The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 113: Kyle’s Perspective

Saturday, September 8 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

“I don’t think I’ve seen this much rain in my life, ever,” Sarina comments as she glances out the window of the bus.

It was late in the morning, but the pair hadn’t moved. There was no point as NASCAR had already cancelled everything for the day, stating they’d try to run both races tomorrow with no practice, and the fields set by owner points. Therefore, Chase was set to start 11th in the Cup race, and 10th in the XFINITY event.

“I’m not complaining,” Chase says as he wraps his arms around her, with it not being lost on her that her hands were on her stomach.

“Oh face it – you’d rather be in the racecar right now than here.” Normally, that was an easy answer. However, as the news from yesterday still was stinking in, he had no complaints.

“I’m very comfortable here right now. I could actually stay here all day.” She actually wished they could do that as there was nothing better than cuddling together. However, the rain just meant other plans would go smoother.

“Kyle and Samantha are coming over, remember? Sam told him the news, and he has a reaction for me. Oh, and we need to go see the doctor.” Chase nods his head, remembering the plan. He was glad that Samantha was close friends with one of the regulars, and she’d be there with them each week with knowledge to help as necessary.

“Make sure that I don’t miss any appointment at all. I want to be there for them all, I don’t care.” She actually smiled in hearing that as she rolled over, kissing his lips lightly.

“On a brighter note, we don’t have to worry about condoms…” He chuckles to himself, before taking a deep breath.

“The stick said that you’re more than four wee-”

“No, it’s not a winner’s baby, Chase. The conception would’ve been sometime in July, into August.” Chase thinks back through, trying to place an exact spot as Sarina just rolls her eyes. “Oh come on, it doesn’t matter now….”

The pair eventually got up, getting dressed with Chase making breakfast. It wasn’t long after before there was a knock on the door, and they both knew who it was immediately. Chase simply opened with a smile, as he stepped back to let the pair in.

“Brexton has gone over to see his Uncle Kurt and Aunt Ashley,” Samantha informs them, knowing the question would probably come up. However, it was the furthest thing on the minds of Sarina and Chase as they sat on the couch together. “Now, isn’t morning sickness easier to deal with when you have someone to care for you?”

“Absolutely, but thankfully baby Elliott is behaving today,” Sarina comments, glad that Samantha killed some of the tension in her thoughts with a conversation breaker.

“I think that maybe due to you having that off of your chest to worry about. Stress isn’t good for the baby…” Sarina nods her head, having heard that a couple of times from others. It was why she was always on the keep Lindsay calm patrol when they watched races together.

“The rain may be a pain in the ass, but it’s helping with keeping things relaxed…” She then glances up at Chase, as he keeps an arm wrapped around her.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much rain in one location before..” Sarina chuckles, having said the same thing earlier that morning to Chase.

“It’ll be interesting going into tomorrow without a single lap of practice,” Chase finally perks up, as he keeps his eyes on Kyle. He was surprised at how quiet he was being.

“You at least have the XFINITY race to give you an idea of conditions,” Kyle finally joins in as Chase nods his head. That was certainly one advantage to being unexpectedly asked to drive for Spencer.

“I’m sure you’ll be stealing notes from Christopher and Ryan.” Kyle had to give Chase credit as he had read his mind perfectly.

“There’s nothing like getting a feel for it yourself, though.” Chase couldn’t argue with that, either. “So I guess congratulations are in order for you both. So congratulations on the pregnancy.”

“I swear we were trying every preven-” Sarina immediately headed down the apologetic road.

“Samantha already pleaded your case, Sarina,” Kyle cuts her off as Sarina takes a calming deep breath. “Hey, it happened; there’s nothing you can do now. Do I believe that you were taking those measures? I would hope so after everything. Does it matter? Nope, since baby showed up anyway. The only discussion we need to have is how to handle the situation.” Sarina knew that the next set of words out of Kyle’s mouth would determine her future. “Having seen the struggles of pregnancy firsthand for parents to be, from my own experience and helping Samantha with Bundle of Joy, I understand why you can’t go through with an abortion and would rather take your chances. In that regard, I do hope that everything works out for both of you so you don’t have to go through that heartbreak, again.”

“Thank you,” Chase and Sarina say together, nerves still swirling through Sarina’s mind.

“Sam, when you have the next gala, please let me know so I can help you out,” Sarina adds as Samantha nods her head in approval. “I totally get why you want to help these ladies, and I want to help as well.”

“I appreciate that sweetheart,” Samantha comments, before glancing back towards Kyle as she knew there was more to be said.

“Samantha told me that you still want to finish the season with KBM, though?” Kyle questions and Sarina nods her head. “And you’re in agreement with this, Chase?” Chase was surprised that Kyle called upon his opinion, as he was ready for the decision to come out and go forward from there.

“I know it’s risky so please don’t warn me of those risks,” Chase starts as Samantha bites her own tongue, having done that already with Sarina. “But just like me, you should understand where she’s coming from. That’s the competitive fire, determination, fuel to be the best that you can be. You realize the work and sacrifice it takes to get to where she is right in the championship fight. Could you just walk away like it was nothing? Could you have no regrets? I don’t want Sarina living with those regrets, so therefore I am onboard for her to do this. Regret can be worse than failure because it leaves so many unanswered questions. Regret can drive you into theories that make it so you can’t sleep at night. Sarina has been through enough. She doesn’t need those regrets lying on her shoul-”

“We’re not just talking about the baby anymore, are we?” Samantha interrupts and Chase takes a deep breath, shaking his head no. “Sarina told me some of the things that you both went through with Alison. It’s okay to still feel pain from that. It’s okay to still not be totally over that as it won’t happen overnight. It’s okay to want to vent sometimes. But Chase, I don’t care what you regret, it is not and never was your faul-”

“I know that now, Samantha.” Chase takes a deep breath as Sarina rubs his back, knowing this was a touchy subject. “I made the choice to go to therapy and it helped. I was able to reach into those emotions, address them and open the biggest can of worms that you’d never think possible. I know it wasn’t my fault. I know I can’t stall over those regrets because no matter what, Alison would’ve found a way; she was that crazy.” He then swallows the lump in his throat as he thinks about the letter that he still hadn’t chose to open from her. “I’m just bringing up that time, and those feelings so Kyle can see where my decision came from.”

“Thank you as it’s nice to see your perspective,” Kyle says as he glances down at the ground, still conflicted. “As your boss and team owner, I feel responsibility with this decision should something happ-”

“I accept all the risks, Ky-” Sarina interrupts, feeling that he was going to turn her down.

“I get that, Sarina. That’s what Samantha said you told her, and that’s what Chase just said to me. But, regardless, it’s still on my conscious.” Kyle hoped he didn’t regret saying the next words that he was going to say, but ultimately, he had decided upon this immediately after speaking with Samantha yesterday. “As long as you’re ready to accept the risks, I will allow it without any second guessing or holding you back. Like Chase said, I understand the drive to succeed more than anyone. I just hope I don’t regret it.”

“When there’s a championship trophy in the KBM shop, will you regret it?” Kyle chuckles, shaking his head no. “That’s what I plan to deliver you, boss. You’ve given me all the tools and more to get the job done. It’s now time for me to make you proud.”  Kyle then stands up, switching over to the couch with Chase and Sarina to sit beside her.

“Whether you win the championship or not, I am proud of you. I’m proud of how much you’ve grown since I met you. I’m proud of how much trust and commitment you’ve shown, and the relationships that you’ve been able to form after being so scared to trust a single person. I’m proud of the lady that you’re growing into.” Sarina wipes the stray tear from her eyes.

“Pregnancy hormones….” Samantha chuckles as Sarina immediately pulls Kyle into a hug. “That means more than you could realize coming from you. Thank you…”

“Just make sure that man over there doesn’t hurt you or I’ll have to kick his ass.” Chase just rolls his eyes as Kyle shares another hug with her before going back over to Samantha.

“I almost feel like I’ve been threatened by a fath-” Chase comments

“Older brother feeling, please,” Kyle interrupts. “I’m not that much older than you guys.”

“So who do we tell next?” Sarina wonders out loud as Chase lets out a sigh. Alan, Lindsay and Ryan were the easy choices being there that weekend, but his parents were high up on his personal radar.

“It’s up to yo-” Chase starts as Sarina just rolls her eyes.

“Every decision isn’t mine to mak-”

“The baby is growing inside of yo-”

“You’re the father so you’re just as much responsible.”

“Do you think Chase is letting her decide everything so he can pick the name?” Kyle wonders as Samantha just chuckles, with them not catching the couple’s attention.

“I am just wondering if it’ll be a boy or a girl,” Samantha adds as she glances back at Kyle. “Either way, they’ll be full throttle from birth with them as parents.”  Kyle glances over at the pair discussing things, before turning back to Samantha.

“Do you think they’d let their kid race?” Samantha nods her head as she couldn’t see either stopping their child. “Chase may get overprotective if it’s a girl.”

“I don’t want to think about a girl. Brexton may find a girlfriend.” Kyle’s jaw drops in shock as Samantha keeps her eyes locked on him. “Let that sink in….”

“I don’t think I could handle my kid dating a miniature version of them.” Samantha smiles as she looks back over at the pair.

“It could be worse, Kyle. Brexton could date Scarlett.” Kyle spits out his drink that he was sipping on, catching the attention of Chase and Sarina as Samantha just laughs.

“Do I want to know?” Chase questions as Kyle shakes his head no.

“Scarlett and Brexton together….” Kyle offers as Sarina feels her own tinge of sickness at the thought.

“It could be worse. Brexton could end up with Taylor.” Kyle then gives Chase a ‘really’ glance as Chase smiles. “Sorry, I still hate your teammate.”

“There are some days that I want to kill Denny, too.”

The joking continued into the afternoon, before the quartet made their way over to the care center for the meeting with the doctor.

Sarina and Chase had to admit that Samantha had a good idea, and Dr. Lee Carson certainly knew her stuff when it came to babies which would be beneficial. The group hit it off immediately, with the couple suspecting no issues moving forward despite the secret that was set to play out.

The bigger surprise, though, was finding out that Sarina was indeed very pregnant, actually eight weeks along already. Chase’s mind immediately had done the math already, smiling as he remembered the nice night at the beach.

“She’s a Daytona baby,” he commented out of blue as Sarina just rolled her eyes. “You took care of my ankle a little too well that weeken-”

“No more hauler sex,” Sarina responds with a theory of her own as Chase just laughs. “Actually, I take that back. Hauler sex is the best kind at times.”

Sunday, September 9 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

“Is the track flooded yet?” Sarina asks as she glances up from her plate as she eats her omelet.

“If there was more banking than I would say yes and we should go canoe racing,” Chase answers as he sits down across from her.

“This better be the last day of rain. We’ve ran out of movies to watch, stories to tell, games to play, and let’s face it – we’re going to run out of food soon, too.”

“Well, that’s good as you need to make sure you eat since you’re eating for two.” She then rolls her eyes, knowing that was the first of many lines she’d hear over the next several months.

“I am going to try and keep my firesuit as long as I can before going a size up….” Chase shakes his head, as he knew that wasn’t going to last. “Damn, I am going to be fat…”

“You’ll still be cute.” She then glances over at him.

