Friday, May 24 – Hendrick Motorsports
As per the usual tradition during Charlotte Motor Speedway weekend, the Friday was reserved for fan day festivities. As a result, both Chase and Sarina were at their respective shops, signing autographs for the fans and participating in the activities.
Thankfully, Chandra had been gracious – along with Lydia’s big help of course, to watch Abigail while the parents were busy with the fans.
“Mommy, she grabbed my finger again,” Lydia comments as they lay on the floor together. Chandra had set up the blanket with her toys surrounding her, allowing Lydia to sit and play with her.
“That’s what babies do,” Chandra explains as she looks over at them. “They grab things because they’re curious about what they look like, smell like, and even taste like. That’s how they get used to you and things.” Lydia looks over at Abigail a little confused, before looking back at her mother.
“Did I do that?” Chandra chuckles, nodding her head. “Really, Mama?”
“Yep, you can even ask your dad when he’s done.”
“How do you know how to answer her questions?” A new voice interrupts the pair as Sarina walks over, kneeling down at their level.
“I just try to be honest, and keep it as simple as possible,” Chandra explains back in return. She was actually surprised to see Sarina there, surprised how quickly the day had gone by.
“I hope I can remember how to answer all of Abigail’s questions…” Chandra just looks over with a simple smile, remembering the same fears with Genieve.
“Don’t worry – you and Chase will be fine. You have nothing to worry about.” Sarina could only hope that Chandra and Samantha were right in their continued assurances, despite the amount of times that she expressed them. “By the way, she was very behaved once again today. She ate no problem at all, let me change her without any issues even if Lydia told me she was stinky, and she’s been very playful.”
“She loves moving around. Chase and I will go to hold her somewhere, and she just wants to bounce on our legs like no tomorrow.” Chandra nods her head, having noticed that in the time that she had spent with Abigail.
“I still have the jolly jumper somewhere in the basement that Lydia used. You can hang it in the doorway, and she can bounce up and down all day long. I’ll get Jimmie to undig it, or do it myself, as it’d be perfect for her.” Sarina smiles as it was nice to have friends willing to do that for them. “For now, though…look….”
“Oh my gosh…” Sarina couldn’t help but let her smile grow wider, as Abigail began to push herself up off of her stomach, onto her side, rolling over onto her back.
“Did she just do that all by herself?” A new voice chimes in, which the ladies recognized immediately.
“Yes she did, Chase,” Sarina replies with amazement in her voice, as she reaches over to tickle Abigail’s belly.
“She’s already growing up too quickly….” Both of the girls just chuckle in response.
“It won’t be long now until she’s crawling, sitting up on her own and talking….” Chase could only look on amazement, not believing that it was happening so quickly. Even though she was already four months, it seemed like she was just born yesterday in his eyes.
Friday, May 24 – Charlotte Motor Speedway Dirt Track
After their exciting day, the couple made the trip out to the dirt track – courtesy of an invite from Brad Sweet.
While the sprints were fun to watch on the TV screen, it certainly was nothing like being able to see them up close. From the roar of the raw speed, to watching your favorite driver on the edge of control as dirt is slung in your face, it was certainly an experience to take in. Though on top of that, they were treated to a show with the front runners close together all race long right down to the checkered flag.
Although Kyle Larson was able to lead the most laps, he wasn’t able to capture the win, ultimately being passed with five laps to go by Giovanni Scelzi. Brad Sweet also was able to put together a strong run, scoring a fourth-place finish.
“I think I understand why you want to try one of these sprint cars one day,” Sarina comments as they walk up to Brad’s car in the pits. “That was a thrilling race to watch. Say, when you put that deal together with Rick, can you squeeze my name in there?”
“Let me just focus on getting myself in one of these and then we’ll see,” Chase reasons with her, with Brad chuckling as he overhears the conversation.
“I still say that we should just get NAPA to put the whole deal together,” Brad comments, recalling a previous discussion they had. “Rossi, yourself, and me – oh heck, throw Ron Capps in there for good measure, too. Each of us can try an IndyCar, a NASCAR racecar, a sprint car and a dragster to see who can beat the others.” Chase wasn’t about to argue with that idea, knowing it’d be cool to also try a dragster on top of the sprint car.
