase. “As long as you are still consistently fast at the end of a run compared to the beginning and the handling isn’t too bad, I’d say that we’re going to be fine.” Chase crosses his arms as he glances back towards the car as the crew guys work on it.

“I just worry about being tight and how much I’ll wear the left front tire out fighting that. I’d rather be loose than tight as I can compensate.” Marcus nods his head in approval.

“Knowing what the adjustments did today, we are heading in the right direction. We just need to perfect on that tomor-”

“Have you seen the forecast? It looks like a monsoon is going to come through Florida tomorrow.” Marcus lets out a sigh as he had been trying to forget that, hoping something changed. However, seeing a 90% chance of rain wasn’t promising.

“I hope Tom Bryant is smart this year. I don’t want to be stuck here till 4am because he decided to throw the green at midnight.” Chase had to chuckle, remembering that year at the Snowball Derby.

“I woke up that morning and said to Ricky that it was going to rain all day and we should just relax and not worry about everything since Tom would probably re-schedule to tomorrow. I couldn’t believe he kept waiting it out and trying to dry the track, and I even said to him how do you expect to have any fans here? But hey, the fans stuck around and we went racing. The best part was Sarina won.” Marcus had to chuckle in response.

“The only good thing is Sunday’s forecast looks better.” Chase rolls his eyes, having seen mixed reactions on that virtue of the different models he looked at.

“Why is there a baby rattle here?” Raphael questions, causing everybody to look over at their KBM teammate confused. “Anybody lose a rattle?” A slow series of head shakes respond back to the driver.

“A fan probably dropped it,” his crew chief Brandon Setzer comments as he walks around the front of the car. “Just thro-”

“There’s a piece of paper, as well.” That comment peaked Chase’s interest as he walks over, with Marcus and Sarina right in toe. “It has your nam-”

“Not surprised,” Chase interrupts, snatching the paper and rattle from his teammate. “Hope you’re taking care of your pregnancy while the boy plays. Perhaps I can have some fun, too.”

“Alison?” Marcus asks, earning a simple nod in return as Sarina handed Chase his phone so he could make the phone call. “Before the weekend, I alerted every single KBM employee that wasn’t aware of her appearance and details. I wasn’t taking any chances.”

“Thank you,” Sarina replies as she watches Chase carefully on the phone, placing her hand on his arm. He simply glances over, leaning in for a light kiss.

“How does she sneak in?” Raphael asks as Sarina shrugs her shoulders while keeping her eyes on Chase.

“That’s the million dollar question that we’ve been asking every single week. If we knew that, then maybe we could catch her and this would be over.”

“Give them some space, Raphael….” Marcus instructs as he leads the young driver away from the pair.

“Are you okay?” Sarina asks once Chase is off the phone, earning a simple nod in return.

“Are you okay?” He questions, earning a simple nod. “They said they had warned track security. They’ll be down there as soon as they can to collect the evidence while questioning track security and running their own search.”

“In other words, the usual bullshit that we’ve heard since the beginning of the year.” Chase lets out a sigh as he pulls her close to him, letting her lean against him.

“It’s going to be okay. She’s not going to get to me, or you, or the baby. We’ve got your guys and they’ll do everything – along with us – to take care of us.” He then looks into her eyes. “Just promise me you’ll be careful.”

“Absolutely.” She then kisses his lips, before watching him walk away to catch back up with Brandon, Marcus and Raphael to discuss their plan for qualifying.

Standing by the trailer, she takes a deep breath, letting her fingers clutch around the snowball that hung around her neck.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 147: Birthday Surprise

Thursday, November 29 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Sarina walks back into the room, earning glances from everybody as she walks by them. A couple jaws even dropped, scanning every inch as she makes her way over to where Chase was sitting.

“To the birthday boy goes the spoils,” she whispers in his ear. “I told you it’d be worth your while. Keep behaving tonight, and you can have your special gift later….” He had to smirk as he immediately turns her, kissing her lips immediately.

“I can’t tell you how much I am simply turned on by this, and how I just want to blow this party early,” he confesses as she smiles back in return. “Although showing all this to everyon-”

“Let ‘em stare and be jealous. You’re the only one that ever gets to have it all to yourself.” He places his hands on her hips, holding her close to him.

“I’m glad, because you’re amazing….” He then kisses her lips once again.

Through the next couple of hours, the pair continued to mingle with everyone, even kidding as they watched William’s 21st festivities fully commence. A couple more drinks enjoyed by Chase, along with Sarina happily discussing the upcoming wedding and pregnancy certainly made the night enjoyable.

Around 2 o’ clock in the morning, Chase snatches her hand, pulling her close to him, placing a kiss on her lips.

“Follow me,” he whispers in a low, seductive tone in her ear, before tugging on her hand for her to follow. They make their way out of the ballroom, finding the quickest route to the elevator.

“You know, it’s bad custom to leave your birthday party early,” Sarina comments as she enters the elevator.

“It’s not my party anymore sweetheart.” He then presses the button for their floor, watching the door close. He then walks over to her, pinning her in the corner. “It’s also wrong to tease so much without delivering.”

“Patience, my king.” She easily accepts the kiss from him, letting him push himself against her. The pair leave their lips locked together until reaching their floor, getting off the elevator together. It was a short walk down to the room, with the key inserted and door opened in a flash. As soon as they were inside and the door was back closed, the lips were clashing back together once again. Keeping her pinned in the small corner by the doorway, Chase then reaches around, slowly undoing the zipper on the dress.

“I’m glad you chose such a light material after all.” He then lifts the dress off, tossing it on the back of the couch not far from them. “Have I told you that you’re sexy lately?” She then begins undoing each of the buttons on his pink shirt.

“I can’t argue with how handsome you looked today.” His eyes immediately focus on the black bra she was wearing underneath, his tongue tugging at the shoulder strap.

“I aim to please you, even on my birthday.” She then undoes the last button, taking off his shirt.

“I can’t say that I am upset about that.” His lips then find their way back to hers, as he reaches around to unclip her bra. “Hence why I am just as excited for tomorrow’s banquet to see you dressed up once again. But first, we need to rid of these clothes for tonight.”

“Are you saying that we need to get a head start on getting ready for tomorrow?” He then slides the straps across her shoulders, followed by down her arms. He finally separates from the kiss once again, leaving a trail along her jaw, followed by down her neck, before lightly sucking on one of her breasts.

“Clyde….” The low moan was the only cue that he needed as sucked a little more, feeling her hands tighten around him more. “Oh man…”

“I could do this all day….” She knew that she wouldn’t complain, but she knew it wouldn’t bring her the satisfaction that she needed.

“There’s something else that I need from you, though..”

“Oh really?” She nods her head. “What’s that?”

“One simple thing…” She then reaches down his dress pants, lightly stroking his cock. “I need you, Clyde.”

“Are you sure that you deserve a party favor tonight?” She nods her head, before running her finger lightly across the tip as she bites the edge of his ear.

“You know you want it just as much…” He then lets out a low moan.

“Damn….” He then looks into her eyes.

“What can I say? You just make me honry, baby.” He just shakes his head, picking her up his arms and carrying her through the hotel room, slowly laying her back on the bed.

“I love you so much….” He then slowly pulls her underwear off, as she works at sliding his dress pants off, letting them drop to the floor. “I love you….”

“I love you, too.” She then wraps her arm around his neck, bringing him down to her so she can kiss his lips once again. “Oh…” She immediately places her hand on her stomach.

“Are you okay?” Every bit of worry ran through his mind immediately as she just looked up with the biggest smirk on her face.

“Place your hand here…” She takes his hand, placing it where she had previously put hers. “Push just a little.” He does as instructed, with a smile immediately forming on his face as he feels the kick against his hand. “I think your baby wanted to come in and say happy birthday, even if a little late.”

“That feels so amazing…” She had to smile back in response as she places her hand beside his. “I can’t believe that feeling.”

“I started feeling some of the movements last week, but wanted to wait to tell you until you could feel it as well. Once I felt one earlier today, I made sure to tell this little one that there had better be another later on just for daddy.” Chase then lays down beside her.

“I just want to lay here and feel that all night.” Sarina chuckles a little as she looks over.

“Oh, so you’re going to forget about pleasing Momma just because baby is everything right now?” He then glances up at her. “I see how it is, Chase.”

“I could never disappoint Momma.” He then brings his lips to hers, kissing them once again. He slowly moves so he’s back on top of her where he was before, slowly inserting himself inside of her. He then begins to rock his hips against hers lightly, moving the full length inside of her.

“Clyde…”

Sarina opens the door to the hotel room, smiling immediately as she looks up and down her best friend’s appearance. Lindsay had chosen a lengthy blue gown, showcasing her ever-growing belly with Baby Blaney due next month. It also helped to hide the flats she was wearing underneath to keep her feet from getting sore.

“You look absolutely stunning!” Sarina lets out as she backs away from the door, letting Lindsay enter the hotel room.