“You’d say that even if I was wearing a paper bag.” He nods his head yes as she just lets out a sigh.

“I’m sorry, but you’re adorable no matter what you’re wearing. Your inner beauty shines through..” She glances over with a smile. “And to be honest, you’re going to make an amazing mother.”

“You’ll be an even more amazing father. The sweetness that you’ve shown me proves that.” He then grabs his phone as it goes off, looking at the latest text message. “Alan?”

“I sent him a picture of the pregnancy test stick and he sent back asking if Kyle cut my balls off.” Sarina breaks out laughing, spitting her food across the table at him. “Oh, I see how it is…”

“I’m sorry…” She then chuckles as he flings a piece of it back at her.

“Food is meant for eating to feed the baby, not for usage as a weapon against your fiancé.” She smiled at the simple mention of ‘fiance’ as it just sounded so perfect. “He did offer his congratulations, and wished us the best given the circumstances.”

“Did you tell him about the full plan, though?” Chase nods his head, having typed that out in the last series of messages before this response. It was odd to share over text message, but he didn’t want to chance saying it in the garage area tomorrow as someone may overhear.

“He asked me if I had a bucket of tums ready, along with a stress ball and gum. I told him maybe for Talladega, but other than I’d be fine. He just said to be careful.” Sarina lets out a sigh as she glances down at her dish.

“So in other words, he doesn’t necessarily agree to the plan…” Chase shakes his head no as he sets his phone aside.

“Let’s face it – not everybody is going to agree with us because not everybody understand where you’re coming from, or what we feel as drivers. They haven’t been there through everything from rock bottom and where you started to where you are now. What have I always told you in these moments?” Sarina slowly looks up at him.

“To just believe in yourself, and remember you’re stronger than they think you are and do your own thing because you’ll do it right.” He smiles as it was nice to hear her recite it perfectly. “But what about if your parents argu-”

“It doesn’t matter to me, Sarina. All that matters to me is how we feel about this as it’s our baby, our decision.” He then reaches over and grabs her hand. “I love you. Stop worrying about everybody else. All that matters is you, me, and that baby.”

“I love you, too.” She then kisses his hand before he slowly lets go. “Now, I am telling Rudy when I get back to North Carolina. When are we telling your parents, Ryan, Lindsay, Kelley, and Dale?”

“We need to tell Kelley and Dale before they announce anything – if we’re at that point.” Sarina smiles widely, knowing that it was pretty much a done deal from their last meeting. “So we better say something soon.”

“We could tell your parents at dinner this week on Tuesday.” Chase glances out the window, before looking at her.

“If we get the race in on Monday, we’re going to JRM on Tuesday and then having dinner that night with my parents. We’ll follow that up with telling Ryan and Lindsay in Vegas.” Sarina nods her head in agreement.

“If we don’t get the race in on Monday, I say screw it, let’s go home.”

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 112: Pregnancy Decisions

Friday, September 7 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The girls sat at the dining room table in the motorcoach with the blue stick sitting on the table between them.

“Has enough time past by yet?” Sarina questions and Samantha nods her head, glancing at her phone to see what time it was. Sarina then reaches out, picking it up off the middle of the table, and glancing at the little screen. “Well, that’s no surprise….”

“Pregnant?” Samantha asks and Sarina nods her head as she sits the stick back down on the table.

“4+ weeks at that, so at least a full month along..” Samantha then picks it up and glances at the stick herself, before placing it back on the table.

“Say something, please….” Sarina then takes a deep breath as she looks over at Samantha.

“I want to be happy. I want to be like all of those classic mothers that you see who go, ‘Oh my gosh I’m pregnant’ and jump up and down and hug you, and celebrate. Then again, I can’t stop and think about everything. We took every precaution neces-”

“Sometimes it’s meant to be and happens no matter what you do….” Sarina already had that thought locked in her mind, and it was why the next set of decisions were set in stone.

“I was also told that I couldn’t carry a baby full term. Do you know what that means? This living thing is going to grow inside of me, and it may not stand a chance at living. Heck, one doctor said if you got pregnant, you should choose to abort and then really analyze these options.” Samantha’s jaw slowly drops in response to hearing that revelation.

“I’m sorry but no doctor, female or male, righteous or not, has a right to tell you to abort because of a fear based on scans due to a single miscarriage. Do you know how many people lose their first baby for no fault of their own?” Sarina glances back at the table, rubbing her hands across her face. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brou-”

“No, you had every right to bring that up. I need to discuss this and see every option, and realize everything on the table immediately before me. That’s why I took the test, right? So I could know and figure what to do.” Samantha reaches across the table, placing her hands on Sarina’s, which now rested on the table.

“You don’t need to decide everything overnight, sweetheart. You have some time before your next scheduled race, and you still need to talk it over with Chase. Don’t be rushing to something you’ll regret.” Samantha then takes a slow deep breath. “I know no matter what you decide, it will put you in a tough spot somehow, someway. I want you to know that I sympathize with what you’re going through, having been through my own pregnancy troubles. No matter what you do, no matter how it changes the future or whatever, there’s no pressure from me in regards to KBM on your decision. You do what you feel is best, and the rest will have to just fall in place somehow as I’ll make sure Kyle doesn’t argue – but I don’t see that, either.”

“I appreciate that, Samantha. Like I’ve always said, I couldn’t have chosen to drive for anybody else and have had such an amazing experience, from equipment to friendship. The friendship is what I’ll cherish forever.” Samantha slowly smiles.

“Yeah, I heard about you potentially leaving – but I understand you need to pursue opportunities, and I damn well hope you kick ass next year.” Sarina then glances down at her stomach.

“And now here I am pregnant as I finalize a deal with JR Motorsports to drive for them full-time next year. It’ll go over great with them that I’ll miss a couple months due to a baby on-board, huh?” Samantha could only hope that Kelley and Dale were as understanding, as she didn’t need things to be harder on Sarina.

“I’m sure if you go to Kelley and Dale and explain the situation, they’ll understand and give you some leeway. Dale is one of the nicest guys from what I’ve seen.” Sarina could only hope that now as she looked back towards the stick, knowing her decisions.

“So the first step is obviously figuring out exactly how far I am along, and getting official doctor confirmation. But based on what I am going to do, that’ll be a tough deal to do this weekend.” Samantha looked over a little concerned, but wasn’t about to judge as she wanted to make the process easy as possible knowing others would.

“I know one of the doctors that travels with the series every week pretty well from when I was pregnant with Brexton. I can talk to her, and perhaps we can get you in there and keep it just under the radar hidden till you want to say something?” Sarina nods her head, knowing that’d work perfectly given that there were still two months left of racing.

“I would appreciate that, as you’ll understand based on what I am going to tell you…” Samantha takes a deep breath, ready to hear the plan out. “I may be selfish with what I am thinking and I may be doing the wrong thing, and I know people are going to hate me. However, based on what I know, what people have told me, and how this may play out, I’m going to do this my way.”

“It’s your life, and your body. It’s also yours and Chase’s baby. The only ones who get to judge and decide are you both.” Sarina began to worry now, hoping that Chase would understand where she was coming from and just roll with it.

“I can’t just go ahead with an abortion. I can’t kill something that is half me, half-Chase. I would never forgive myself for that as here I am killing an innocent life that could easily live out to be the person who finds the cure for cancer, wins a noble peace prize – does whatever they want.” Samantha could easily understand her viewpoint on that situation. She would also deal with describing the situation to Kyle and the fall-out, whatever it may be. However, she had faith in her husband.

“Having gone through fertility issues, I sympathize with your viewpoint….” Sarina takes a deep breath as she rubs her stomach instinctively.

“There’s obviously science and images that state I shouldn’t be able to carry a baby full term due to the shape of my uterus. However, we’ve proven science wrong before, right?” Samantha nods her head, yes. “So therefore, I am going to believe in this baby in hope that he or she can make it work in there and grow, and be my pride and joy. If they have half the strength that their daddy ha-”

“And their mommy, too…” Sarina smiles a touch.

“They’ll be able to make it work in there. If the worst happens and I do suffer another miscarria-”

“Don’t even think or say it-”

“Trust me, I have 100% belief in this baby. But, if it does happen, I accept the consequences that come with that. I chose to take the chance, and if it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be. But like you said, sometimes it is meant to be and if I can get pregnant considering all these provisions that were set in place, then damn, I am going to stick with it.” Samantha had to chuckle a little, but smiled with pride. It was nice to see Sarina’s strength showing through. “That said, I told you that I am going to be selfish. I don’t want to let go of my chance to win the championship this season. I have worked my ass off the past two years to get to where I am today, and I don’t want to just watch that fade away and wonder what if with my team. Call me selfish, call me obnoxious, call me crazy, stupid, whatever you want – that’s my feelings. I’ve got five races left and I am going to race them and win this championship for myself, and this baby.”

“So you’re going to race the last couple of months pregnant?” Sarina nods her head immediately. “You realize that you’ll be four months pregnant by season’s en-”

“Oh, I know I will be and I’ll probably be a little chubby in parts and people will say that she’s gaining weight. Oh, and I’ll need a new firesuit and some other clothes to wear for pit road. But Sam, as much as I can’t give up this baby and go for an abortion, I can’t give up my dream. Am I selfish?” Samantha bit her tongue as she didn’t want the words to come out harshly.

“In a way, I could say that you are. If you’re committed to this baby, then I would tell you to be totally committed and do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself and your baby. Going 200 mph and potentially having someth-”

“Isn’t that already there with those full-term statistics?” Samantha lets out a sigh.

“I just feel that you’re increasing your chances of something going wrong, and I don’t see that right if you’re fully in committed. I honestly hope when you tell Chase your ingenius plan that he tells you different.” Sarina wanted to be surprised at the clapback, but she couldn’t be as she knew it was only the beginning.

“You’re my boss, Samantha. Are you going to lay your foot down if for some reason he agrees?” Samantha was surprised to hear the question pointblank, and knew that the decision would actually come down to Kyle. Once again, she had a strong belief in her husband at this point.

“I damn well may not agree with you right now, but I would not paint you the box like that to make your decisions for you as I’d be mad if roles were reversed.  That said, Kyle has the final decision and I wish you the best of luck.” Sarina knew there would be one way around that, however she didn’t want to chance that as she could see Samantha blurting it out at some point.

“I am going to tell Chase when he comes home. I am giving you permission to tell Kyle when you go home if you want to get it off your chest. If not, then I will take the time to tell Kyle myself. Either way, we’ll discuss and see what happens. Other than that, I plan on telling Lindsay, Rudy, Alan, and Chase’s parents – but nobody else for now.” Samantha understood the decision in whom she was choosing and couldn’t find an argument – except for a forthcoming announcement.

“I will talk to the care center doctor as I’d also like to see someone with medical knowledge be in the know in case something happens. But also – what about JR Motorsports?” Sarina hadn’t even thought about that, but she knew the writing was on the wall.

“I guess I am going to Kelley and Dale and telling them, and seeing what happens next year after I have the baby, right?” Samantha nods her head, accepting. “Other than that, I think the best thing would be to reveal everything at the banquet.”