“You just want to drive Rossi’s car…” Brad looks over with a grin on his face that said everything.
“Can you blame me, though?” Chase chuckles, shaking his head no. “For the record, I wouldn’t mind letting your lady drive my sprint car and I bet Dale would be more open to the idea than Rick has been.” Sarina couldn’t help but agree as Chase’s face had a bunch of nerves written on it.
“Have you seen this girl behind the wheel of a racecar? She can be a little crazy at times.” The comment earned him an immediate playful punch from her, with him rubbing his arm afterwards. “And she’s abusive.”
“I’m surprised that she didn’t stick with Bell…” Chase just rolls his eyes, not surprised by the comment as it was common for Brad to sneak something in relation to Christopher in there. “Hopefully you can kick some ass on Sunday as I plan on going to victory lane tomorrow night.”
“Oh really? So you think that you can beat Larson now?” Brad was actually taken back by the comment.
“And here I thought that you were a fan of mine, but meanwhile you’re just using me for a chance to drive my car….” Chase laughs as Brad walks away, playing off the disgusted with his comment look. “We’ll see whose talking when I bring him the trophy on Sunday to show him.”
“Oh please do, because I will be showing you my new addition.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Rossi completed the trifecta,” Sarina adds. “He’s certainly talented and knows how to drive his ‘baby girl’ to her limits.” She then takes her own deep breath. “I just wish that I was right up there in that conversation, too.”
“Give it time,” Chase tells her as he warps an arm around her shoulders. “You’re getting stronger behind the wheel of that car each week, always learning something. You’ve gone from running top-10, to top-five. It’s only a matter of time before you’re celebrating in victory lane.”
Saturday, May 25 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
Alan walks over, looking at his driver slightly confused, before leaning back against the toolbox to observe over the crew. With the first practice in the books – having finished up in the 15th position, the guys had a strict list of things to check over on the No. 9 Chevrolet, with adjustments to make, ahead of the second session.
“Did you hit your arm off something in the car?” Alan wonders, earning a head shake in return from his driver. “Okay, because it looks sore considering you keep holding it today…”
“Let’s just say that my daughter’s kicking habit became a problem this morning,” Chase comments, earning a confused glance from the crew chief. “She woke up before Sarina and I really wanted to get up this morning. So like we’ve done plenty of other times, I laid her between us to just relax for awhile. While, she got kicking and she kicked me in the arm pretty hard as she rolled over.”
“Did you just say that she rolled over?” Chase nods his head, still smiling as he thought back to the first time on Friday. “Oh my, she’s already starting….”
“Don’t remind me, please. I don’t think I’m ready for her to grow up.” Alan chuckles back in response, but could relate to the feeling with his boys.
“Relax, she’s still only four months. 18 years is still a long time away, Chase. You’ve still got plenty of moments to come with her.” Chase knew that, but still it felt sometimes it was moving too quickly. “Also, try and keep your arms from being kicked…”
“I’ll do my best…” He then lets out a sigh as he glances back up at the speed chart. “Now, can we talk about the practice?”
“I don’t want you to look up at the speed chart again. I don’t care where we’re ranked because right now, it’s brutal hot and slick, whereas we’re going to be running the race tomorrow in the evening. So rather than focus on handling correctly, I want to build adjustability into the car. I want to know what adjustments I can make, how you react to them, and have a notebook for when the track conditions change tomorrow.” Chase wasn’t about to argue with the crew chief’s theory, as it made sense when you thought about everything together. Still, it wasn’t the most encouraging thing to not even be in the top-10 right now.
“Well, it felt better the first run compared to the second run. Does that help you?” Alan nods his head, as he reaches up for the tablet to look over the data as they continued discussing.
Sarina leans back against the car, taking a long sip of the ice cold water that Dave had handed her following the qualifying run. Just like they had been doing, it was another solid performance as she’d start 10th later on that afternoon. However, it was 10th – not the top-five that she desired.
“Make sure that you’re drinking a lot of water today and keeping yourself hydrated,” Dave reminds her as she simply nods her head in agreement. She didn’t need to be told, considering she could feel the heat through her firesuit. It was just the beginning of the hot summer to come.