“That gown just suits you perfectly,” Lindsay comments as she notices the black gown that Sarina had chosen for the banquet.

“I just hope it’s not too much….” Lindsay shakes her head immediately.

“You can never go too much when it comes to this banquet,” Samantha states as she walks out of the bathroom, causing both of the girls’ jaws to drop immediately. “Uh oh…”

“I love that shade of green!” Lindsay immediately lets out as she walks over, fully walking around Samantha to take in the appearance.

“Is that a good reaction then?” Lindsay and Sarina both nod their heads in approval.

“That dress suits you perfectly,” Sarina offers. “You look absolutely stunning!”

“It perfectly shows off you best elements,” Lindsay adds as Samantha glances between the ladies before her.

“I’d say the same for both of you as well,” Samantha comments. “That blue dress just highlights that stomach to perfection, Lindsay. And Sarina, the dress is perfect. It fits the appearance for tonight, while not being too over the top as we know you’re not one to do that normally. It’s also not too crazy to overshadow what you’re doing next weekend.” Sarina then glances at herself in the mirror once again, making sure her hair was perfectly back as she wanted.

“I’m his guest tonight so I don’t want to show him up,” Sarina says as Samantha just smiles. she knew the dress that Sarina had picked out for the truck banquet next week with having gone to alterations with her. She knew that they’d defiantly be catching everybody off-guard when she walked out.

“Do I want to know what you’re wearing next week?” Lindsay questions as she hadn’t seen it yet.

“Let’s just say it’s amazing….” Samantha comments with a smile.

“I’m just glad that we ladies get to spend time together,” Sarina says, wrapping her arm around the shoulders of each of them. “It’s also amazing that we get to be pregnant together, too.”

“Yeah…” Samantha then walks away from the pair, sniffing back the couple of tears that threatened to fall.

“Samantha?” Sarina had seen that reaction once before from Samantha, and knew it wasn’t a good thing.

“I found out Monday that Kyle and I lost our baby girl…” Samantha sits on the couch as Sarina and Lindsay immediately walk over, sitting on either side of her, wrapping their arms around her. “We didn’t want to say anything yet. We didn’t want to talk about all during banquet night.”

“Sam…” Sarina clutches her even tighter, leaning her head on Samantha’s shoulder.

“You’re an amazing show of strength to be able to be here all week without showing a single sign,” Lindsay comments. “I also know with the strength that you and Kyle have together that you will be able to move forward with Brexton as a family.” Samantha smiles a little, nodding her head.

“My heart totally breaks for both of you, knowing how much you’ve gone through to get to this point and how badly you both wanted the perfect family.” Sarina then reaches with her hand, clutching Samantha’s. “I want you to know that anything you both need, just let me know. I’m here for you no matter what, anything you need, anything you want, just like you were there for me and Chase. I wouldn’t had been able to move forward without you. I wouldn’t had been able to get the answers that I got without you. I wouldn’t had been able to get to this point of my pregnancy without you. You’ve been there for me through everything, and I want to make sure that I’m here for you.”

“I’m also here for whatever you need as well,” Lindsay adds as Samantha sniffs back the final bit of tears.

“I appreciate it ladies, I really do,” she tells them with a small smile as she glances between them both. “Thank you..” She then wipes the tears away, slowly standing up. “Now, are we ready to have some fun tonight?”

“If you are,” Sarina states as Samantha glances in the mirror, fixing the bit of make-up that had been messed up in the process.

“Let’s go see those handsome men of ours…” Samantha then leads the ladies to the door, as they head out ready for the banquet as much as they could be.

Chase makes his way over to the beginning of the black carpet, stopping dead in his tracks when he sees Sarina and Lindsay heading towards them.

“Damn…..” Chase and Ryan both let out together as they glance at each other a little surprised, before looking back towards the ladies.

“How do we get so spoiled?” Ryan questions as Chase shakes his head.

“I don’t know, but they look beyond amazing,” Chase answers. “Are you sure you don’t want to pop the question already?” Ryan chuckles a little, used to the teasing already.

“Let’s just enjoy your wedding first, okay?” Chase nods his head in agreement. If she looked this amazing dressed for the banquet, what was she going to look like on their wedding day?

“I may faint waiting for her at the altar.” Ryan then looks over surprised.

“Don’t expect me to catch you.” Chase then gives his best friend a playful smack as he takes a couple steps forward.

“You look absolutely amazing,” Chase tells her, kissing her lips, before twirling her around.

“I was worried that I went with the wrong dress at first,” Sarina confesses and Chase shakes his head no.

“No no, this suits you perfectly. Actually, it’s my favorite of all the dresses you’ve worn so far. This is amazing.” She smiles as she looks straight into his eyes, running her hands along the edge of his coat.

“I have to say that I am glad that you didn’t follow protocol and wear black, as the gray just suits you so damn well. It brings out those eyes..” She then leans, sharing a kiss with him.

“Stop smooching and come get your interview done,” a voice interrupts them, as Ryan gives him a tug on the sleeve. Chase then lets out a sigh, slowly letting go of her as he walks over to where Austin Dillon stood for NBC with Ryan.

“Can you believe that your fiancé forgot my man in the possible winners for the Most Popular Driver Award?” Lindsay questions as they listen to the boys with Austin. “I mean, we both know that he’s going to win the award tonight as it’s a done deal, but at least spread some love for my man.”

“For what it’s worth, I think Ryan is the second best man here,” Sarina comments, earning a glance from Lindsay in return.

“Even better than your boss?” Sarina chuckles, nodding her head, as she looks over to where Kyle and Samantha stood together.

With having a chance in between the photos and interviews, Chase walks over to where Sarina stood on the side, wrapping his arms around her shoulders.

“Are you okay?” He asks as she leans back on his arms.

“I am feeling very blessed tonight,” she answers as her hands find their way to her stomach, remembering the heartbreak in Samantha’s voice, as well her own heartbreak from January. “How can someone so heartbroken appear to be so strong and act like nothing is going on?”

“What do you mean?” She then lets out a sigh as her eyes don’t leave Kyle and Samantha.

“Samantha suffered a miscarriage on Monday.” Chase’s jaw drops in shock as his eyes now look over at the couple together.

“That’s why Kyle couldn’t go run the Snowball Derby for you….” Sarina nods her head, remembering Kyle mentioning he had a reason he couldn’t be there without handing over details.

“She told us before we came down for the banquet. I mentioned how it’s great with us three ladies being pregnant together, and she told us.”

“I don’t even know what to say.” Chase remembered how torn up both he and Sarina were in January, and that was being in total surprise without warning. He knew it had to feel 10 times worse with having all their dreams connected to it.

“I told her that I’m there for her no matter what she needs after everything she did for us. But look at them, Chase. How can she just act like everything is perfect?” Chase admittedly was shaking his head in disbelief.

“That’s Samantha. She’s a rock in the midst of crisis, putting everyone first. She and Kyle will be okay.” He then kisses Sarina’s cheek. “Just like we were okay and we found our way through, and now we’re ready to start our new chapter together.”

“It makes me more thankful than ever that things have worked out so well, so far.” She then takes a deep breath, hands continuing to rest on her stomach, a small smile forming as the baby gives her a kick as if to offer reassurance.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 146: Myers Brothers Luncheon

Tuesday, November 27 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Sarina glances over at the monitor, smile marked on her face in seeing images of her baby on the screen. It almost made her want to cry in being able to hear the heartbeat, see that the baby was growing a little more each day inside of her.

“So we’ve decided to not get the paternity results, correct?” Dr. Grayson double checks, earning a nod from both parents. “That’s fine. If you ever do change your mind, please let me know and we can go from there.”

“I still say it’s a girl,” Chase comments, eyes also focused on the small screen that showed the ultrasound images.

“As long as she, or he, are healthy, that’s what matters,” Sarina says as she clutches his hand tightly.

“On that note, we did originally schedule this meeting to also discuss your MSAFP test results,” Dr. Grayson states, catching both of their attention. “I am happy to report that everything came back clean and looks to be right on track as normal, so there should be no surprises in that department. We just need to keep a close eye on how the baby grows, and the location of the baby inside of your uterus and whether concerns arise.”

“Is there anything that you can do if something was to happen?” Chase wonders as Dr. Grayson hands Sarina a cloth to wipe up the stuff on her stomach.

“It depends on how far along she is with her pregnancy at that time, as well as the health of the baby, her health, and the location. There are measures that can be implemented to help if needed, like putting her bed rest. Now I know you’ve been the type to over-concern yourself, so please do not do that to her right now as she doesn’t need to.” Sarina just looks over with a smirk, glad that point was made knowing the direction things would probably go already. She had heard enough comments already from Chase, and even Cindy on Thanksgiving.

“That doesn’t mean you push yourself over the edge….” Sarina just rolls her eyes.

“He is right about that, too. If she’s far enough along and a significant concern arises, we could induce her to have the baby early – or do a c-section. But again, I wouldn’t worry about that as everything is growing normally so far. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the baby co-operates and follows course the rest of the pregnancy.” Chase knew if they’d gotten this far and survived the likes of Talladega, it was meant to be and things were probably set to go full steam ahead. However, he couldn’t help but wonder at times.