“Could you imagine standing on stage as the champion announcing, ‘Oh yeah, there’s been a baby on-board. I’m pregnant,’ and walking off?” Sarina smiles widely as she sits back and beams.

“That’s the plan, isn’t it? However, if I am eliminated after the first round or second round, I will forfeit the rest of the season since the championship dream will be over.” Samantha never wanted to wish one of her drivers out of the hunt early, but a small part of her hoped the math didn’t add up.

“That’s fair and reasonable.” Samantha then shifts over to the other side, sitting right alongside Sarina. “I’m just surprised that there’s a life growing in there. Just think sweetheart, we get to be pregnant together.” Sarina then looks over at Samantha shocked.

“Seriously? You’re pregnant? I was wondering if there was a glo-”

“Oh no, that’s the make-up happening.” Sarina was now slightly confused. “Kyle and I have talked multiple times and we’ve agreed to finally begin the IVF process once again. We’re ready to give Brexton a little sister.”

“Awww he’ll be the best big brother ever…” Samantha couldn’t help but beam in pride as she was pretty proud of him, too. “Well here’s to us both having smooth pregnancies without any complications and problems.”

“Here’s to that!”

“Ah shit, I just realized something…” Samantha then looks over intrigued. “I am going to be walking down the aisle to marry Chase while six months pregnant. Can I ditch the high heels now?” Samantha chuckles, nodding her head yes.

“Better schedule lots of alteration meetings. Better yet, I should just have one of my favorites on call for you 24/7 leading up to the day because you’re going to be growing…” Samantha then grins a bit. “So does that mean that you’re going to have the baby in Georgia just like it’s daddy?” Sarina was confused a little at first, but it hit her immediately. If she was due sometime in March, there was a possibility of having the baby on Atlanta race weekend.

“Seriously, there are too many things adding up perfectly here for me to not take a chance….”

“Well, it was nice chit chatting, and Sarina, have fun tonight,” Samantha offers, giving her a hug and wink before heading out of the motorcoach. Chase could only watch her in a bit of confusion leave, before turning his eyes back to Sarina.

“Do I want to know what you’re planning?” Chase questions as Sarina shifts over on the couch a little to make room beside her. She wasn’t sure how to answer that question yet till everything was out in the open.

“I hope you’re going to be happy like I am slowly becoming about this,” Sarina offers, before motioning for Chase to sit beside her. He does as instructed, keeping his eyes on her in an intrigued way. “I have some news for you that Samantha actually got to hear first because she helped me figure it out.”

“Is this good news?” Chase could only wonder and try theorize what the girls had figured out together. Perhaps she had chosen her wedding dress finally.

“If I am happy about it, then I say it is good news, right?” Chase could reason with that as he wraps an arm around her. It was nice to cuddle while listening to the rain continue to fall outside. “So we’re going to have a miniature Chase or miniature Sarina running around by next spring, possibly.” Chase was now confused, as ever. What would Samantha have to do with that?

“Wait – you went down the surrogate route and Samantha agreed to do it for us?” Sarina shakes her head no, while continuing to smile. The fact that both of them would have a baby of their own instead stood better than Chase’s theory.

“I’m pregnant, Chase.” She then pulls the stick out from underneath the blanket, placing it on his lap as he glances down. He then picks it up, taking a closer look, before sitting it back down as he looks back at her. “Say something, please….”

“I want to leap out of joy, hug you, kiss you, and share the happiness because expecting a baby is everything…” She then glances up into his eyes, running her finger across his lips.

“So what are you waiting for?” He then glances back at the stick once again, before looking into her eyes.

“Weren’t we trying everything we could for you to not get pregnant?” Sarina nods her head yes. “But yet you’re still pregnant…”

“That’s what the magic stick, and the fact that I’ve been feeling a little sick the past couple of wee-”

“Morning sickness, huh?” She nods her head slowly. “Wow….” She knew the initial shock was there, and hated to pounce it all at once, but she needed to tell him before Samantha began texting Kyle’s reaction.

“Now, Samantha and I talked and I shared with her a detailed plan that I would like to follow for the next several months. I am hoping that you’re on board.” Chase glances into her eyes, giving her a nod to continue.

With a couple mixed deep breathes, and trying to keep her emotions composed as it began to set in more. She was really expecting a baby, something she thought at one point would never happen, but was now growing inside of her and ready to come in March. She watched his eyes the entire time as he sat there content and quiet, letting her dish the entire plan out. She tried to read each reaction, adding a couple added remarks if she saw discontent written there, while trying to just stick to her cards.

“The baby isn’t just mine,” she then begins, taking a deep breath as she remembered Samantha’s words. “We created the baby together. We both have an equa-”

“It’s your bod-” Chase went to repeat, following suit with the same words he told her in January. Just like then, she was ready to chew him out.

“It’s your baby, too, Chase. It’s half of you, half of me. Therefore, while I have a plan of my own and may be set to follow it, you have a right to your opinion and persuading me in a different direction if you want. So, now that you know what I am thinking, I want to hear what you have to say, please…” Chsae then takes a deep breath as he tried to put everything in order.

“I agree with your thoughts on a potential abortion. I don’t think I could forgive myself, either. every life deserves a chance, especially if they can be conceived through us trying to follow birth control and condoms.” She had to chuckle a little, but it showed the stubbornness that she hoped worked in watching their baby grow together. “I know it’s a big risk that we’re taking, and there’s a lot of pain at the end of the road if we go a month, two months, four months and something happens. We learned that in January and we didn’t even get to know that baby.” He then glances into her eyes. “You barely got through that at times, but I know you’ve grown and you’re stronger since then. We can do this, together, whatever may happen.” Those comments gave her faith that he wouldn’t discontent the rest of the plan.

“I know I can conquer the world if I have my Clyde by my side.” She then snags a quick kiss as he tries to compose the next batch of thoughts to tell her.

“There’s so many risks in what you’re planning on doing, as Talladega just keeps flashing in my mind. However, I understand that drive. That determination to get to this point as fueled you to fight through and overcome things that would’ve broken others. I know the regrets that you’ll have if you choose to walk away. I know that’ll hurt more than anything as regrets are the worse pain that you can have sometimes…” He then takes a deep breath, shelving that back away as he didn’t want to think about Alison in the midst of baby happiness. “Therefore, I am on-board totally with you chasing the championship. I would be over the moon if we were standing on the stage in Florida together, as champions, arms wrapped around your stomach. I think that’ll push me further than anything else could starting this weekend.”

“You’ve got the talent and team….” He nods his head in agreement.

“Rudy also knows how to make the best come out of you…” He almost hated to see that breaking apart, but still stood by what he said the other day in her decision to go to JR Motorsports. “As far as JR Motorsports, sure, you’ll miss the first few races. However, win and you’re in is the format and I know you can get the job done in an XFINITY Series car. Kelley and Dale are amazing, and I’m sure they’ll understand. They’ll either get Elliott to stay for a couple extra races, or I may finally say yes to drive his stuff again.”

“Ah, you would go drive in top-notch equipment and try to win for me?” He chuckles a little as he pulls her a little tighter to him.

“I would do anything for you…” He then gives her a kiss on the top of the head. “I’ll come with you to see them if it makes it easier. And the list that we’re telling – that’s perfect. Don’t be surprised if my mother smothers you with love.”

“Do you think Kyle will be understanding?” Chase takes a deep breath as he could only ponder that thought.

“You may get some discontent from him, but he beats to his own drum. He should understand that you’re like that in a way, and give you the leeway you need.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 111: Southern 500

Saturday, September 1 – Darlington Raceway

Chase runs his hands through his hair as he stands on pit road, glancing over the No. 23 Chevrolet.

“Hey,” Sarina says as she walks up behind him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “There’s a lot of laps later this afternoon. You’ll be fine.” He wanted to believe her, but it still didn’t make him feel better. He was en route to a solid lap in qualifying, before the car snapped around and spun. With having to change the tires now, he was set to start back in 38th.

“At least I didn’t damage the car,” he offers as she rubs his shoulder.

“You’ll be fine….” She then glances out to the track. “She’s a nasty bitch, but you can put a whooping on her when you need to.” He then chuckles as her reference.

“She’s called too tough to tame for a reason.” He then looks down pit road towards Christopher, before glancing back at Sarina. “Do you think you could ask your boyfriend to give me the secret as to why that car is driving so good?”

“You know just as well as I do that Christopher doesn’t share competition secrets.” Chase knew that, but joking around a little was better than fretting about his mistake.

“Perhaps you could change the tune with a way of your own.” She then looks at him a little surprised.

“Wow, I’m surprised that you, Mr. Elliott, would like me to share my ways with someone else other than you.” She then runs his finger tips slowly along the back of his neck. “Are you sure you want that shared?”

“Good point, as I wouldn’t want him swiping you off my hands.” He then turns around to face her, lightly kissing her lips. “Ready for some lunch?”

“Yeah, I actually am today..” He smiles as he takes her hand and they head back to the trailer, ready for a quick bite to eat for the XFINITY race.

If there were any doubts about how the race was going to go, or the handling of the No. 23 Chevrolet, those were erased out of the way right from the beginning as he made his way up to 22nd just in the first two laps.

“Damn boy!” Sarina couldn’t help but let out as she watched him climb the scoring pylon.

He’d make his way into the top-five near the end of the first stage, running up front all race long en route to a sixth-place finish.

“So I’m not fired yet, am I?” Chad Norris questions afterwards and Chase shakes his head no.

“It took us some searching, but we found what we needed at the right time,” Chase offers. “A couple more adjustments and we would’ve been right there.”

“So are you ready for Indianapolis next week?” Chase knew it was an unknown with the drafting package, but also felt confident based on the past couple of weeks with this group.

“I like our chances better there than they were today.”

“Hopefully we can snag a win together. Thanks again.” Chase gives him a simple nod as the crew chief heads off, while Chase takes a deep breath. He knew he needed to get right back out to pit road with Cup qualifying next on the docket.

“I’m surprised that you’re not hanging out with Chase on pit road,” Christopher says as he watches Sarina walk over to him. She knew everybody expected her to be right by his side, but she also didn’t need to be distracting him right now.

“He’s focused on qualifying and Alan so do I really need to be there this exact minute?” Sarina questions back, earning a simple shrug of the shoulders from Christopher. “Besides, I had to come and check on my friend.” Christopher lets out a sigh.

“I didn’t even hit that hard, Sarina. I’m fin-”

“I realize the contact wasn’t that hard at all – been there, done that. However, I saw the interview and how bummed you were. I also heard about what happened with inspection yesterday and your crew chief kicked out. I came over here from a morale point of view.” Christopher’s eyes don’t leave the ground the whole time.

“What else is there to say? This weekend just sucked as a whole. There’s nothing we can do. We just need to regroup, move on, and go win at Indianapolis next week.” While Sarina wanted to see happiness for him, she was actually hoping to watch Indy go a different direction.

“I’m sorry, but you’re going to get beat next weekend. You can finish second, though.” He finally glances over, almost a little surprised.

“And here you came over to boost my morale, but now you’re bursting my bubble already. What kind of friend are you?” She then places a hand on his shoulder with a smile.