“Don’t worry – heat has been on my mind all morning long,” Sarina replies. “That’s why Bill and Cindy have Abigail right now in the motorcoach keeping her nice and cool. I then told them, along with making sure Chase understood, that she needs her hat and sunscreen.” Dave wasn’t surprised to hear that Sarina was taking care of everything all angles in relation to her daughter.
“I don’t think you’d need to tell Bill and Cindy considering they have experience, but it’s good to know that you have everything under control. I wouldn’t want my driver getting heat stroke out there today.” Sarina nods her head in agreement, not wanting to go through that. She remembered experiencing that with Chase last year at Chicago, remembering how he was the night after the Xfinity race. She had kept that in her mind, to make sure that she was hydrated each weekend.
“Why do you think I’ve been working so hard to keep this booty of mine in shape? You just worry about the car; I can handle myself…” Dave just smiles back in response, again not surprised.
“I know that you can take care of yourself, but remember what I told you on Thursday – it doesn’t hurt to have help sometimes.” She then lets out a sigh, hating to have reminders about everything. But given what happened, she knew that they were necessary.
“I appreciate what you did then, so thank you. But Dave, trust me when I say this – I have a handle on this.” Whether that was fully true or not, who knew. Maybe if she kept repeating it to herself it would come true.
“Remember what I told you…” Alan simply says as he walks over to where Chase stands following the second practice. They were scored even worse this time around, ranked 18th quickest.
“I know; that’s not on my mind right now,” Chase comments, catching Alan off-guard. He had simply assumed that based on the look on Chase’s face. He also knew that it couldn’t be Sarina’s performance as she had done decently. “Alycia sent me an e-mail.”
“I’m guessing it wasn’t the news that you were looking for….” Chase reaches up for his phone, handing it over to the crew chief. He then lets out a sigh as he goes back into thought about it. “So Alison told Kyle and Alycia that Carter took advantage of her mental issues in planning the attack? Can I call bullshit on that?”
“She’s obviously trying to escape the charges of attempting to drug me. However, there’s no way that she can prove this as she hired Carter initially.” Alan crosses his arms as he thinks it over. He understood Chase’s theory, but he found a new fear of his own.
“What if she is ready to twist the whole thing on its nose? What if she turns around and says that the whole thing through was Carter taking advantage of her mental capability and making her believe what she believed? Therefore, Carter takes the fall for everything that has happened and she gets a minimal sentence.” Chase felt a shiver escape from him immediately at the mere thought of Alison being loose from prison.
“She’s been sentenced and sent to prison for the previous charges. They can’t just turn them arou-”
“They could offer early parole due to misunderstanding, mental capacity, and good behavior.” Chase shakes his head no immediately, not even wanting to face that thought.
“Or at least that’s the theory that she could develop. The other theory is trying to escape the new charges, which it doesn’t matter either way because she’s still hung up for multiple years on the other charges. The main steak right now is making sure that Carter and Nellie pay.”
“This would certainly make Carter’s story look that much more fuzzy…” Chase lets out a sigh as he runs his hands through his hair. “I just hate the thought of any of them twisting anything and getting away with anything. I don’t want to deal with this anymore. I want to be done with this, Alan. I want them all locked up for multiple years so I don’t have to worry. I want to give Sarina that peace of mind so she can sleep at night.”
“The same peace of mind that you’re looking for, as well?” Chase looks away as Alan crosses his arm. “You’re still having nightmar-”
“I just hate that I couldn’t be there to do something to protect her from Carter. I should’ve been there, Alan. He shouldn’t been able to get into our own home and do that.” Chase takes a couple deep breathes. “It’s getting easier with each day, but I won’t get that comfort I need until I know that my girls are safe and the only way that happens is with Carter locked behind those cell bars.”
“It’s going to happen, Chase. He’s not going to get out of this, no matter what he or Nellie try to spin.” Alan reaches over, placing a hand on Chase’s shoulder. “You keep telling Sarina that it’s going to be okay, and now you need to believe in those words Chase. It is going to be okay. Everything is going to work out, finally.”