“And she is okay to go to Las Vegas and Florida?” Dr. Grayson nods her head in response.

“She is fine with flying until she reaches 36 weeks, or I say otherwise.” Sarina had to chuckle as she could see Chase doing the math already in his head.

“Will you just focus on writing your acceptance speech for Thursday night?” Sarina questions, earning a glance from him. “We both know you’re getting Most Popular Driver.”

“I can’t argue with that,” Dr. Grayson admits as she hands the couple some print-outs. “I know you both are already in love with this baby, so feel free to stare at these images until we see each other again.”

“Thank you for everything, truthfully.” Dr. Grayson looks back over at them.

“You’re welcome, and I hope everything goes according to plan for you both. Have fun at the Snowball.”

Wednesday, November 28 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Sarina focuses on herself in the mirror, fixing the fluff on her shoulder, followed by making sure it crossed her body as it was supposed to. She had just finished getting her hair angled how she wanted, and knew the next step was making sure the dress sat correctly on her body.

She then hears her phone go off once, ignoring it at first as she wanted to make sure she was ready on time. However, after hearing the phone go off another 10 times in a row, she began to wonder as she walked out of the bathroom to where it sat on the dresser. Were they running late? She also knew there were probably going to be other messages throughout the day, as everybody worked out plans for later on that night. With Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson supposedly organizing the bulk of the birthday party, she was a little skeptical.

“You…look…stunning,” Chase slowly comments, having caught the first glimpse of what she was wearing for the Myers Brothers Luncheon. “That color suits you perfectly.”

“Are you sure we’re not running late?” She questions out-loud as she unlocks her phone.

“I was told to be ready for 12 and down in the lobby. We still have 15 minutes.” He then hears his phone go off, walking over to where it sat beside hers on the dresser. “You’re popular today.”

“Congratulations?” He then looks over at puzzled. “I’ve got five text messages saying congratulations, and they’re all from people who knew I was pregnant already…”

“That’s weird, as I have one that seems off, too.” He then shows her the phone so she can read the text message. After a pair of confused glances at each other, they went back to scrolling through the other notifications. “Actually, congratulations is in order my dear.”

“What did you find?” He then holds the phone up, which showed the notification from twitter that NASCAR had sent out. They elected to announce the Truck Series and XFINITY Series Most Popular Driver Award winners prior to the luncheon and tomorrow’s Cup banquet. While Elliot Sadler had gotten the award for XFINITY, it was Sarina taking the award in truck. “Oh wow….”

“Congratulations to Sarina Ott on being the Most Popular Driver. She’s the first female to win the award in NASCAR’s national series history, and brings home the first recognition for Kyle Busch Motorsports.” Her jaw drops a little as she would’ve expected KBM to have at least one with talents like Christopher Bell and Erik Jones through the years. “I’m surprised Kyle hasn’t called you yet, but I guess I get to be the first one to say in person – congratulations.” He then gives her a kiss.

“Thank you….” She then looks back at the notifications once again, replying back to a couple as she stands there in disbelief. “Is it wrong that I don’t even know what to say?” Chase shakes his head no.

“You’ve got a whole week to plan your speech for the banquet.” She had to chuckle a little, as it seemed weird having the truck banquet after the Cup ceremonies.

“But seriously, Chase. A small town girl who was considered an outkast at times, who some people wanted nothing to do with, who continued to alienate people and make mistakes, and admittedly isn’t easy on trust is this year’s most popular driver.” She then looks over at him, disbelief written in her eyes still. “Seriously?”

“I see someone that has inspired a nation. You showed everybody that no matter what happens in your past, you can find a way to overcome that and become the person you’re truly meant to be. You showed everybody the value of strength, perseverance and determination with everything that has been thrown at you. I also see your drive on track to succeed, and the success that you’ve been able to have. You’ve earned this all the wa-”

“Oh come on, Chase. You can’t seriously say that without admitting that there’s got to be some influence on the award being that I’m dating you, going to drive for Dale next year, and I drive for Kyle this year.” Chase takes a deep breath, remembering advice that he was given a couple years back when he won the award in the XFINITY Series.

“I can’t deny that, okay? There’s certainly fans that will vote for you for those factors alone. However, I also see those who are genuinely Sarina Ott fans from the beginning, the late model days, and seeing you as a driver yourself. Do you remember the little girl that you helped at the hall of fame? Do you remember the father we met in Amsterdam who knew nothing about racing, but yet his daughter knew of you and admired your strength? There’s always going to be those who gravitate to you because of who you’re surrounded by. However, there’s also those who like you for who you are, and appreciate every bit of who you are. So when everybody tries to shove those reasons down your throat, just damn well remember those little moments. Remember everything that you’ve done to get here, and remember every person whom you directly affected to get here. You earned this, you deserve it, and we’re going to celebrate it next weekend at your banquet.” She didn’t know what to say in response, surprised he had even remembered those small moments. Certainly they were glued in her mind as they meant something, but for him to remember took it to a whole new level for her.

“Have I mentioned how much I love my Georgia Peach birthday boy lately?” He had to chuckle in response as she leaned over, snatching another kiss. “Thank you for being my rock, and always being here for me.”

“Thank you for being here for me, too.” They then finish getting ready, grabbing their phones and her clutch before heading out of the hotel room. Immediately upon exiting, they spot an envelope on the floor.

“Seriously? I mean, how does she know already what room we’re in?” Chase picks it up, shoving it in his pocket as he walks down the hall. “You’re not going to open it?”

“I’ll alert security that she’s in the building and knows what room we’re in, and they can handle it.” He then waits for her to catch up with him, followed by wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Why  should we mess up our good day?”

“I still like how you wore pink to match my dress.” He then smiles as they reach the elevator to head downstairs. “You look very handsome, sir Elliott.”

“We had to celebrate your accomplishment in a small way, and you look extremely charming, Ms. Ott.” He grabs another kiss, before leading her into the elevator to head downstairs to the luncheon.

For the most part, the luncheon was a pretty dull event in watching their various competitors go up to accept awards, along with Todd Gordon’s Championship Speech. The only thing that caught either of their attention to really watch was William Byron’s rookie of the year speech.

“That’ll be you one day,” Chase comments, as Sarina leans her head against him. “I’ll be sitting here holding our baby as you tell the world how you succeeded at the highest level.”

“It doesn’t hurt the dream,” she admits. “I just hope William knows what he’s in store for later on tonight.” Chase had to chuckle a little, having heard a couple rumors as he glances over at her.

“Has Jeff or Jimmie given you any details yet?” She shakes her head no. “You’re not lying to me, are you?” She shakes her head no once again.

Even though there was no awards for him to accept at the Luncheon this year, he was required to take part in a mandatory media availability to answer questions for the media that wanted to speak with him.

Sarina stood back, watching as she knew it wouldn’t take too long with the focus being on the likes of William and Joey. Though she had to admit she was caught off-guard with various people walking up to congratulate her on receiving the Most Popular Driver Award.

“Maybe there’s hope for me tomorrow yet,” Kyle comments as he stops by, earning a chuckle in response from her. “Oh, I see how it is. I let your fiancé drive your late model and this is how you treat me….”

“We both know that you’re going on a hope and a prayer to win that award tomorrow,” she offers with a smile.

They were almost done when she hears her phone go off, pulling it out of the clutch that she was holding. She smiles as the party details had finally arrived from Jeff in where they were to meet, and at what time. Everybody was supposed to go to dinner as many had sponsor obligated functions to go to, and then meet up at the chosen location at 8pm. There’d be cake and drinks to be had by everybody, with those going past midnight to make sure that the young teammate – William Byron – got some for his 21st tomorrow.

As soon as everybody arrived, it seems the drinks began immediately with everybody and their best friend offering to buy Chase a drink for his birthday. Though in not wanting to deal with too bad of a hangover tomorrow, he was trying to keep it as minimal as possible.

“Since you won’t take my good damn Tequila shots, then maybe I can interest you in something else,” Ryan starts as he walks away from where Chase was standing.

“You could just do the shots yourself,” Chase offers as Ryan shakes his head no. “Okay, maybe we could pass them over to Jimmie.” Jimmie admittedly had to chuckle as he shakes his head no.

“With the travel whirlwind that I’ve been on since Miami, I need to take it slow if I am going to survive this week,” Jimmie admits.

“So that’s why you’re sticking to beer tonight…” Jimmie nods his head in agreement as he places a hand on the glasses.

“But don’t worry because if one birthday boy don’t want them, we have another at the crack of midnight.” Chase laughed as he looked over to where William was hanging out with Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

“He has no idea what he’s in for with you guys. I almost feel bad, but then I remember what you did to me.” Jimmie immediately puts his hands up in the air. “Don’t act innoc-”

“That was Ricky and Kyle who thought it’d be a great idea to do that.” Chase rolls his eyes, but had to chuckle. It was definitely a new experience waking up on the roof. “Answering back birthday wishes on the phone?” Chase was trying to be discrete with his phone in hand, but obviously that hadn’t worked.