“An honest friend, Christopher. I figured learning a week early would help the pain a little next week.” He then rolls his eyes with a chuckle.

“Tell Chase that I won’t make it easy on him.” She could only grin in response.

“I wouldn’t expect otherwise.” She then goes to walk away, but he snags her hand. “Chri-”

“We were supposed to become teammates at JGR, but yet you’re supposedly rumored to be headed to JR Motorsports. What happened?” She then lets out a sigh as she glances back into his eyes.

“Why don’t you go ask Joe Gibbs? He wouldn’t give me a chance to run full time next year, but JR Motorsports has the offer on the table. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t entertain that offer.” Christopher wanted to argue with her, but knew he’d do the same thing in her shoes.

“So if Joe was to offer you a full-time ride, you would accept it?” She nods her head yes as he lets out a sigh. “I wish I had the power to force him to do that.”

“Trust me, I would like to work with you once again, as well. Instead, I’ll be against your ass next year. Are you ready to get your ass kicked this time around?” He then looks on surprised.

“Do I need to pull my championship trophy out and show you whose name is on it?” She couldn’t blame the comeback.

“For your information, I am getting one of my own this year.” He smiles as he wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“And I couldn’t be more proud. Keep doing what you’re doing – and avoid stupid shit like last week. I thought you would’ve learned after what you did to me.” She then rolls her eyes as she removes his arm from her shoulders.

“And here we go again. I’m done…” She then walks away as he reaches out for her hand but misses.

“Sarina, I’m joking…” She then slightly glances back.

“I know, but you’re still a pain in the ass. I’ll see you around, Bell.” She then continues walking, making her way to pit road to see the tail end of Cup qualifying with Chase ending up 11th at the end of the session.

Sunday, September 2 – Darlington Raceway

Running up front all day paid off for Chase at Darlington Raceway as he finished stage one in 10th, followed by a fourth in stage two, before picking up a fifth-place finish. It certainly wasn’t the win they had hoped for, but the car came home clean without any marks and their string of solid runs continued.

Though on the flight home, that wasn’t the discussion between Chase and Sarina. Instead, their minds were focused elsewhere.

“Shelley finally got back to me, by the way,” Sarina broke the silence as they flew above South Carolina. “She said that she was busy, but is still interested as ever as if we are-”

“We?” Chase questions, and Sarina nods her head in response.

“She said that the apology is owed to us both as her decisions proved costly to us both.” Chase lets out a sigh as it seemed to be coming at all directions now. However, he was set to stick to his guns of being in the know rather than leaving everything in the dark. “She added that we can let her know some days that we’re available and she’ll pick one.”

“Did you send her some ideas?” Sarina glances up from her phone.

“I was just typing that reply, actually. I had to double check your calendar.” Chase knew things were hectic right now with the playoffs approaching, and as Hendrick tried to finalize some of his sponsorship contracts.

“For the same reason that we’re going to meet with her is the same reason that I want to open the note from Alison.” Sarina wanted to begin cursing immediately after hearing the name.

“Then how about you get it over with when we get home, read the freaking note, and then burn it with the rest of her shitty manipulating lying games?” Sarina then takes a deep breath as Chase reaches over to place a hand on hers. “Chas-”

“Sarin-”

“Both hands on the controls, please…” He then does as instructed, fighting every instinct to comfort her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it to come out that way. It’s just every time I think about her hands on you, manipulating you, forcing you, and making you feel so twisted – it makes me sick and I want to do whatever to protect you. If she doesn’t kidnap me, she doesn’t get her hands on yo-”

“You can’t play the what if game. She was crazy enough that she would’ve found out a way to do it no matter what. That crazy is what drives me to stay a step ahead this time and see what she is thinking, trying to imply, so I can be ready.”

“You do what you need to do – just let me burn it afterwards for therapy. How is that?” He smiles and nods his head, accepting. “Chase, we’re going to be okay even if she does try something again.”

“I know. We’ve got each other, and we’ve weathered the storm. We’re still together and we’ll keep weathering whatever comes our way. We’ve got this.”

Friday, September 7 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

“This is ridiculous,” Sarina comments before curling up once again on the couch.

With Chase set to run both series races this weekend, they had flown out to Indianapolis as per their schedule to be there for Friday. However, all day, all that Sarina had been staring at was rain drops as it didn’t seem to be letting up with NASCAR eventually canceling both XFINITY Series practices scheduled for Friday.

“I could’ve stayed home curled up in my own comfy bed, with my teddy bear, in my super soft pajamas, with my cuddly fiancé,” she complains once again as she looks back towards the television.

“You would’ve missed spending time with me then,” Samantha offers as she glances up from her Ipad on the other couch. Kyle was off with some friends, so Samantha had come over to see Sarina, while Chase went over to Ryan’s for some games.

“I hate to kill the company bubble, but my bed overrules that right now.” Samantha slowly sits the Ipad down, now her eyes totally focused on her friend.

“You’re feeling that sick, huh?” Sarina slowly nods her head yes. “Have you gone to the care center to be checked out yet?” Sarina shakes her head no. “Okay, that’s not like you, or Chase for that matter. I mean, I thought he’d be all over making you do what you need to do.”

“Maybe it’s because I’ve hidden it so far this weekend…” Samantha’s jaw slowly drops. “I’m sorry but he’s busy enough with running both cars, and this whole madness over Alison sending some stupid apology note that I didn’t want to burden him more with something else to worry about.”

“Sarina…..” Samantha then stands up and makes her way over to the couch to sit right next to her. “You know once he finds out, he is going to be mad, right?” Sarina nods her head yes. “So I think that you need to say something like immediately.”

“That conversation may not go so smoothly.” Samantha was confused. Why did that matter if Sarina was sick? “This isn’t the first weekend I’ve felt like this. The past month, it’s been off and on, almost…like….”

“Something serious is wrong?” Sarina had pondered that, however she had a different theory in her mind already.

“I’m taking birth control, but it’s proven to not work with me before. We’re also using protection, but I know a condom or two broke. I saw it in the garbage pail. He didn’t say anything because he didn’t want to concern me knowing my thoughts after January.” Samantha slowly began to realize where Sarina was going with this and why she hid it.

“So are you saying that you’re pregnant?” Sarina slowly stands up, and makes her way to the cupboard. She then reaches up to the top corner, pulling out a box and placing it on the corner.

“I don’t know the damn signs or anything, but I’m pretty certain it is adding up to that, Samantha. That’s why I bought this the other night when I went to the store myself.” Sarina then glances back towards the box. “I just haven’t been brave enough to open the package and take the test.”

“If you want to take it – and I think you should based on what you’re saying, I’ll stay here with you for support.” Sarina looks back over at Samantha.

“There’s so many decisions to be made if it is positive. I am currently in the playoffs for my first championship and I don’t want to give that up. At the same time, I’m not supposed to be getting pregnant right now based on all these provisions. I’ve also had doctors tell me that I can’t carry a baby full term and should look into options.” Samantha knew of these discussions and knew it would be a long, interesting road. However, it all didn’t matter quite yet.

“How about we just begin with you taking the test?” Sarina slowly opens the box.

“If it is positive, I have a decision in my mind – even if everybody will tell me I’m crazy.” She then takes out the test kit. “I just hope everybody won’t be mad at me.” Samantha walks over, placing her hands on Sarina’s shoulders.

“I’ve been in your shoes with all these uncertainties. Any woman whose been in our situation understands what you’re feeling. Nobody will be mad at you as you were doing what you were supposed to be doing, and you’re only human – things happen. Sometimes it’s meant to be even if the timing and everything else is wrong.” Sarina glances down at her own stomach, before looking back at the pregnancy test.

“Welp, here goes nothing…..”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 110: Darlington

Monday, August 27 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Chase Elliott walks into the police station, wishing that this was out of the books and not part of the daily route already, and up to the desk.

“Can I help you, sir?” The secretary immediately questions as he clears his throat.

“I’m here to pick up a package,” he answers, remembering the message he had received a couple weeks ago. after much debate and discussion, he had decided to at least go pick it up. However, what he did next, that was still undecided.

“Ah yes, I did see something dropped off for you from Ferncliff from one of their patients.” Chase could only hope she remained a patient for a long time. “Can I have a piece of ID?”

“But I take it that you recognize me given your comme-”

“Protocol. I’m trying to not get fired today.” Chase couldn’t help but chuckle a little as he took his wallet out, handing over his driver’s license. He watched her jot down some information before handing him a piece of paper. “Signature, please.”

“Do you want a second one somewhere else for autograph purposes?” He couldn’t help but have some fun with this as she chuckles a little.

“Sorry to burst your bubble, Mr. Elliott, but I’m a Denny Hamlin fan.” His smile immediately fades as she hands him the package and driver license back. “Instructions in responding to the message or anything are included inside. Have a nice day.”

He was about to argue back in response on her favorite driver, but took a deep breath and left instead. He goes out to the truck, throwing the package on the passenger seat, before heading back out.

It wasn’t a long drive to get back to the house as he got out of the truck, snagging the package off of the seat. He ran his fingers over the edges with a sigh as he walked up to the door of the house, and headed inside.

He set the envelope on the table in the hallway before glancing into the front room, surprised when he saw Sarina curled up on the couch.

“Are you okay?” He questions and she shrugs her shoulders.

“My stomach is feeling a little better now,” she replies with a sigh. Shortly after he had left that morning to head over to Hendrick Motorsports, she found herself in the bathroom throwing up. it was why she had decided to call in to Kyle Busch Motorsports and take the day to relax, hoping it was just a bug going around or something she ate yesterday.

“Now now, are we just avoiding going into see Kyle today?” She shakes her head as she threatens to throw a pillow at him. “Being sick is actually a pretty good excuse, really. It’s even better when he won’t be in the next two days due to commitments either, so now you won’t see him to the weekend and you’re probably hoping he’ll be too busy or let it go.”

“I was fully ready to deal with whatever he had to send my way, thank you very much. That’s why I offered to do it over the phone, but he declined. However, Todd and I talked it out and agreed to at least play nice.” Chase was a little surprised the conversation went smoothly as he makes his way into the living room. “I don’t think I should’ve ate those pork chops after all last night. I should’ve gotten the Chicken Caesar like you did.”

“You can’t go wrong with chicken and salad, or Mexican for that matter.” She then shakes her head.

“Your farts at night would say otherwise.” He then goes to smack her as she just laughs. “Sorry, but you smell worse than rotten eggs some nights.”

“That’s coming from the girl that stunk up the bedsroom so bad one night that both our eyes were watering and we had to light the lavender candles to get rid of the smell.” She then lets out a sigh, as she remembered that night.

“Once in a blue moon is a lot better than your weekly stinks. By the way, what’s that envelope, anyway?” He then glances back towards the table in the hallway with a sigh.

“Allison’s note. I went and picked it up from the police station on my way home since it was on the wa-”

“What route did you take from Hendrick?” Chase smiles as he keeps his eyes locked on her. “Oh great….”

“I was over at GMS. Spencer hurt his shoulder so I’m actually going to be running both races this weekend.” She drops her jaw a little surprised, but totally understood given Chase’s friendship with Mike Beam.

