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.

Advertisements

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.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 106: Pure Michigan 400

Saturday, August 11 – Michigan International Speedway

“I want to know how you kept that thing from getting any damage,” Alan comments after Chase climbs out of the car following practice.

“I want to know what adjustment you’re going to make to get the looseness out of the car,” Chase replies as Alan glances up at the chart. The session was pretty much a write-off considering the comments from Chase, and the fact they were ranked 18th.

“Is it that bad now?” Chase nods his head as he walks over to the crew chief.

“The rear-end is just too snappy that there was nothing I could do there but hold on.” Alan glances over his notes, as he tries to figure out what direction to go.

“Well, at least it isn’t tight anymore….” Chase just shakes his head as he glances over the data. “I think if I go in-between earlier and now, we’ll be fine – unless you want to go a little tight.” Chase thinks it over, while continuing to look over data – including some from his teammates.

“I’d rather be tight in the center than loose off like that, but perhaps you can fix both?” Alan glances over with a side eye.

“Now now driver, let’s not all get demanding for perfection here….” Chase rolls his eyes as Alan places a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll see what I can do for you. You can trust me…”

“I hope so…..”

Rudy walks over, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.

“You did good holding on at the end,” he tells her. “I’m proud of you.” She then glances over with a small smile on her face.

“It still sucks, though,” she replies and he simply nods his head in response. She had run top-five through the first half of the race, before getting the lead off pit road for the final segment. Unfortunately, battling a tight condition, she would end up finishing fourth.

“When you can say fourth sucks, you’re doing something right. Hey, brighter note – Bristol is next weekend.” She couldn’t lie that she was excited as it was going to be a fun weekend.

“Thanks as always, Rudy….” He then heads off as she glances over to her right at Chase.

“Fourth sucks, but it’s better than 14th,” Chase comments as she reaches over, giving his hand a squeeze.

“Still worried about tomorrow?” She questions and he just shrugs his shoulders.

“It’s frustrating to come off a win and struggle so much to find the speed and handling you want in the car. I want to be mad at the guys, but I can’t because I know how hard they’re working and how far we’ve come.” She then moves closer, leaning her head against his arm.

“But your push for success, perfection, and the playoffs still makes you ponder it, right?” He nods his head.

“The fact that we’ve always ran good here, too. This wasn’t a place that I was worried about.” She then glances up into his eyes.

“Look at the bright notes. You’re locked into the playoffs, this track isn’t in the playoffs, and boom – you guys are getting better. things could be worse, right?” He nods his head, accepting. “Say, why don’t we go back to the bus and I get your mind off of that pesky car?”

“Do I want to know what you’re thinking?” She then looks at him with a bit of surprise.

“I wasn’t going there, but I can if you want….” He moves his arm so it’s wrapped around her, instead of her head against it.

“Either way is fine by me, but I can’t deny that we have fun together.” He then kisses her lips, before they head off pit road together.

Sunday, August 12 – Michigan International Speedway

Starting 21st on the grid, Chase immediately made his way forward, running 12th as of the competition yellow at Lap 25. The combination of speed shown, along with happiness on the radio, brought some relaxation across the pit box in knowing the adjustments last night were the right ones.

Though their day wasn’t meant to go smoothly as Chase would have an uncontrolled right front tire on the pit stop, resulting in a penalty, sending him back to 34th for the restart.

“Of course…” Sarina comments after hearing the call, rolling her eyes in response.

The restart came, and brought forth complaints from Chase in regards to feeling a vibration.

“Is it getting worse?” Alan questions after a couple of laps, sending Josh down to check with the tire changers if they got the lug nuts tight.

“Yes, 10 percent worse,” Chase answers, earning another eye roll from Sarina. “I think it’s a right.”

Knowing it wasn’t getting any better – and not willing to risk the consequences, Chase headed down pit road at Lap 40 for an unscheduled pit stop. Now a lap down, Sarina could only sit there, arms crossed, frustrated.

“We’ve got a long time to make it back up,” Jordan tries to coach the situation as he rubs her shoulder.

Alan made the decision to leave him out at the end of the first stage, allowing him to take the wave around and get back on the lead lap. From there, they slowly worked their way back up through, finishing stage two in 14th, followed by ninth at the checkered.

“Can I bitch today?” Chase questions as he glances over at Sarina afterwards. She just chuckles and nods her head.

“If not for Jordan, I think I would’ve strangled the guys,” Sarina comments as Chase just chuckles.

“They don’t make a lot of mistakes – and they were heroes last week. But it still sucks.” Sarina nods her head in agreement.

“Hey, at least you guys found speed and you made moves to the front of the field. Progress, right?” He glances over with a small smile.

“I see my lessons are rubbing off on you…” She lays her head against him once again.

“I got to be smart if I want to win a championship this year, right?”

Wednesday, August 15 – Kyle Busch Motorsports

Sarina makes her way down the stairs after a meeting with Rudy Fugle ahead of this weekend, set to check in with the guys before leaving for the night. However, she pauses as she notices a familiar face sitting in the No. 51 truck.

She makes her way through the shop and over to the truck in question, peeking inside.