“Snowball Derby qualifying draw. Marcus (Richmond) sent me that he pulled 37.” Jimmie looks at him slightly confused. He had heard that Chase was running the event, but didn’t know whether that was a good number or not. “He wanted to pull between 15th and 30th as that’s normally when the track is at its best, but we missed that by a bit.”

“So when you don’t qualify on the pole, you can now blame the crew chief.” Chase smiles a little with a nod of the head. “Have some fun down there. It’s actually fun to see you back in a late model.” Chase couldn’t deny that as the more he thought about it, the more excited he was. Maybe that was influencing his decision to avoid as much trouble as possible these next couple of days before going.

“It’s certainly been a couple years, and it’s always fun going to the Snowball. I was surprised when Kyle asked me, but I wasn’t going to turn him down.” Jimmie admittedly was caught off guard when he saw the announcement, but understood the basis with Sarina’s pregnancy.

“It makes me wonder why Kyle wouldn’t just run himself.” Chase nodded his head in agreement, remembering he had brought that up without much response from Kyle.

“Since I’ve known you, there’s only been one cake that you’ve accepted for your birthday,” Ryan starts as he begins to walk back over towards them finally. “Now it may not be a good as your mom’s classic German Chocolate recipe, but I had to my boy a favor tonight considering I didn’t buy you a gift.”

“Seriously?” Chase questions, as Ryan just shrugs his shoulders.

“Pregnancy has got my mind going crazy,” Ryan admits as Sarina and Lindsay could only smile. Lindsay then reaches over, running her finger along the edge and licking it.

“Damn that’s good,” she lets out, going for another when Ryan smacks her hand.

“Oh my gosh….” Sarina lets out as she had done the same without being noticed.

“They won’t even leave my cake alone long enough for you to light the candles,” Chase comments, as the girls shrug their shoulders.

“I think this baby is all you. I’ve never been one for German chocolate, but damn, that’s good and I want some more.” She then snatches a candle from Ryan, placing it right in the center. “Go ahead and light this so he can blow it out and we can please his baby.”

“I’d rather do this,” Ryan comments, before snatching a good piece, stuffing in Chase’s face as everybody laughs.

“I see how it is….” Chase simply says with a smile. He knew that he’d get Ryan back later. “I guess I could say thank you for the ruined cake.”

“Now will you take the shots to go with the cake?” Chase lets out a sigh, slowly shaking his head no. “Seriously? Where’s the man that I traveled around the world with?”

“Looking out for my lady tonight…” Chase then wraps an arm around Sarina, pulling her close with a kiss. “Besides, Jack tastes a lot better…”

“I can take care of myself if you want to have some fun,” Sarina tells him. “But I will say, this will be worth your while.” He looks over slightly intrigued as she walks away.

“Someone is getting laid tonight!” Ricky lets out from his corner of the room with his glass up in the air.

“You’re just jealous….” Sarina gives him a wink as she leaves the room. She couldn’t wait to see the look on his face when she returned.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 145: “Can you make Chase say yes so I can escape the dog house?”

Monday, November 26 – Mooresville, North Carolina

Sarina takes a deep breath, walking through the doors of the shop.

“Here goes nothing,” she tells herself as she continues to make her way inside, looking left and right as she does. It was a change from the past two years, but it was set to be worth everything for her career moving forward.

Seeing the new faces throughout the shop, she takes another deep breath. She had easily grown close to those when she was in the late model for Chase. It took some time, but she was able to grow the same trusting bond with her team at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Now seeing the various crew members through the shop, she knew it was back to square one once again. Hopefully the lessons learned from those experiences would help make this one easier, but trust was still not something that came to her easily.

After making a stop to see some of the familiar faces, she spent the rest of the day at a relaxed pace. She left herself explore every inch of campus, familiarizing herself with where everything was. She even chuckled at the wax figure of the boss in the lobby, getting a selfie for giggles. She then met up with Mike Davis, who led her through specific departments to introduce her to people. She was introduced to all the executives, followed by the media team and IT team, and a light trip through the shop to be introduced to some of the lead members of the team.

“We’ll further introduce you to more people and who you will be directly working with in the next couple of weeks,” Mike revealed to her as she nodded her head. “We’re going through a small change right now.” Sarina already knew that, with Kevin Meendering leaving to go crew chief for Jimmie Johnson.

“Sort of usual practice with the shifts over at HMS affecting here, right?” She questions, earning a nod of approval from Mike. “Chase warned me about that. He said they’re small, and everybody is smart on both sides so there’s nothing to worry about. He tried to kill some of the nerves this morning.”

“You saw the success that he had here, and I can promise you that he had fun along the way.” She smiles a little, with everybody having repeated that over the last several months.

“No pressure, right?” She then lets out a light chuckle as they walk down the hallway.

“So this is your office…” She then stops and glances inside, actually surprised by the mere size as she looks back towards Mike. “You can go ask Kelley if you don’t believe me.  She feel it’s best to give you the space so you’re comfortable, and that way when you get tons of fan mail or autograph requests, there’s room.” Sarina could understand that as she walked inside the doors.

“This still seems big, though…” She noticed the desk immediately, which had a phone and computer. There were numerous cupboards to put things in as she would wish, too.  Along with that, a long brown table attached which could easily hold anything extra – hence Mike’s comments. She had to smile at the comfortable couch in the corner, too.  “It’s nice, though. Thank you for the tour, and everything.”

“I’m really looking forward to you being a part of the team.” She then takes a seat behind the desk, spinning the chair around once as she smiles. As she came back around, she noticed an envelope tucked underneath the edge. “Oh, Martin Frederich put that in here this morning. He said it came mixed in with some other mail addressed to you.”

“Already getting fan mail on the first day….” She then lets out a sigh as she picks up the envelope.

“I am going to go head down to my office. If you need anything, just come ask.” She nods her head, accepting.

“Thanks once again…” She then runs her finger along the edge of the envelope as he leaves the room, ripping it open.

The piece of paper inside easily slides out as she picks it up, unfolding it. She then froze, recognizing the handwriting right away.

Sarina,

I just wanted to message you and say congratulations on the pregnancy. I figured it’d be mean if I didn’t offer my thoughts for you, so congratulations. I’m still surprised that you raced while pregnant, but that’s your style I guess.

I guess that’s why Rudy was taking extra care of you a couple weeks ago. It also explains why Chase and Alan have had an extra eye on you. I mean, why else would they care about some chick who can’t even win a truck championship driving the best equipment in the garage? Like I said last weekend, I had a gut feeling that you wouldn’t win the championship – same with Justin.

But as I’ve always said, it’s amazing what people will do for you – especially when you’re pregnant.

You’ve been blessed to have not met the same fate that I did while I was pregnant. I could tell the horror story in how I lost my baby, how it was forced upon me with the treatment given. It was why I had to run away and why I needed to do what I had to do.

So how does the guilt feel in knowing it was you and Chase that sent me away and caused that to happen? On top of the guilt of death on the shoulders with the doctor, and the innocent life of Britney, it’s got to taxing. I hope the stress isn’t getting to be too much for you both.

I don’t want the guilt on my shoulders, so you can stop stressing. You’re not on my radar. I may be crazy in your books, and I may be strange, but I know not to mess with an innocent life like a little baby. It’s just too bad that others don’t know that rule.

In exchange, I will say that it drives me to see Chase sooner than later. I hope he can offer – actually, I know he can give me the same gift that he has given you. The taste of those lips, the length of his shaft, and all in between – it’s beyond perfection my dear.I look forward to exploring the feelings that we have for each other in the process, as perhaps it’ll help everybody realize that we’re meant for each other. Like I said, it’s why he gives into my sexual impulses when he sees me.

It also seems that Shelley has remembered some critical consequences that would be available depending on her actions. I’m glad to see that.

Anyways, congratulations once again and I hope your pregnancy goes well so you have something to hold onto while I taste your fiance’s lips, and feel him harden against my simplest touch.

-Alison Reynolds

P.S.: I wonder how the weather is in Bahrain this time of year.

She then takes a deep breath, knowing it was all just words on a page. It was meant to get underneath her skin and bug her, just like Alison had done to Chase for months prior. Taking another deep breath, she had to put every single thought out of her mind.

She debated going to see Kelley, or Mike, or someone else at JR Motorsports about the letter and a warning about future fan mail. However, that didn’t seem like the best introduction for the first day on the job.

She instead, though, took out her phone and sent a text message to Alan.

Hope ur having fun with Jimmie and the guys. Sounds like an awesome experience. Remember to be safe as Alison hinted about the weather there in her letter. Txt me back when you get a chance, thanks.

She then switches to her twitter app, having a chuckle in seeing the conversation between Kasey and Chase about a possible sprint car swap. After changing her twitter name since the 18 had to go now, it was time to have some fun.