“Have you opened the envelope?” Chase shakes his head no. “Are you going to?”

“I don’t know, yet. I may just throw it in the garbage or burn it.” Sarina smiles as she reaches for the matches on the coffee table.

“I offer to light the first match.” Chase was now surprised. “I’m sorry, but burning her ass out of our lives would be very satisfying after watching everything that you went through because of her. Do you realize that she tortured your ass for five mont-”

“I lived it, Sari-”

“And you realize that you dealt with repercussions – and still do at times, for the months since. Anything to erase her and the memory of her from our lives is beyond satisfying. By opening that envelope, you’re re-opening those wounds. Are you prepared for that?” Chase lets out a sigh as he looks down.

“Obviously I am not and you know that better than anyo-”

“So why did you go pick up the envelo-”

“Because I don’t want her to have the upper hand this time!” He then runs his hands through his hair as he takes a couple deep breathes. “She manipulated me into doing what she wanted on her terms by what she did. She manipulated me into her trap and feelings. She manipulated me into those moments together by kidnapping you. She played me perfectly, and I’m not getting play-”

“Clearly you’re not because her ass is locked away where it belongs, Chase. Besides, we’ve talked about this – it wasn’t your fault and you didn’t have a choice. Fuck, I even screwed up by believing her pregnancy story for a couple weeks. So I get what you’re thinking. However, you’re playing the game by accepting this move of a note to you. She probably wants you to read that note. She probably wants your sympathy. She knows you’re a sweet guy and perhaps you’ll bend over and let her go free-”

“There’s no way in hell that I am ever letting that happ-”

“I know that, you know that, and those close to you know that. However, she doesn’t know that and thinks that she can play on your sympathy card. Don’t give her the chance. Burn it, Chase.” Chase looks back towards the envelope, before looking over at Sarina.

“Not tonight, okay” She rolls her eyes as she sets the matches back down. “Just give me a bit of time…” She slowly nods her head yes, but immediately regretted the decision.

“I guess in the nick of sharing everything, I might as well come clean with your ass. I have a meeting at JR Motorsports tomorrow.” Chase was now caught offguard.

“I thought everything was great with you, Kyle, and Sa-”

“They love me, and I love driving for them. It’s a great match and like I’ve told you, I wouldn’t change it ever. However, I want to go for that next step in my career – XFINITY Series. I feel I’m ready based on my talent and what I was able to do earlier this year.” Chase knew she was right in those assumptions as she had actually surprised him with those limited races.

“I’ve never doubted your talent. So are you saying that Joe Gibbs does?” Sarina shakes her head no.

“I’ve been told that I’m talented, I’m great, everything is the perfect marriage. However, there’s no room for me at JGR. Christopher won’t get to Cup when he wants because of this situa-”

“I could always make Denny retire for him.” She then chuckles in response.

“I’m sure everybody would be fine with that, too. But you also have to consider Logan, Hailie Deegan, Todd Gilliland, Harrison Burton – there’s so much young talent in Toyota. They also have more backing from the manufacture than I do.” Chase could see that based on the sponsorship placement, and hype that had been happening. “I need to align myself better for the future….”

“Chevrolet will have room at Hendrick Motorsports when Jimmie retires, although that isn’t happening anytime soon if you ask me. However, I’m sure tides will shift over at Richard Childress Racing and Ganassi.” He then looks over at her. “So you’re going to JR Motorsports tomorrow for a meeting about running XFINITY next year full-time?” She nods her head.

“They’ve set the bar in the series so the equipme-”

“I won a championship with them, Sarina, so you don’t need to tell me. I think Dale and Kelley have a great team, and it’d be perfect – interesting but perfect.” Sarina was now a little confused. “Do you remember when we first started dating? Dale was so critical when you stopped by that day with me. He kept harping about the possible wrong reasons, and pushed so hard when we were in Colorado about our relationship. He still sometimes even pushes me about it, questioning about Erin just a couple weeks ago. And now he’s going to be your boss?”

“I can handle whatever he has to come my way for the sake of seeing your sexy ass every night alongside me and to win races. Besides, Kelley and Amy should keep him in line.” Chase then chuckled as he shook his head.

“No matter what those girls say, Dale will still do as he does. But hey, I don’t want to deter you from doing this because it’s a great opportunity, and I hope you land the ride.” He then lightly kisses her cheek.

Friday, August 31 – Darlington Raceway

“Were you at least comfortable?” Chad Norris asks Chase following the first XFINITY Series practice, which he had ended up ranked 11th.

“If I’m being honest, no,” Chase answers as Chad lets out a sigh. “It’s sliding too much in the center of the corner to the point I barely kept it off the wall. Can we try to get away from that before tomorrow?” Chad nods his head yes.

“I’ll go over everything as I think I have a couple ideas for the second practice.”

Chase smiles as he grabs a cold bottle of water, before making his way down to the Cup Series garage, ready for the first session. Sarina walks right alongside, wearing one of the throwback t-shirts that NAPA had released for the weekend with the car on it.

“I know that paint scheme means a lot to you, but I fall in love more every time I see it,” Sarina comments as they reach the Cup stall. “I mean, that yellow just pops perfectly off the blue.”

“I think it turned out better than expected,” Chase replies as he heads inside the stall. “I just hope everybody else likes it.”

“Trust me, they’re going to adore it just as much as I do when they see it on track and especially under those lights. I can’t wait for Sunday night.” She then places a hand on his shoulder. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Absolutely.” He then glances back at her. “I’m fine, trust me. Yes, it has meaning, but I’m not caught up in those emotions. I’m glad for the reasons that we’re doing this, and I’m ready to win this weekend. I hope you’re ready to celebrate.”

“You don’t need to ask that question, silly.” She then kisses his lips, before standing back as he heads off, set to get ready for the first Cup practice session.

“Okay, so that’s not too bad…” Alan comments as Chase walks over following the first practice session. Chase glances up at the chart, seeing their 18th.

“It could’ve been a lot bet-” Chase starts as Alan crosses his arms.

“A lot of people did qualifying trim runs. We’re going to do that next session. I wanted to focus on race runs and get the car comfortable.” Chase lets out a sigh as that wasn’t even where he wanted it to be quite yet. “Go ahead…”

“It’s loose, but not as loose as a normal loose.” Alan looks on a little confused. “It’s like when I get on the gas middle of the corner, it smacks the splitter and then gets loose, so I have to back out a bit and then get back into it.”

“So perhaps if I change the front travel, we’ll fix that condition. The only thing that I’m worried about is being tight.” Chase could see that given adjusting front end geometry, but that didn’t bother him right now.

“I want a secure feeling with the car, Alan. Give me that secure feeling by fixing the travel and then worry about the handling.” Alan nods his head accepting.

“Entry and center good?” Chase wasn’t quite set on that, but didn’t want to complain as it wasn’t the worse issue. “So we’ll do two qualifying trim runs, and then a race trim run to make sure the change is what you need.”

“Whatever you think is going to work….” Chase takes out his phone, glancing through a couple messages. He was surprised to see that Sarina wasn’t in the garage area, and even more caught off-guard with her back at the motorcoach.

“Do we need to talk again?” Chase glances up and shakes his head no.

“Everything is fine – well, that’s not quite the truth. Sarina hasn’t been feeling the best this week.” Alan shakes his head as it seemed they couldn’t catch a break no matter what.

“Wasn’t she not feeling good a couple weeks ago?” Chase nods his head yes, remembering. “I hope she’s not coming down with something again.”

“She says it feels nothing like that, just an odd icky feeling. I told her it could be because of what she ate.” Alan looks on a little surprised.

“You ate the same thin-”

“But she’s tailoring herself more to what I’ve tried to show her in my diet plan. We’re trying to find a compromise together so it’s easier on weekends but within what I know works for me. However, I think her compromising isn’t working for her.” Alan was now a little confused.

“How would chicken and salads burst that bubble?” Chase looks on shocked.

“I don’t just eat chicken and salads.”

“Oh, that’s right. I forgot about the stink bomb Mexican food.” Chase now wanted to smack Alan as Alan just chuckles. “Maybe it’s too big of an adjustment for her body, I don’t know. Maybe it’s close to her time of the month.”

“That’d be pain from cramps instead of icky.” Alan lets out a sigh as he shakes his head no.

“Sometimes you get one before the other. Don’t ask me; it’s just how woman work. I’ve seen it and deal with it. When that happens in my household, I simply do my best to support and not judge.” Alan places a hand on Chase’s shoulder. “Relax, she’ll be fine. If she says it’s nothing to worry about, then it’s nothing. She can take care of herself, Chase.”

“Is it wrong for me to worry?” Alan shakes his head no.

“That’s because you care…..”

“You look tired,” Sarina comments as she enters the garage stall following the second Cup practice, seeing Chase sitting there with a bottle of water.

“I’m glad to see you’re feeling better,” Chase replies as he takes a sip of the water.

“I take it you’re happier, too. Eighth in XFINITY practice, second in Cup practice has to make you feel better about your chances.” Chase nods his head in agreement. “Seriously, though, are you okay?”

“I didn’t realize how hot it was going to be, or how many laps I was going to be doing today. it just wiped me out a little bit more than normal.” Sarina then thinks back to the previous week.

“Bananas and grape fruit this past week were eaten, right?” Chase nods his head. “It’s not like you to be dehydrated – well, except Chicago, but that was due to lack of sleep more so.” She then pauses as she kneels before him. “The note from Alis-”

“I’ve been sleeping as normal without any issues or thoughts to her stupid note.” Chase was getting tired of hearing Sarina bring it up at every time that she could. “Listen, I’ll be fine. I’ll drink lots tonight, snack as I need to, and make sure to have a good lunch tomorrow.”

“I’ll also make sure to take care of you…” She then rubs his shoulders, leaning over his back as she kisses his cheek. “A nice massage will probably help those muscles feel better and you sleep.”

“I can never turn down a massage.” He then turns around to face her, their eyes finding each others. “Although, considering we have all night to ourselves…” He then runs his fingers along the edge of her jeans, as her hand lands on top of his.

“Rest, relaxation, quietness is needed so you’re ready for tomorrow. But good try.” She then gives him a kiss before turning and walking away.

“You can’t resist me all night…” She then looks back with a grin on her face.

“Are you sure about that, Mr. Elliott?” He then catches back up with her, swooping her off her feet into his arms.

“I know how to get you to do whatever I want.” He then kisses her lips, slowly setting her back down on the ground. His left arm wraps around the back of her holding her close, as his right hand finds its way to the edge of her jeans, running his finger along lightly. “Admit it….”

“Clyde…” She then pushes him back against the garage stall wall, reaching for the zipper on the firesuit, as his hand comes up off her jeans to hers.

“Not here. What if someone walks in?” He then leans her through the garage stall and into the No. 9 hauler, with the door barely shut closed before their hands were back on each other again.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 109: Chevrolet Silverado 250

Saturday, August 25 – Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

“Is this seriously happening right now?” Sarina questions as they walk over to pit road.

“NASCAR says it is happening as scheduled,” Rudy answers, not surprised by her shock as he was as well.

“Do they not realize the track is still damp from all that rain?” Rudy nods his head yes.