SarinaElliott: Hey @kaseykahne, can I get a ride in the sprint car, too?

kaseykahne: @SarinaElliott Absolutely! You and @chaseelliott name the place and time, I’ll have the car there. We can see which is quicker. Nice username, btw. Little early?

chaseelliott: @kaseykahne @SarinaElliott I like the username, btw, and I will be quicker.

Sarina had to chuckle immediately at their comments. She knew she should’ve waited until January to make her username that, but she wasn’t going to change it to something else to change it again in the new year.

SarinaElliott: @kaseykahne January is just to make it official.

SarinaElliott: @chaseelliott @kaseykahne I wouldn’t be so certain about that. I have beaten you before.

kaseykahne: @chaseelliott @SarinaElliott Based on the comments, I say we’re doing this! 

If they could turn around and simply do it right away the next day, Chase was all for it happening. However, he knew that wasn’t possible if they were both going to get a chance so it’d be waiting for the new year.

He also knew that convincing Rick Hendrick, along with the other parties around them, was a whole other challenge together based on contracts and agreements. While it joined other things on the wish list, perhaps they were putting too much into it already.

However it also didn’t hurt to dream, either.

chaseelliott: @kaseykahne @SarinElliott Absolutely! My people will contact your people in the spring.

kaseykahne: @chaseelliott @SarinaElliott I won’t forget. Surprised you didn’t have a baby on board sign for the truck. Congrats, btw.

The congratulatory comments from everybody in the garage still made the happiness come to Chase immediately. In hearing the different ways they were offered, along with advice added, he was beginning to understand what Dale told him about simply enjoying the experience from pregnancy to birth, to the child growing.

It was also nice seeing the continuous congratulations messages as they continued to cover up the other garbage that was left on twitter via the trolls.

He just hoped things continued to go smoothly on all fronts the rest of the pregnancy.

Tuesday, November 27 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Sarina was double checking she had everything that she needed, though stopped to take one look at Kyle Busch.

“So how did this car get fully prepared with no driver in mind anyway?” Sarina questions, before going back through her stuff to make sure it was all there.

Kyle had been there the past hour, continuing to question her and push an idea that he had on her shoulders.

Even with him knowing her pregnancy, the late model shop had fully gone ahead with preparing the No. 18 for the Snowball Derby. Now it was the week of the Derby and the boss didn’t have a driver to take the reigns.

He knew that he could easily do so himself, and was almost set to it, but didn’t feel comfortable in doing so with being so long since his last late model start. Instead, his heart had been telling him that it needed to stay the same frame of mind and he had to go with his gut on something that he had joked about before while down in Pennsacola. Besides, this driver had said something about not wanting to return without a ride behind the wheel.

The project then took him a whirlwind as he made the call to Rick Hendrick, asking for permission to borrow his superstar for the weekend despite the differences in manufacture and issues there. Rick assured him that he was able to sort everything out as necessary, and to go forward with it.

The next thing was arriving at the Elliott household, where he hoped to meet with Chase to discuss things. Instead, he was met with Sarina whom he dumped everything on while she focused on trying to make sure she had everything packed for both her and Chase for the next five days. They were in Las Vegas for the next two, with a trip planned to the Snowball Derby following anyway.

She just didn’t expect to have to be packing a firesuit and helmet in his stuff until Kyle started. However, she couldn’t find herself totally denying the offer as she knew it’d be fun to see him back behind the wheel of a late model once again. She also knew having some fun with that would be a good stress relief after the way his year ended, and the latest round of drama with Alison.

“Rudy was the only person that knew about your pregnancy, recall,” Kyle reminds her.  “I didn’t want to say something to anybody else or that’d throw them off. I just assumed that I’d figure something out. Then it totally slipped my mind with Samantha’s pregnancy and shots and appointments, until they went to load the car up and asked me who was driving. So, what do you think he’ll say?” Sarina glances over at Kyle, taking a deep breath.

“Personally, I hope he says yes,” she reveals as Kyle crosses his arms.

“Can you make Chase say yes so I can escape the dog house?” The front door opens as the words escape his mouth, with Chase entering with bags in hand. He had just gotten back from a recent trip to Walmart to grab the last bits of things that they were missing.

“What am I agreeing to?” Chase questions, looking between the pair confused. “Do I want to know?” The smirks on their faces honestly scared the young man, and with his birthday just around the corner, he could only wonder what they had up their sleeve.

“It’s your plan….” Sarina says before grabbing the bags and taking them to the suitcases.

“Can you please help me?” Kyle questions, earning a shake of the head from Kyle as he lets out a sigh. “You can convince him better than I ca-”

“Can you ask me already?” Chase interrupts as he knew they didn’t have time to go around in circles all day about this.

It took Kyle a while to get the details flowing, but eventually he was revealing everything to Chase. He revealed that they had built the car with the late model shop not having any idea of Sarina’s pregnancy. He revealed that he didn’t have a driver, and he wasn’t really wanting to drive himself. He also explained how he had called Rick and the powers that be, as well.

“The schedule isn’t too bad, either,” Kyle continues as Chase crosses his arms. “You’re going to miss Wednesday and Thursday down there to Las Vegas – which I understand you can’t get out of. If that was possible, we’d both not be going.” Chase had to chuckle a little, as he would prefer to be down in Florida then listening to Joey Logano talk about his championship. “You will miss Thursday practice, but you will get two sessions on Friday before qualifying. Considering my guys know what we’re doing, they’ll have the car close on set-up for you anyway. I also have Brandon Setzer shaking down the car on Thursday. So Chase Elliott, what do you say? How would you like to drive for KBM for a single race, the Snowball Derby?”

“That’s a very tempting offer….” Chase had to admit as he takes a deep breath, thinking it over. There were positives and negatives to the coin in his mind. It was a great offer, and KBM always had some of the best equipment when it came to Late Model racing. However, he hadn’t been in a late model in a couple years now and would have limited practice compared to everybody else. Could he put in the effort that Kyle and team deserved?

“Can I offer my thoughts?” Sarina questions, catching a glance from Chase. “Do you remember being at the Snowball Derby four years ago?” Chase nods his head.

“I could never forget that….” Sarina smiles, nodding her head in agreement. It was that weekend they decided to take their relationship to the next level, attending both pre-race parties together. it was also when discussions began about her driving for him the year following. Oh, and Chase was able to take home the victory that weekend. “Although, I know the second year down there was more special for you….”

“I can’t complain with victory lane, now can I?” Chase shakes his head no. “And then there was last year. Certainly, I didn’t get the results that I wanted, but I didn’t care. The night before, the special date night with you was everything.” She then reaches up and places her fingers around the snowball that hung from her neck. “I still remember you placing this around my neck. I remember you telling me how much it meant, and why you had gotten a snowball.”

“I also remember the scrapbook and all the thought that you put into that….” She nods her head once again, as the gifts for their third anniversary together were certainly amazing. It already had her scared as to what she was going to do for their fourth anniversary.

“The Snowball Derby is truly where everything started for us. That’s our anniversary weekend. Through the years, there’s always been one of us running that race vying for the most important trophy in short track racing. It’s essentially tradition.” She then walks over, placing his hand on her stomach. “I can’t do it this year, but you can. We talked about it’d be fun one day to see you in one of Kyle’s cars jokingly, and now here’s the chance. Do it for the fun, do it for tradition, and go win that damn race for me and your baby.”

“Alright, I’ll do it – just for you.” He then leans in and kisses her lips as Kyle lets out a fist pump in the air. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” She then leans in for another kiss. “And luckily for you, I was able to get everything packed. So we can go straight to the airport after the doctor’s appointment.”

“Is everything okay?” Kyle wonders, earning a nod from the couple as Chase wraps an arm around her.

“It’s just to check on the baby and see how she, or he, are growing, boss,” Chase assures him as Kyle chuckles. “That’s going to take getting used to.”

“Just wait until the world finds out what we’re doing.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 144: Ford EcoBoost 400

Saturday, November 17 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

“I still can’t believe that Tyler was able to find what he needed at the end,” Sarina comments as they walk back to the motorcoach.

After Chase got done final practice, the two had made their way out to pit road for the XFINITY Series race, sitting up on the No. 9 pit box with Dave Elenz. Sarina wanted to begin preparations for next year immediately after coming up short last night, and that meant observing her future team in action.

While Cole Custer dominated the race, it was Tyler Reddick finding the extra groove and speed when it mattered at the end to make the pass, and win the race for the championship.

“The high line favors those who like to take chances, and are willing to ride the cushion,” Chase starts, remembering the discussion he had with Alan and Jimmie about that groove one day. “Past examples would include Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell. Tyler is from the first category as he has taken chances all year long. Sometimes it has worked out, and other times it hasn’t. Tonight he took a good chance.”

“He knew the car that Dave had put underneath him,” Sarina adds as Chase nods his head. “It’s no coincidence that team has won three championships with three rookie drivers – and I may know the first of those very well.” She then follows him inside the motorcoach as he could only grin about the reminder.

“Are you saying that played into your decision?” Sarina shakes her head no, as she hadn’t put that together until someone else mentioned it tonight.

“The top two teams in the XFINITY Series are easily Joe Gibbs Racing and JR Motorsports. My choice was made for me when Joe didn’t have any room.” Chase had to smile a little as he liked the thought of her being at JR Motorsports. “If Joe had roo-”

“Something feels off….” Sarina then looks at him a little confused, remembering the last time he mentioned similar words.

“We changed the password. We changed the locks. They’ve increased secur-”

“You found a note at your trailer though.” She then takes a careful deep breath, remembering that. She had hoped it would’ve been forgotten amongst every else on Friday.

“Well, do you want to call someone?” Chase walks into the bedsroom, glancing high and low as Sarina stands in the doorway watching. “Are you tear this room completely apart before you’re happy?”

“I just know something is off. The door didn’t even feel right – like it was left half-open. We made sure to close it.” She was caught off by his confession as she hadn’t noticed that upon them entering.

“Chase, I think you’re just paran-”

“Is this being paranoid?” She looks over as he stands by the television, holding up a teddy bear.

“That’s my little bea-”

“It has been tampered with.” She then looks on with horror as he rips open the back, reaching his hand up inside and pulling out a small lens. “A camera was put inside the bear in the eye. We weren’t supposed to notice, and that bear would’ve spied on us the rest of the weekend.”

“How did you know?” Chase then bends down, picking up the piece of fluff and setting it on the dresser beside the bear. “Are you sure it wasn’t done yes-”

“No fluff, and the bear was moved. I set my phone on the dresser charging in front of the bear. Notice how my cord won’t reach the bear now?” Sarina finally enters the bedsroom, sitting on the edge of the bed.

“What do you want to do?” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances at the time. It was ridiculously late and he knew they both needed their sleep. If they went forth in doing anything, they’d probably end up being awake half of the night.

“Simply this.” He then picks up the lens, pushing his fingers together as the lens cracks within the tips of his fingers. “She can’t see anything. It’s late, and we need our sleep. Let’s go to bed and if we hear anything, I’m swinging without thinking. It’s the last weekend of the year. We don’t have to worry anymore.”

“I’ll make sure to wake you up if I have to pee then…” She then strips out of her clothes, changing into her pajamas before getting comfortable underneath the blankets. She waits for him to join her, immediately wrapping her arms around him. “Just hope that I don’t have to pee like Lindsay does.”

“It doesn’t matter to me. I’d do whatever it took for you. I love you.”

“I love you, too.” She then kisses his shoulder.

Sunday, November 18 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

“It’s been a fun year,” Chase says on the radio under the pace laps. “Let’s end it in a good note.”

Getting comfortable in her usual seat for the last time of the season, Sarina could only hope that the driver was right in his words as that’d be the perfect scenario.

“Are you okay?” Jordan asks and she nods her head in response. “Are you sure? If you need anything – food, water, comfort – just make sure to as-”

“Jordan, I’m fine,” she tells the interior mechanic. “I’ve been pregnant since August, and we haven’t treated any race differ-”

“Las Veg-”

“We haven’t treated any race differently than went according to plan. Let’s just stick with that, please.” He accepts her words, but knew that he couldn’t help but keep an extra eye out just in case.

Through the first half of the race, they weren’t able to make much ground, running just outside of the top-10. Though at the start of the third stage, Chase was able to crack the top-10, coming off pit road seventh under the latest caution. Beyond that, you could tell he was happy with the balance of the NAPA Chevrolet due to no adjustments being made over the past two pit stops.

The restart would go smoothly, with Chase keeping the track position he had gained solidly. However, Alan felt some nerves in knowing the track would be changing conditional-wise due to sun going down.

“Let me know how the car is if you have a minute,” the crew chief requests, trying to finalize his game plan for the final set of pit stops.

“I don’t have a minute,” Chase replies, which was understandable.

He was slowly making time on those ahead of him, and it was by using the same high line right next to the wall that Tyler Reddick had been able to use to his advantage the night before. The little space that you could get between the preferred top line and wall was narrow, but the gains you could make were worth it. However, a single slip up and your night could be done just like that.

Chase managed to ride the line with perfect perfection through the ensuing laps, all the way until Lap 227 when he would slightly brush the wall with the right side of the car.

“Pit this time,” Alan instructs after the contact happened. He didn’t want to take a chance on having a tire go down like Larson had earlier, and knew they’d be fine with it being close to the pit window.

The decision to bring Chase down pit road would see Denny Hamlin pit a lap later, followed by Kevin Harvick on the next lap. Alan kept tabs on each of the leaders pitting, with just three remaining on track. Currently running eighth and knowing they had to pit before the race’s end, it would bump them up to at least fifth in the final rundown. Considering they were barely a top-10 car at mid-race, it was a solid recovery for the bunch.

Then the tides turned as the caution would come out with 20 laps to go for an incident involving Daniel Suarez and Brad Keselowski.

“That stupid fucking 19,” Alan lets out immediately on the radio. “Good God!” He could only let out a sigh, knowing that’d throw everything off. They had run enough laps that everyone had to pit now to be on decent tires for the end of the race, meaning that there’d be no advantage held with strategy. After sniffing hope for a top-five, they would be back to where they had ran most of the night.

Chase would restart sixth after making his way down pit road, dropping back two spots in the first couple of laps due to the car not firing off strong. However, as the race got closer to the end, the No. 9 Chevrolet found it’s groove of strength on the long run and he was able to catch the car ahead of him, passing the pass to finish seventh.

“We really suck down here,” Chase tells the media afterwards. “Man, if we make this Final 4 one day, we’ve got a lot to work to do.”

The disappointment was obviously there as he had so much hope initially about this race after winning at Kansas Speedway. Instead, he was dealt with a reality check of where he truly stood, and Hendrick Motorsports current ranking against the other teams still, despite the countless hours put in by everybody.

“Can you talk about your season this year?” One of the reporters ask and Chase had to smile a little. While tonight stung, you couldn’t hang your head on three wins.

“Yeah, better than the first two for sure, but not what we want,” he offers before walking away.

Given the past couple of weeks, it was obvious that the emotions had taken a toll on him. While no racecar driver wanted the off-season, he was actually welcoming a break for a change as it’d be nice to get away.

Thursday, November 22 – Dawsonville, Georgia

“Sweetheart, you don’t need to help….” Cindy tells Sarina as Sarina sets the dish down on the counter.

As they had since the beginning of their relationship, the trip was made up to Dawsonville on Thanksgiving to spend it with Chase’s parents and sisters. It was odd in seeing the relationship between them and Chase, with the age difference and the fact they weren’t super close. There was a level of respect and love there, but not the sibling blond like Sarina originally had with her brother once upon a time.

“I feel bad though if I don’t,” Sarina comments. “You and Bill worked so hard to prepare dinner – which was amazing as always, and I want to be able to do something for you in return.” Cindy looks over at her as she begins rinsing off the dishes.

“You’ve already done enough sweetheart,” Cindy tells her, taking a glance into the living room. “Look at my baby boy. That smile that he has, the adoration for you, and the fact that he has someone to lean on no matter what – especially with everything that has happ-”

“That was my fau-”

“Alison wasn’t your fault one bit sweetheart, so I don’t want to start that argument with you.” Sarina takes a deep breath, knowing that still didn’t erase what happened prior to Alison with Chris and Bethany. That was a topic that neither her or Cindy would address together. “But seeing the way he looks at you, and how happy he is, that’s everything to me. as a mother, all I wanted for Chase was for him to be happy, to live his dreams, and find someone that he could share his life with who respected him. You do that, and that’s what matters.”

“He does the same for me in return – actually, he goes beyond that. I keep saying this, but I wouldn’t be where I am without him. He believed in me when a lot of people didn’t. He also helped me through a lot of things that others couldn’t.”  Cindy could only smile, remembering his original discontent with Sarina when they met. It was amazing to see how far they’d come over the past couple years.

“Besides, you need to take care of this baby….” Sarina nods her head, easily accepting that. She knew Cindy having her first grandchild was going to be special for her, too.

“Maybe I should take a bit of a break then.” Cindy points towards the exit of the kitchen, as if to empathize the point.

Whether she wanted to admit it or not, getting off her feet and relaxing with Chase was probably a good idea. The heart in her wanted to help, but the advice from Cindy was on point.

She had been ignoring it, knowing that it was part of being pregnant and would just continue, but her back had been sore a little all day. She had heard the stories – leg cramps, swollen feet, and sore back. It made sense considering the weight you were caring around. She was always one to do her thing, and that was the plan for the pregnancy.

Though being told to take a step back, knowing what was at stake, she took the seat on the couch beside Chase. Besides, watching the amount of pain and where she felt it was critical, according to Dr. Grayson. The position of the baby in the uterus was more important for her  than other mothers-to-be due to the dimensions and shape of hers. Keeping tabs on the baby’s growth, making sure there was adequate room, and it wasn’t affecting other bodily functions or parts too badly was part of the process now.