“That’s why we’re running rain tires.” Sarina rolls her eyes as NASCAR had never chosen to use rain tires in qualifying before today.

“They set the Pinty’s Series by their owner’s points. So why can’t they do the same for us?” Rudy rolls his eyes as he shrugs his shoulders.

“Does anybody ever understand what NASCAR does and doesn’t do? Besides, the fans have been hanging around all day and haven’t seen much on-track action. They want to give them something. So how about we be a good sport, put a smile on our face, and do what we do?” Sarina puts a mocking smile on her face as she looks over at the crew chief.

“When the back ass of that truck is stuck in a wall, don’t stop me when I kick NASCAR’s sorry asses.” She then walks away as Rudy just lets out a long sigh.

Despite Sarina’s initial concerns, she was able to put it all behind her during the qualifying session, ending the first round in second, followed by second in the second round to qualify on the front row alongside Ben Rhodes.

Sunday, August 26 – Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

Sarina makes her way out of the Kyle Busch Motorsports hauler, changed into her firesuit, ready for the day before her. She then stops immediately, though, smiling as she sees a familiar sight leaning back against a pole before her.

“I was wondering when you’d get here,” she comments, before walking over, wrapping both arms around him and kissing his lips. “I missed you.”

“I missed you, too,” he replies, taking in every bit of the kiss. “You haven’t done so bad this weekend.”

“It looked like you had fun at Road America…” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“Finish never mattered, just the experience. Dad had a smile on his face at the end of the race, I had fun on the spotter stand and the fans got entertained. It was good. Oh, and Christopher even earned a cheer from me.” Sarina chuckles, having seen the highlights from the race.

“I thought he and Justin were both screwed there.” Chase couldn’t help but nod his head once again.

“Now, how about you don’t try any stunts like that today?” She smiles as she looks straight into his eyes.

“I plan on leading every lap and scoring myself another damn win this year. How does that sound?” He smiles as he kisses her lips.

“Go get them!”

Starting in second, Sarina kept herself solidly in position throughout the first stage, eventually taking the lead from Ben Rhodes with 13 laps to get the stage win.

“Nice solid start,” Chase couldn’t help but comment to himself as he sat on the pit box. He honestly had to glance around and feel a little strange considering Rudy wasn’t on the box as usual, but rather standing at the top of the turn one grandstand to help with spotting from there.

The pit stop under the stage caution went solidly with Sarina coming off first to start fifth behind those who pitted before the end of the first stage. She made her way back to the lead quickly, taking the lead one lap after the restart, pacing the rest of the way to score the stage two victory.

“She wasn’t kidding,” Chase chuckles to himself as he takes a deep breath. Stage victories were nice, but now it was all about putting the rest of the puzzle together.

She would once again pit under the stage caution, once again coming off first, set to restart 11th this time around. Of course, that didn’t sit well with anyone on the team as they watched the laps tick by under a lengthy yellow flag to clean up oil spilt around the track.

“Where the hell is the red flag?” Chase began to question as he glanced around, letting out a sigh.

“Be aggressive, but don’t tear the nose off,” Rudy then spoke across the radio. Chase knew that Sarina didn’t need any reminders about being aggressive, but glad that Rudy mentioned taking care of the truck, too. It may have seemed like the laps were running out, but they still lots of time with the chaos that was set to ensue here.

She would begin to make her way forward, moving up to seventh by the caution with 15 laps to go for Michael Self going around. She’d then get a good restart, making a three-wide move off of turn 10 to make her way up to third behind Todd Gilliland and Johnny Sauter.

“Come on baby girl….” Chase says as he almost felt like climbing down the steps of the pit box so he could pace with the nerves he was beginning to feel.

She would then get by Johnny Sauter to move into second before the caution waved with five to go. Restarting second for overtime, she began to drop back initially off of Todd’s rear bumper. However, she was able to find her way back there through the final corners, right there entering the final three.

Then it happened. Contact, spin, and everything was over at that point. Rather than dreams of victory or even a runner-up, she had gotten herself an eighth-place finish.

Chase stood on pit road, letting out a sigh as he watched the scene before him.

He wasn’t surprised when he heard the interview that Todd gave with his frustration as he could sympathize with him. He wasn’t surprised to see both Marcus Richmond and David Gilliland walk over and voice their displeasure with the contact, either. It also didn’t surprise when even Rudy had something to say while they stood on pit road.

Through the chaos, Chase stood in the background and just let everything unfold as he tried to keep his thoughts in check. He felt bad for all the heat that Sarina was getting, but could he blame everybody? The move just seemed so far out of line, considering it was a teammate and the loss of points being in the playoffs right now. It was weird to find himself unable to side with her on what happened.

“Are you okay?” He finally questions as they leave pit road following the interviews and discussions, trying to keep his own opinion in check.

“Oh, so now you’re going to be concerned?” She snaps back in return, earning a sharp glance from him.

“Excuse me?” She almost wanted to chuckle as she kept her eyes focused forward rather than at him.

“I saw you on pit road, Chase. As everyone was approaching, critiquing me, saying what they wanted, venting, you just stood back and didn’t do a thing. you could’ve come over and offered a shoulder of support. You could’ve asked me then if I was okay. You could’ve been the supportive fiancé that I expected, just like I was when it came to your few incidents.” They reach the KBM trailer as they both head inside, with her slamming the door behind them.

“You’re frustrated and now you’re taking it out on me-”

“I expected you to perhaps say something to someone that you had my bac-”

“Maybe it’s because I don’t exactly agree with the move.” She then stops suddenly, turning back around to face him directly now with a chuckle of her own.

“Oh, is that the case Mr. Innocent?” He slowly nods his head with a sigh.

“I love you, and I support you entirely. I want to be there for you and I want to do whatever I can to help you, but sometimes we’re going to disagree. Look at your angle to the corner. It was clear there was going to be contact, and I don’t think that’s a fair situation when it’s your teammate.” She then shakes her head.

“So it was okay for you to dump Dillon because he wasn’t a teammate?” Chase shakes his head no.

“Ty had lost momentum due to being out of gas-”

“You still hit hi-”

“Look at my entry to the corner compared to yours. I took my usual line and he cut down. You cut the corner, sweetheart.” She knew that he was right, but she wasn’t ready to back down and admit defeat.

“You’re a racer just like me so you should understand this just like me. Any racer that doesn’t go for the gap or the win questions themselves later on. I wasn’t about to do that. Call me out on it, say I did the wrong thing – I don’t give a shit, Chase. I have no regrets.” She then makes her way to the back to change, slamming the door in his face as he lets out a long sigh.

“I’ll be out here for when you’re rea-”

“Just go and fly home without me. I’d rather not see you right now.” Chase leans against the door with another sigh.

“I’m going to stay here for 10 minutes. Let me know if you change your mind in the process….” He then twists the top of his own bottle of water, taking a long sip as he shakes his head.

He was right as about five minutes later, she caved and wanted to fly home with him, apologizing for how direct “some” of her comments were, but not changing her mind as to what she said.

The flight home started off quiet as she focused on her phone and music, while he was focused on the flight.

I found myself today
Oh, I found myself and ran away
But something pulled me back
The voice of reason I forgot I had

All I know is you’re not here to say
What you always used to say
But it’s written in the sky tonight

So I won’t give up, no I won’t break down
Sooner than it seems life turns around
And I will be strong even if it all goes wrong
When I’m standing in the dark I’ll still believe
Someone’s watching over me

I’ve seen that ray of light
And it’s shining on my destiny
Shining all the time, and I won’t be afraid
To follow everywhere it’s taking me

All I know is yesterday is gone
And right now I belong
To this moment, to my dreams

So I won’t give up, no I won’t break down
Sooner than it seems life turns around
And I will be strong even if it all goes wrong
When I’m standing in the dark I’ll still believe
Someone’s watching over me

It doesn’t matter what people say
And it doesn’t matter how long it takes
Believe in yourself and you’ll fly high
And it only matters how true you are
Be true to yourself and follow your heart

So I won’t give up, no I won’t break down
Sooner than it seems life turns around
And I will be strong even if it all goes wrong
When I’m standing in the dark I’ll still believe

So I won’t give up, no I won’t break down
Sooner than it seems life turns around
And I will be strong even if it all goes wrong
When I’m standing in the dark I’ll still believe
Someone’s watching over me

Someone’s watching over
Someone’s watching over
Someone’s watching over me
Yeah, oh, oh,
Someone’s watching over me

She takes her ear buds out, glancing over at Chase as she lets out a sigh.

“I’m sorry for snapping at you, by the way,” she breaks the silence.

“I knew you were frustrated and didn’t mean it totally directed at me,” he offers as she nods her head.

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I could’ve played my cards smarter and not went for the gap. But, that’s I was brought up.” Chase ponders the thought. It was odd of her to speak about her childhood in connection to a racing moment.

“What do you mean?” She takes a deep breath as she thinks it over.

“My father and I would go go-karting every weekend; that’s where my drive comes from and ability. He was the hardest coach that I ever knew, though. I remember there were times that I felt that I did so well, but yet he’d harp on me for not making that pass. He’d go, ‘Yeah you finished third, but you could’ve got second if you would’ve cut that apex better, or you could’ve got this if you would’ve shot that gap’ and he kept pushing me. My aggressiveness comes out of that, I guess.” Chase couldn’t help but agree as it made perfect sense.

“So because that’s been engraved in you, are there times that you do it to yourself now?” She nods her head in agreement.

“That’s why when we have those good runs but miss it by a bit, I may be frustrated on pit road because those words keep playing in my mind. Those words were there those last few laps, plus wanting to be that playoff lock. Who wants to enter Talladega needing a good run badly?” She then takes a long deep breath. “I just need to relax, and remember that solid performances and a good team got me here. I need to do what I’ve been doing all year and I’ll be fine. I also need to survive Kyle’s lecture on Monday.” Chase chuckles in response.

“Are you sure you’re ready?” She shakes her head no.

“I thought it was bad at Phoenix and that didn’t screw a championship situation. Can you imagine that even worse?” She then glances over. “Can you save me?” He chuckles.

“I wish I could, but you’re going to have to weather the storm. Oh, and Todd as well. Hopefully calmer heads will prevail.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 108: Johnsonville 180

Thursday, August 23 – Nashville, TN

Ryan walks over to the table, placing a glass of Jack Daniels and coke before Chase, before sitting down with his own. The ladies were each drinking a Shirley Temple as Sarina wasn’t seeing anything on the menu of interest, and felt bad if Lindsay wasn’t the only one allowed to drink.

“I still can’t believe you’re not going to Canada with her,” Ryan comments as he takes a sip of his drink.

“What about those romantic CN Tower dinner plans?” Lindsay adds as Chase glances over at Sarina.

“I’m sorr-” He starts, starting to feel bad as she places a hand on his shoulder.

“Have I yelled at you about this once?” Sarina questions. Have I told you that I was mad or upset? Have I tried to stop you?” Chase shakes his head no. “Then I have no problem with this. I understand you not wanting to miss your dad being back behind the wheel, and I have my guys to  look out for me. Besides, you’ll be there Sunday and we can go out for dinner after the race if everything goes well.”