Sitting by Chase, she didn’t want to interrupt him as he shared in conversation with Starr and Brittney, glad he was taking advantage of the time he got with his sisters. So instead, she took her phone out, figuring she’d check various social media accounts to pass the time.

She stopped immediately after unlocking, seeing a new notification from Samantha and Kyle. She opens it, a big smile forming on her face as she reads the news they had shared.

“Can I see?” Chase’s questions, catching her off-guard as she hadn’t realized his attention had been grabbed by the message. Though glancing up from the phone, she saw both Starr and Brittney had left the room.

“Samantha’s pregnancy took,” Sarina tells him, handing her phone over. “Her and Kyle found out the news this morning. She’s officially has a baby girl due in August.” Chase couldn’t help but smile in seeing the joy on both of the Busch’s faces.

“Now that’s the perfect Thanksgiving present.” He then hands her back the phone, wrapping his arms around her, precisely placed on the stomach. “Just like I’m thankful for you, the love that we have together, and our baby to be.” He then leans close, kissing her stomach.

“Oh Gosh, are you going to be one of those dads that keeps kissing my stomach all the way until the baby comes out?” He keeps her a shy glance, as she just smirks back in return. “Seriously?”

“I want to show the baby just how much him or her, as well as how much I love the mother. I also want to tell stories, and feel every single movement.” She then lets out a sigh, knowing that it’d be a long off-season. However, she wasn’t about to complain about spending time together.

“Where’d the siblings go?” He then points out in the backyard, where they were chasing around their kids with Bill.

“Just think. That’ll be us next year…” Sarina shakes her head in disbelief as she looks back over at Chase.

“I can tell that girls run in the family…..” Chase had to smile as that further confirmed his theory. “It gets me thinking. Dr. Grayson asked if we wanted to learn the paternity, or if we wanted to wait. What do you think?”

“It’s up to yo-”

“You have left everything up to me so far, Chase. It’s damn time that you decide something.” He then lets out a sigh, as it really didn’t matter in his mind.

“I still say that you’re having a girl. Whether we confirm that in a couple weeks, couple months, or when the baby is born, it doesn’t matter to me.” She rolls her eyes as his stubbornness was a bit of annoying, even if adorable.

“I kind of wanted to wait and be surprised. The pregnancy was a surprise, so why don’t we just continue the tradition? As we’ve said, everything happened for a reason. If it’s meant to be a girl, then it’s a girl. It’s a boy, that’s fine too. I don’t care what gender the baby is; I just want a healthy baby.” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“I keep saying girl because that’s everything my intuition keeps telling me, but like you, it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. I’ll be happy no matter what.” He then gives her a small kiss.

“Can you believe that our brother is getting married in two months?” Starr asks as she comes back in the room.

“Absolutely not,” Brittney answers as she follows right behind. “I remember when I wanted to kick Sarina’s ass from here to the other end of the country.” Starr chuckles, remembering the first meeting. “Actually, I think I let her off easy…”

“Seriously?” Brittney nods her head as she remembers what she told her.

“I mean, I just threatened to kick her ass along with my fellow Air Force mates. I just told her a couple words. I could’ve spouted off every other feeling that I had that day.” Brittney then stops as she finally looks up to where Chase and Sarina were sitting on the couch. “But the second time that I saw you, I remember I was just as harsh and you didn’t back down. That’s when I knew you were strong enough to take care of him. Then I saw the love when he set up the meeting with Lindsay for you.”

“No matter what Thanksgiving memories I make moving forward, there’s nothing that’ll replace reuniting with her for the first time in a long time,” Sarina confesses as she places her hand on Chase’s lap. “But I have to admit spending time here, with all of you, is pretty fun.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 143: “Why didn’t you tell us?”

Saturday, November 17 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

Chase walks into the No. 9 garage stall, ready for the first of two practices ahead of Sunday’s race. However, he stops immediately, noticing the eyes focused on him.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Josh Kirk questions as he steps forward amongst the group.

“I thought you loved us!” John Gianninoto adds as Chase could only chuckle in response.

“I even helped made sure that you guys mad-” Jared Seate comments.

“Can you just let that go already?” Tom Gray interrupts. “The bigger issue here is Chase didn’t tell us before he told the world.” Chase kept chuckling as he glanced across the faces. This certainly wasn’t the way he was expecting to start the day.

“Since she shouldn’t had been racing while pregnant, we only kept it to a few people,” Chase starts with a glance towards Alan. “And she wasn’t supposed to originally tell everybody last night. We had planned to reveal at the banquet, and I was going to tell you the week before that.”

“You son of a bitch….” Jordan then lets out, earning a surprised glance from Chase immediately. “You knew!!” Alan just smiles back in response as Jordan shakes his head. “That’s why you immediately set forth on comforting Sarina at Las Vegas. You knew she was pregnant, and didn’t want her risking anything. I should’ve known something was up when you took my job.”  Alan walks over to Chase, leaning on his driver a little.

“Shouldn’t you guys at least say congratulations to our driver?” Alan questions, which just gets him back a series of scuffed glances in return.

“I want to know how this happ-” John starts.

“Are you serious?” Chase cuts him off, actually taken back by the comment. “I’d expect Jared to say that!” Jared’s jaw drops in surprise.

“Take that back!” Jared instructs and Chase shakes his head no. “Besides, we both know how it happened. They laid down together, stripped clothes and there you go.” Eddie could only shake his head.

“I don’t think I needed that image in my head,” Eddie comments as he walks over to Chase. “Congratulations, and I hope everything goes well for you both. You’re in my thoughts for a healthy baby.” Chase smiles, easily accepting a hug from the spotter before he heads off.

“See, that’s the proper way to congratulate….” Alan says before walking over to the toolbox, ready to put focus back to the task at hand.

“I still want to kno-” John starts once again, earning a series of eye rolls.

“John!” John then puts his hands up in the air.

“I meant keeping the secret and who knew before us; I didn’t mean the actual act!” Chase lets out a sigh, really not wanting to get into the details.

“Are they being typical immature boys as we expected?” Sarina questions, as she walks up behind him, wrapping her arms around as she places her hand against his shoulder.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Chase replies, before turning around to face her, sharing a quick kiss which only increases the response in the garage area. “Are you okay?” She nods her head. “You don’t have to come out her-”

“I had the sex with you, I got pregnant, and I damn well agreed to go forth in the steps that I took from keeping the baby, to racing, to where we are today. If there’s going to be a tornado of reactions from everybody, it’s only fair that I face them with you.” He then places his hand on her shoulder.

“I just don’t want to stres-”

“I can handle it, Chase.” She then looks over at the crew guys, who were continuing to stare. “As for you guys, thanks for the congratulations in advance.”

“So that’s it?” Tom questions. “We don’t get a true explanation?” Chase then lets out a sigh. “I mean, it doesn’t matter either way. I just figured that we deserved it after everything.”

“Can we please not talk about Alison?” Jordan questions, not wanting to relive last week’s experiences. “Sure, we’ve gone a step above at times for these guys. But they don’t have to tell us everything that goes on in their life.” Sarina, meanwhile, knew the guys wouldn’t stop talking if they tried to just let it go.

“I found out at Indianapolis in August, okay?” She starts, earning a couple puzzling glances. “Remember the long ass rain delay that we had there? I called Samantha over, expressed some concerns, and I took the test. It was positive. I made the decision right then and there I was going to finish the season behind the wheel, no questions asked. Call it determination, call it stupid – I don’t care. That’s how it went down, right then and there.”

“So Samantha knew before you did?” Jared Seate questions as he leans back against the NAPA Chevrolet, earning a nod from Chase.

“Were you having regrets at Talladega?” Nick O’Dell offers, remembering the wreck that she had down the backstretch on the last lap.

“That’s why I was crying afterwards,” she replies, quietly and slowly. “I thought I had screwed up royally and lost the baby right then and there.” She then takes a deep breath, as Chase clutches onto her hand. “I feared the worst and knew that it was all my fault if that was the case. So certainly, there was a chance of regret and pain at Talladega. However, I made the bed, and I would have to lay in it no matter what happened.”

“So when did you find out?” John wonders, as Chase takes a deep breath.

“I found out that afternoon when I got back to the motorcoach after spending the day with Ryan,” Chase reveals. “I agreed to her plan immediately because I told her that I stood by whatever decision she made due to how much I loved and trusted her.” He then looks over at her. “And I wouldn’t change a single thing looking back now.” He then leans in, giving her a little kiss.

“Aren’t they adorable?” Jared questions as he just smiles at the pair. “All because of my dear handy work. I’m just so proud of you both…” Chase and Sarina both roll their eyes.

“Do you have any duct tape?” Sarina jokes, as Alan holds up a roll from the toolbox. “I may need some of that for the wedding.” Jared then gives her a glance as she just smiles back in response.