“You know, only the best win in Canada,” Ryan says as he leans his head on Chase’s shoulder. “We’re part of a very elite group.”

“How does Austin Cindric figure into that group?” Chase wonders, earning a questionable glance from Ryan.

“Austin isn’t that bad of a driver.” Chase chuckles a little. “Really?”

“Did you see what he’s done in the 60 for Roush?” Ryan nods his head.

“Have you seen what he’s done for Penske? Trust me when I say he’s going to run well this weekend. That’s why I’ve been trusted to spot for him – so help me…” The group lets out a chuckle. “Besides, that car is cursed as everybody has wrecked in it, even Ty Majeski and you, yourself, have said that man can drive.” Chase shakes his head no.

“I’ve bragged upon people – and still say Casey Roderick and Bubba Pollard are among the best, but I don’t recall mentioning Majeski.” Sarina smiles as she wraps her fingers around her glass.

“Oh, so you’re admitting that Bubba is talented now?” She questions and he glances at her. “I’m sorry, but you always talked down him in previous conversations.”

“I never said he couldn’t drive, though,” Chase reminds her as Ryan just smirks.

“Chase is just jealous that he offered you a ride first before he did,” Ryan comments, earning a finger from Chase, which brings chuckles around the table.

“So wait a minute – you almost didn’t drive for Chase?” Lindsay interrupts, and Sarina nods her head. “Let me guess – the crush caused you to say yes.”

“Oh no, the equipment and opportunity did because I liked what he was offering,” Sarina says.

“In more ways than one,” Ryan adds, earning a smack from Sarina as Chase just laughs. “Oh don’t you laugh over there. You only asked her because of the crush.” Chase shakes his head no.

“Dad and Ricky talked about the idea for a while of starting a team,” Chase refreshes their memory. “I just suggested a driver who was talented. Just like I told Sarina, I didn’t ask her because I had a crush on her. I asked her because she could win, she could drive, and she knew how to work hard. She deserved a chance. I just didn’t envision her driving for Kyle Busch.”

“I wouldn’t change that, though,” Sarina offers with a smile.

Admittedly, the past two years had been amazing in being able to work with likes of Rudy and Marcus, while having Kyle’s guidance and Samantha’s friendship.

Friday, August 24 – Road America

“Is this really happening?” Chase questions as they walk through the garage area.

“NASCAR says I can’t run unless I attend the rookie meeting,” Bill reminds him as Chase just chuckles to himself.

“I don’t think you could’ve ever had someone bet on having Katherine Legge, Conor Daly, and you in a NASCAR rookie meeting together.” Bill couldn’t help but nod his head in agreement.

“Rules are rules….” They make their way inside the NASCAR trailer, as Bill accepts the hand-out from the official reading it over.

“So when do we just let your dad run the meeting?” Christopher questions as Chase chuckles a little. “Did you give all your notes to Sarina ahead of this weekend?”

“She doesn’t need my help at CTMP,” Chase replies. “She finished second last year, remember?” Chase could still picture the emotions on her face after the race was over, knowing she’d missed locking into the playoffs by just that little bit.

“As long as she stays out of trouble on the last lap, she’ll be fine…” Chase nods his head in agreement. “By the way, I’m sure you heard that she invited me to the wedding.”

“Yeah – both you and Morgan actually.” Christopher remembered seeing that on the invitation.

“I hope you don’t min-”

“Are you kidding me? Seriously?” Christopher looks over at Chase.

“Things haven’t always been smooth between us due to all the discussi-”

“Other people may be saying that you and Sarina are doing this and that, should be together, possibly seeing each other. It’s the same stuff that I’m hearing about me and Erin. Do you know what I have to say to that? I don’t care. I know where she stands, I know where I stand, and I get the friendship you both have together. there’s no problems, Christopher.” Christopher smiles a little.

“I just didn’t want to cause any issues….” Chase places a hand on the young man’s shoulder.

“You’re welcome around Sarina anytime that you want. It doesn’t bother me, okay?” Christopher nods his head before Chase makes his way out of the meeting quietly.

Chase makes his way back to the garage after the second practice, pretty satisfied. It sucked the first session had rain as he knew it would’ve been critical to get another 50 minutes in. However, even seeing his dad ranked 26th on the chart, he couldn’t be upset.

“Are you having fun?” He asks after Bill gets done debriefing things over with Chad.

“More than I thought I would,” Bill answers. “I actually have to thank you for bringing my name up.” Chase smiles as the key for the weekend was having fun, and enjoying the experience. “It’s a bigger difference than I even could’ve expected with everything that has changed. So much stuff that I didn’t think I’d have to get used to.”

“You’re not doing that bad, either. You’re getting quicker each lap. Keep that up in the race, along with staying out of trouble, and we should have a decent day.” Bill nods his head in agreement.

“To finish a road course you must first just keep all four Goodyears on the pavement.” Chase smiles, remembering that advice the first time he went road course racing. He then surprised himself with a win up at CTMP that weekend.

“You’ve also got my ear to talk off if you need any more tips – which even feels awkward saying after all the years you’ve helped me.” Chase then glances at his phone, seeing the text message from Sarina as he replies.

“I just can’t believe you’re getting married in four months.” Chase smiles as he glances back up. it still felt just like yesterday when he popped her the question.

“It’ll be here before we know it…” Bill places a hand on Chase’s shoulder.

“I don’t get what happens in your life – married, older, fatherhood, years from now – just know that you can always come to me for advice.” Chase nods his head accepting.

“I don’t ever forget that I can lean on you, if I need you.” Chase gives him a hug before letting Bill get back over to the crew to discuss things over some more.

Saturday, August 25 – Road America

Bill sits up on the counter, glancing over at Chase as he watches him curiously.

“Something is on your mind…” Bill comments, not even getting Chase’s attention in return. “I know we qualified 23rd, but it’s not ba-”

“I’m not complaining as it’s a fine spot to start from all things considered,” Chase cuts him off as he keeps his eyes focused in the other direction.

“Are you missing Sarina?” Chase shakes his head no. “Did she struggle in practice?”

“Led the first session, seventh in the second.” Bill was now growing frustrated as it seemed nothing would get his attention.

“So what is on your mind?” Chase finally looks towards his father.

“You have a race to focus on. I can worry about this la-”

“We’ve got a whole hour until the race, Chase. We’ve got time to talk and I can tell this is really bugging you.” Chase lets out a sigh, wishing the conversation would’ve already disappeared.

“I got a notice last week that Alison has written a note that she would like for me to receive and read.” The same reaction as Alan had a week ago began to appear with Bill as it didn’t take long for frustration.

“I thought the idea of her being locked away in a mental institution was closure, an ending, and a way for her to never play havoc in your life again. However, we’re opening that door with a notice? Why are they are even contacting you?” Chase glances back away.

“They say it’s important, so I’m guessing it may be an apology considering she realizes what she did.” Bill almost wanted to laugh.

“I’m sorry, but there’s not a damn single word that would make up for the shit that she put you through for months, Chase.” Chase was taken aback by how direct his father’s words were, but understood where he was coming from.

“Trust me, I could never forgive and look past what happ-”

“Then why are you even entertaining this? As soon as they reached out, I would’ve told them to stick the note where the sun doesn’t shine.” Chase almost wanted to chuckle in response.

“She was able to get the advantage on me by playing my emotions, and playing me totally. She used this is a gam-”

“…which you’re continuing to entertain by accepting this no-”

“Or am I getting the upper-hand by not letting her get a single thing over me and knowing where everything stands? I don’t want to be outsmarted again.” Bill now saw everything came from the regrets that still seemed to remain from what happened.

“I still say that you should ignore every bit of it and focus on moving forward, like we’ve talked about previously. But hey, it doesn’t matter what I say as you’ll do whatever you want.” Chase looks back to his father with a bit of sympathy written in the eyes.

“I still appreciate you hearing me out, and offering your advice on the situation, though. I also take it into consideration when figuring out what to do.”

“I always told you to be nice to your elders, and show people respect. If you’re unable to tell someone where to stick it, please let me do it because I have other words for them.” Chase rolls his eyes, knowing that wouldn’t end well especially if his mom got involved, too.

“I’m a big boy, Dad. I can handle it…”

Chase couldn’t complain about his vantage point for the race, as he takes a deep breath, ready to focus on the task at hand. It was all about having a solid day, and things started off that way as Bill was up inside the top-20 in the first stage. However, everything wouldn’t stay that way as he’d make contact with the back of somebody when Brandon Jones got spun with four laps to go.

“Significant front end damage,” was the report from the pits, which easily could be seen on the No. 23 Chevrolet. Chase could only roll his eyes, but knew there was a long way to go.

After finishing the stage in 19th, the GMS Racing team went to work in fixing the damage under the pit stop, ultimately putting Bill back to 33rd after pit stops. It’d be slow moving through the second stage, only earning a single spot to finish 22nd. However, it was better than the situation dealt for Austin Cindric and Ryan, with Cindric breaking with five laps to go while running in the top-five.

“You guys were running good,” Chase offered to Ryan before Ryan left the turn to head back to the pits.

“We’re not going to pit here,” Chad comes over the radio shortly after, causing a small panic to set in for Chase. he knew that’d make for an interesting restart as many of the guys up front had pitted, putting a bunch of fast cars behind them. buckling in, he knew there’d be a lot to spot through this back half of the race.

Restarting seventh, it didn’t take long for Bill to fall back outside of the top-20 immediately. however, Chase found himself slightly distracted after watching the contact ensue between Christopher and Justin.

“Nice job, Christopher!” Chase said to himself, trying to get his focus back on where it was supposed to be. He now had even more questions for Eddie and how he remained focus in most of these long races.

Focused back on the No. 23, Chase watched as his father began to make up ground late in the race. However, it seemed everything went downhill as while running 17th, he watched the No. 23 go around for a spin with seven to go.

“Dang it,” he commented to himself. “Chaos is set to happen here; we may be alright still…”

It seemed the race continued to go downhill from there, as he watched the No. 20 of Bell go around with five to go, spun out of fourth courtesy of Matt Tifft.

“I feel like I hit everything but the lottery,” Chase heard as he returned to pit road after the race, having a chuckle himself. The smile on his father’s face made all of the frustrations from the day go away immediately as all that mattered was having fun, and that had happened. Oh, and they got their top-20 as warranted, with a 20th-place finish.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 107: Thunder Valley

Thursday, August 16 – Bristol Motor Speedway

Christopher Bell walks down pit road, leaning casually back against the No. 18 truck.

“Can I help you, Mr. Bell?” Sarina asks as she turns around and notices him standing there. She already knew why he was there, having gotten the pole while she qualified seventh. She wasn’t surprised that he was set to rub in it.

“I was just wondering if you needed some tips for tonight,” Christopher answers as she just rolls her eyes.

“It’s one thing to be fast for a single lap; it’s another to be fast for the entire race tonight. We’ll see whose left standing at the end of the night.” Christopher nods his head, accepting. “By the way, you told me that I’d be embarrassed when I lost this bet. What do you have in mind?”