“Dale has working jail cells,” Chase offers. “We could just lock him up.” Sarina laughs in response, nodding her head in agreement. “The next person to find out was Kyle because she wanted him to know being the truck ow-”

“Isn’t Samantha the boss?” Chad Avrit interrupts, actually catching Chase by surprise as he had been quiet so far.

“So Kyle knew before us?” Jared asks, earning another eye roll from Chase and Sarina.

“Half-boss but Kyle calls most of the shots than she does,” Sarina states, which obviously everybody knew anyway. “He wasn’t happy, but he accepted. I believe Chase then told Alan next.” Chase nods his head, remembering the text messages sent from the motorcoach.

“I’m surprised you kept the secret this long,” Jordan comments, as Alan just shrugs his shoulders.

“I knew it was important to them,” Alan states as he locks eyes with Chase. He knew there was much more possible moving forward, giving no trace of Alison to date yet despite Homestead supposedly stepping up security. “Chase knows that he can trust me with any secret, no matter what it is, and I will keep it for him. That’s the brotherhood that we share together.”

“I went to JR Motorsports and told Kelley about what was going on Tuesday,” Sarina continues, remembering the steps that they took. “I wanted her to know what was going on since we were getting set to announce my new contract, and I didn’t want her signing up for something she didn’t bargain for. Obviously, I am probably going to miss the first cou-”

“Has the boss signed you up for those?” Josh interrupts with a glance over at Chase. Chase shakes his head no, remembering Kelley’s immediate words in the office after learning the news. The focus for Chase would remain on his own racing and Sarina; she was ready to take the pressure off them both.

“Sadler?” Tyler Semke guesses, as a small smirk forms on Chase’s face. “Seriously?”

“He said yesterday he was done racing full-time,” Chase reminds the crew. “He also stated he’d be open to running the odd race here and there. It’ll just be sooner than they thought.” The crew could only curse themselves in having seen signs, but yet nothing being figured out to date.

“So who else knew before us precious crew members?” Jordan wonders, as Chase lets out a sigh. he almost wishes he would’ve told Jordan as it would’ve made sense given his closeness to Sarina and role on race day.

“My parents found out Tuesday nig-”

“I bet Cindy wasn’t happy with Sarina’s decision to race,” Josh comments, which earns a simple nod from Chase.

“Bill wasn’t too thrilled either, but he was more accepting than Cindy,” Sarina reveals, remembering how tense she felt with Cindy raising her concerns. “We also told Ryan and Lindsay, too.” While the crew wanted to object, they couldn’t in knowing how close the pair were to them. “I told Rudy , and Christopher figured it out. Other than that, nobody else knew until last night.”

“Well, congratulations,” Chad says as he walks over, hugging the pair of them. “Here’s to a healthy baby Elliott in the new year.”

“Which run were you most comfortable?” Alan questions as Chase lets out a sigh.

“They both weren’t very comfortable if I’m being honest,” Chase answers, before glancing up at the speed chart. With having finished the session ranked 19th, he had to admit his outlook wasn’t very positive.

“I know you weren’t, but I want to figure which set-up we should start with and adjust from.” Chase takes a deep breath, trying to think it through. Which handling condition was easier to deal with?

“The last run we made felt better if we’re looking at race runs. It started off so loose, and started to come around before going tight. If you can get rid of the tightness, that would help.” Alan could work with that, as he knew long runs were their strong suit the past couple of weeks.

“Loose all the way around the corner?” Chase nodded his head. “Tightness is all arou-”

“Tight in the very middle of the corner.” Alan then thinks back through the session.

“I can work on the adjustments, but can you try to run a little higher for me?” Chase knew that was easily possible, given the space that Homestead offered. However, there was a risk involved.

“I’ll give a try if it solves our problems.” Chase then picks up his phone from the toolbox, unlocking it as he goes into Twitter. He quickly scrolls through, reading the various comments from drivers on handling conditions and progress. However, he could also see the reaction that everybody had to Sarina’s pregnancy.

“Positive or negative?” Alan could tell what Chase was looking at without even glancing away from his own notes that he had began to look through after their discussion.

“Surprisingly, it’s mostly positive. There are a lot of people that have said congratulations, they’re happy for us, they hope for the best, and even some who understand the struggle in making a decision like that if they were in Sarina’s shoes.” Alan glanced up with a slight smile in hearing the news from his driver. He knew that certainly would make things easier on his shoulders.

“That’s goo-”

“There’s some that also are upset that she chose to race for two full months while she was pregnant, feeling she put the baby in unnecessary danger. That has brought forth some to question if a change needs to be made to NASCAR’s policies, as well. You also have those who still are upset we’re together, perio-”

“Is that anything new, though?” Chase shakes his head no, having gotten used to it. There were some who still felt that she belonged with Christopher, and he belonged with Erin. There was also some who didn’t believe he belonged with either Sarina or Erin, and the couple crazies who wanted him to themselves. It was crazy to even see some of the girls inbox him with marriage requests.

“The best is this individual who tagged me in their message, asking if I had gotten a paternity test to make sure Christopher wasn’t the father.” Alan’s jaw drops in surprise. “And the other goes, ‘Well, if you could end up with Alison, it makes sense that she’d do that’ and others along those lines.”

“I don’t know if I want to be offended about the Christopher line, or the fact that they brought up Alison as if….” Alan’s voice trails off, realizing that maybe it wasn’t a good direction to be headed.

“As if they realized I brought it on and it wasn’t sexual assault?” Alan slowly nods his head.

“I didn’t mean to brin-”

“No, it’s fine. It’s actually a very important thing to think about that people out there can easily brush it off as if nothing happened. You wonder why it’s not recognized properly, and this is why.” Chase then glances down at his phone. “I get it because I didn’t want to accept the full pain, consequences, and feelings at the time, either. It took me a couple months to come to a full realization, and do what I needed to do.” He then slowly looks back up at Alan. “Let them think what they want, though. They weren’t there. It’s just sad.”

“Are you okay, though?” Chase nods his head, accepting, as he closes the twitter app.

“It doesn’t bother me. I have much more wonderful things to look forward to – like a sweet little baby gir-”

“So you found out the gender?” Alan was surprised to hear the mention, knowing that it had probably slipped from Chase accidently.

“Nope, we haven’t done that yet. I just have a really good feeling that it is a baby girl. I’ve been telling Sarina that for awhile now.” Alan had to smile as he remembered trying to guess the genders of his boys before they were born.

“Sometimes a dad’s intuition is right on point…” Chase looks over intrigued as Alan just smiles back in response. “I guessed mine right. That doesn’t mean that you will as well, but sometimes you never know.”

“I have a 50/50 chance, unless she’s having an alien.” Alan had to chuckle in response.

Alison shuts off the television screen, sitting back in her recliner with a smile on her face.

He wasn’t having the perfect weekend, and that was fine by her. It was actually nice to see him ranked 17th after the final practice session. Hopefully he finished there, or worse, on Sunday. It served him right for being such a pain in the ass to her.

It was also nice to see that he wasn’t the world’s perfect angel anymore, given the latest round of social media comments and articles. A good decent size of the population weren’t happy with him right now, and that was fine by her. They were obviously getting to see the side of him that she had gotten used to, and was ready to change.

She even felt a bit of pride in reading a couple of the messages, with people recognizing that he had fallen for her advances. That’s right, she could cast a spell on him after all and the world knew that it was possible. Why weren’t they sitting in the court room that day?

However, she couldn’t ignore the disappointment and anger she felt as she re-watched the interview from Friday night once again.

“I believed it happened for a reason,” she listens to Sarina say for what seemed like the millionth time. “I know I’ve taken a lot of your time and the light should be shining on our new series champion, which congratulations to Brett, so I’m just going to say this straight out. I am pregnant.”

This chick wasn’t supposed to be pregnant with his child. This chick wasn’t supposed to be this close to her man. This chick wasn’t supposed to be having her perfect reality begin coming true. Why was this happening? She almost wanted to hope that something happened between now and March.

“Happened for a reason my ass!” Alison lets out in a big scream, chucking the remote against the wall, causing it to break into a couple different pieces.

Though as she began to feel the fury against Sarina, she froze immediately.

Pregnant. Baby.

She takes a deep breath, her own hands landing on her stomach. She was in those very same shoes earlier this year. She was set to have a baby of her own and then it was ripped away just like that. she remembered the pain that she felt then, and how it still numbed her now.

It was why she could do nothing with Lindsay a couple weeks ago. it was also why she couldn’t bring herself to truly wish for something to happen, or for her to go after Sarina in the coming months.

“That just means there’s more loving for you in store, ‘ol Georgia boy,” she says quietly, licking her lips as she looks towards the poster on the wall.

She was still going to get another sweet taste of that peach and savor her taste buds. She also knew that was ready to take it further, and really showcase all those feelings perfectly. After all, she was still going to get her baby. She was still going to get her man in the end. She was still going to make him see what she saw, and knew that she needed to get to work on that immediately.