“A certain special costume – as long as your boyfriend won’t throttle my ass for making you wear it.” She then looks at him a little concerned. “A little skanky rainbow outfit…”

“Oh really?” He then shows her a photo on his phone as she just smirks back in return. “I see you’ve done your research. I didn’t take as long to find something as you did…” She then pulls up a coconut bra and skirt. “You’re on still, Mr. Bell.”

“You just want me to wear that so you can admire my ass….” He then walks away as she chuckles, rolling her eyes.

Sarina started off the race that night strong, running inside the top-10 through the first stage. Unfortunately, the end of stage pit stop did not work in their favor, as Sarina fell back to 14th.

“Are you kidding me?!?” Chase questions out loud as he rolls his eyes sitting on the pit box. He even had to admit these pit stop issues were getting annoyed and a talk with Kyle was becoming more warranted, especially before the playoffs.

She would battle back throughout the second stage, making slight contact with Myatt Snider coming to the checkered, who’d for a spin.

“Son of a bitch was pinching his ass as close as he could to me,” she complained immediately on the radio.

“Calm down – he’s done and forgotten now,” Rudy tries to encourage her. However, Chase knew the frustration wasn’t just from the incident, but the fact that the short track she thought she’d perform well had turned into a rough night.

She wouldn’t make much ground on the restart, which inspired Rudy to take two tires on a late-race pit stop, allowing to come off pit road in second.

“It doesn’t hurt to gamble, right?” Rudy offered, and Chase nods his head in agreement.

She was able to get the lead on the restart initially, but faded back to fifth shortly thereafter, ultimately crossing the finish line in eighth. More importantly, she had beaten Christopher who fell out of the race with a mechanical issue.

“I don’t even want to talk about it….” She commented after the race after she got out of the truck, putting her helmet and gloves in the bag. Certainly this wasn’t how you wanted to head into the playoffs off of a so-so run.

“Does this make you feel better?” Christopher questions, as he comes around the corner, wearing the outfit in question. There was immediate laughter from every crew member surrounding them, including some taking out their phones for photos.

“Thank you for being a good spot about this…” Sarina even had to chuckle herself as she glanced him over. “After having the mechanical issue, I almost feel bad about making you do this.”

“The smile on your face makes up for it.” He then wraps an arm around her shoulder. “You’ve got a good team around you. Just take a deep breath, remember you have speed, remember you’ve ran well, and the playoffs will go wonderfully.” He then glances over at Chase. “I just have to make sure to beat your fiancé there tomorrow night.”

“Good luck with that,” Chase says with a chuckle in response as Christopher walks away.

“I’d rather see you in that grass skirt, by the way,” Sarina offers as she cuddles back up close to Chase. “I think your ass would make it look much better.” Chase just laughs as he glances over at her.

“Sweetheart, I’m not the ones with the curvy hips to make it flow good….” She just smiles back in response, kissing his lips.

“Promise me you’ll make the rest of this weekend better for us?” Chase nods his head as he wraps his arms around her.

“I’ll do my best to snag another win….”

Friday, August 17 – Bristol Motor Speedway

Chase climbed out of the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Camaro, walking over to Alan with a smile on his face as he leaned back against the pit box. Two practices in the books, and he had topped the first one with their qualifying trim, while placing eighth in the second.

“That’s much better than anything you gave me last week,” Chase comments as Alan just smiles back in response.

“I like the sounds of that,” he offers as he looks over his notes. “Now just back up that time in qualifying and you’ll be my hero.” Chase nods his head, in agreement, as it would be nice to start up front Saturday night. It was certainly a nice distraction from the message that morning. “The smile just faded from your face…..”

“I’m still feeling good about how we practi-”

“But something is on that mind of yours.” Alan walks over, setting down the clipboard, as he keeps his eyes on Chase. “When you start acting like this, it’s something serious that turns into something I should be nervous or worried about. So how about for a change you warn me ahead of time?”

“I always told you before when something was going on?” Alan nods his head in agreement.

“So why is this time any different?” Chase glances down with a sigh. Perhaps if he avoided saying something out loud, it wouldn’t be true. “You told me about Shell-”

“This doesn’t deal with her. Sarina hasn’t said anything since showing me the note.” Alan was now even more concerned as that didn’t leave many options on the table. “The mental institution for the criminally insane got aho-”

“What in the hell did you do to warrant that phone call?!?” Chase’s jaw drops as he looks at the crew chief.

“I didn’t do anything, thank you very much. It’s about Alison.” Alan rolls his eyes as he was hoping to not hear that name ever again once she was locked away. “They have a note that she has written for me, that they’d like me to receive and read. It’s up to me what I want to do with it.”

“And?” Chase glances down as he had thought about it back and forth a couple times.

“She twisted the game so many different ways, and made everything so screwed up that I don’t want to retouc-”

“Then tell them that you don’t want to read it, or have anything else to do with her. It’s that simple, Chase.” Chase knew that was the easy way out. However, he couldn’t forget his words just a week earlier.

“But I can’t just do that because part of me wants to stay in the loop in case she does get released.” Alan almost wanted to let out a scream in response.

“We’re not re-opening that door, nor are we allowing anything to happen – as discussed last week. If we’re doing that, why do we have to worry about what she’s thinking or a note?” Chase knew it seemed ridiculous to be thinking what he was now.

“Because maybe that note will tell me how far she is along, and whether I need to worry now or lat-”

“That’ll only make you more paranoid, and anxious. Moving forward is about putting it behind you, and easing all of those worries away. You’re just putting yourself back in that box by thinking of these theories, and wondering.” Alan takes a deep breath, knowing a straight out lecture would help neither of them. “Did you take my advice in set up another appointment?”

“Yeah, I did, but when I got the notification about the note, it just took me right back.” Alan places a hand on Chase’s shoulder.

“I can’t tell you what to do and what not to do as this is your life. I can only tell you what I would do, and give you my reasoning. I’ve done that. Now you need to decide. If it gives you peace of mind in knowing where she stands and keeping tabs, then go forth and read what she has to say. If you are definitely ready to move forward and not think about her again, or are scared of getting warped up in her world, don’t accept.” Alan then takes his hand off of Chase’s shoulder as he picks the clipboard back up. “I don’t know what else to tell you.”

“Thank you, I guess….” Chase then takes a deep breath, feeling as though he’d gotten nowhere as the crew chief walks away.

“It was close,” he told the media after qualifying. “It wasn’t perfect. But I got through 1 and 2 pretty good and maybe gave up a little bit in 3 and 4. But I mean, heck, two-hundredths of a second. I don’t really know how to characterize that. But, I just hate we couldn’t grab a pole. We put a lot of effort into it. Our KKB Chevrolet was fast today and if there was ever a place still, with these closer segment times on pit road, that you want that first pit box, this is it. So, that would have been big. But, we’ll go get it from second.”

He then walks over to Alan, giving him a quick high-five. So far, things were going solidly as he qualified 13th for the XFINITY race, followed by second for the Cup race.

“I could’ve gotten back in it a touch sooner in 3 and 4,” he comments as he sits down on the pit wall.

“I’d rather start second than you get in it sooner and lose time because it kicks sideways,” Alan offers as Sarina hands Chase a bottle of water.

“You’ve been doing a lot of laps today,” she says as he gives her a puzzled look. “I’m just looking out for you.” He rolls his eyes, knowing this went back to earlier this year.

“Trust me – I’m not doing Chicago all over again,” he assures her, followed by a quick kiss.

“A little tender loving care never hurt anyone though,” Alan says before walking away from the pair.

“You don’t need to worry about me. I am taking care of myself.” She then places a hand on his leg.

“Can’t a girl look out for her man without being accused of doing the wrong thing?” He then lets out a sigh. Maybe it wasn’t too bad that she was looking out for him. “Besides, you’re always taking care of me, and I appreciate that. I’d like to return the favor.”

“I appreciate it, but I’m fine…” She nods her head, accepting. She then lets out a sigh, rubbing her stomach. “But are you okay?”

“I don’t know. I’ve just felt meh at times today…” He then looks at her a little concerned.

“I hope you’re not coming down with anything.” She shakes her head no as she glances at her own bottle of water.

“I’ve been taking care of myself, and been avoiding anybody whose sick. I don’t want to repeat my stunt this year, either. Maybe it was just something I ate today.” Chase shrugs his shoulders, knowing that was a good possibility.

The XFINITY Series began, and off to a weird start at that with Kyle falling out of the race after getting too high and into the wall. If anybody didn’t get that it was fine line running the top groove, there was their lesson right there.

Sarina didn’t let that stay in her mind, though, instead focusing on the No. 23 Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Chevrolet. She watched as Chase made his way up to the front through the first stage, staying out under the caution that came out with 11 laps to go in stage two. Restarting third, he battled hard, ending the second stage in third.

“Solid start,” she commented quietly to herself, still feeling out of place with the GMS Racing team. It wasn’t like the usual joking that she could have with Jordan and Josh during Cup races.

Restarting 12th after pitting at stage end, he made his way forward with the new rubber back up to third. He’d get alongside Justin Allgaier for second as the laps began to count down.

“I think I have a loose wheel,” Chase reported over the radio, earning a silent curse from Sarina.

“Are you sure?” Chad Norris asks, almost earning a slap upside the head from Sarina.

“Pretty sure…” Chase would begin to fade back as he tried to make it through the final laps without an unscheduled pit stop. The caution would then come out with two laps to go for Daniel Hemric getting into the wall. “Absolutely certain.”

“Guys are a little skeptical on the left front…” Now Sarina wanted to scream, especially after Chad’s comment earlier.

“I’m coming in….” Having faded back to fifth after the restart, Sarina couldn’t deny his decision. It was better to save the racecar since they weren’t in it for points, and the chance to win had faded away.

Returning back on-track for the restart, Chase would make his way back up to eighth by the checkered flag.

“They’ve got fast cars,” Chase comments after the race as he gets changed. “I just have no luck in them.” Sarina crosses her arms.

“I wanted to smack Chad when he asked if you were sure about that tire being loose,” Sarina adds, earning a glance from Chase. “He knew right away as the tire changer came up to say something when you complained, but yet goes and says that. Isn’t there any God damn respect anymore?”

“I’ll make sure to have a talk with Maurice (Gallagher) and Mike (Beam) about that, okay?” Sarina nods her heads, accepting.

“Hopefully your dad has better luck next week.” Chase couldn’t help but agree, but knew it’d be fun no matter where Bill finished.

“Yeah, not quite enough of something,” Chase comments post-race to the media. He was able to lead some laps early, before fading through the middle portion of the race, and making it back up at the end for a third-place finish. “I don’t know, just got tight there after the run that we had the lead and once we got it freed back up, but we kept getting the bottom on all the restarts and it was just hard to go forward and what not. But, man, that thing was really fast there at the end. It felt like we were making up some ground on those guys.”

He answers some more questions before walking over to the team on pit road, giving them each a high-five as they had given him a solid car and something to work with.

“Enjoy your off-weekend,” he tells Alan with a hug. “Don’t relax too much…” Alan chuckles as he glances back at the guys.

“Do you really think we’re going to do that?” Alan offers as he looks back to Chase. “The list of things we have to do this week will keep us busy.”

“Well, make sure to take at least a little bit of time for yourself.” Alan nods his head, accepting.

“Have fun at Road America.”