“I know you’re having a killer season in the XFINITY Series, but is Sir Bell missing his time here at KBM with me?” Sarina questions as Christopher just laughs with a glance her way.

“There’s something about Denny, Ryan (Preece), Daniel, and Kyle as teammates that doesn’t equal to your standard,” Christopher answers as Sarina places her hand on her heart.

“I’m so touched by your compliments. But do you realize how mad Harrison will be if he finds you in his truck? You’d be worse off than Goldilocks was with the three bears.” Christopher just smiles as he keeps his eyes locked on her.

“I don’t think Harrison will be too mad. Actually, he texted me today stating that he hoped that I had a good weekend.” Sarina now keeps her eyes on him, feeling more confused than ever. “Oh, you haven’t heard? I’m going to be your teammate this weekend, sweetheart.”

“Say what?!?” Christopher continues smiling as he glances back forward, running his hands over the steering wheel.

“He’s still feeling pretty sick after someone passed along their flu bug, but I wouldn’t know who.” Sarina glances down, knowing that she was one of the people within the shop to have had the bug at one time or another. She was still mad that she wasn’t about to run that weekend, too.

“So Kyle called you to replace him this weekend?” Christopher nods his head as he looks back towards her.

“Now can you try not to wreck me this time?” She then playfully punches him as he laughs.

“Can you seriously just let that go?” Christopher continues laughing, shaking his head no.

“You should know better than anyone that racers don’t forget when they come close…” She nods her head, knowing that was true. However, she couldn’t deny it stung when he made a comment about what happened.

“Recall I did apologize 100 times over for the contact, but relax – I won’t wreck you this weekend. I’ll just give you a slight bump when I pass your ass for the win.” He then looks on surprised.

“That’s some pretty tough talk there for a gal who has only two career wins to her credit, against someone who has hoisted a championship. Are you sure you’re up for the challenge?”

“Is that a bet, Christopher?” Christopher glances back out the windshield, before turning back to her with a serious face.

“You’re on, Ms. Ott. Be prepared to be embarrassed when you lose.” She just chuckles, before going to leave the shop. She couldn’t help but take a glance back and smile in watching him climb out, though.

It was now certainly going to be a really fun weekend.

Thursday, August 16 – Bristol Motor Speedway

The first day of the weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway was filled with lots of action for both Chase and Sarina, as it was alternating practices between the trucks and XFINITY Series.

The day started out strong as Sarina was ninth in the first truck series practice, but confident in how comfortable the truck felt despite not being up there in the top-three with Christopher.

She had walked over to the No. 23 pit during the quick break between sessions, knowing that Chase would be in a good mood after timing in sixth quickest.

“Can you go tell Christopher to slow down, please?” He questions as she walks over, just earning a chuckle in response. It wasn’t a surprise to see Christopher fastest with Kyle second, either.

“I’ll see if the guys can distract him for you, okay?” She replies, snagging a quick kiss. “I can’t stay for long, but I wanted to come see you…” He glances into her eyes, brushing a strand of hair off of her face.

“I don’t have a problem with that – just make sure your boyfriend over there isn’t jealous.” She rolls her eyes, knowing that Christopher’s pit wasn’t far from Chase’s.

“Let him be jealous all he wants because I only have eyes for a handsome Georgia Peach.” He smiles back in response, before playfully glancing around.

“I don’t see no one that fits that description.” She then tugs at the collar on his firesuit, getting his attention.

“I’m talking about you, of course. No other man can ever take this heart.” She then snags another kiss, which he pushes his lips against hers more so this time than before. “I didn’t just come here to flirt, though.”

“Should I be worried?” She takes a deep breath as she reaches into the pocket of her firesuit, pulling out a folded piece of paper. She slowly unfolds it, handing it over.

“This got dropped off in the mail yesterday…” Chase was a little confused, but went with it anyway.

“Shelley….” It didn’t take long for the mood to be killed as he read the top of the notice and saw the name. “Why didn’t you show me this sooner?”

“I debated just throwing it in the trash, or burning it…” Chase holds it over the garbage can.

“I can drop it in if you wan-”

“At least read it first, please…” Chase was surprised with the request, but followed through anyway as he read the notice in full. Simply, it was an apology letter as she tried to once again reason for her actions before in trying to free Chris, and help everyone in the family along. “I don’t believe a single drop of her apology, nor do I want anything to do with her. I get what she says about not having much family, but I don’t care anymore. All I need is Lindsay – no one else as I’m done playing games. I’ve got what I need in you, Samantha, Kyle, Christopher, Rudy, and those around me.”

“So you’re not going to entertain this meeting that she wants to have?” Sarina shakes her head no as she snatches the piece of paper back from Chase.

“I just wanted you to be aware of the notice before I threw it out.” She then holds it over the garbage can, but he grabs it before she can drop it in. “What are you doing?”

“I think we should accept the mee-”

“Are you serious?!? We let Alison get close by believing her trail of words with Bethany. Haven’t we done enough?” Chase nods his head, knowing there was no way he was going back down any road like that ever again.

“I didn’t say we were accepting her apology or allowing her to get close to us, did I?” Sarina crosses her arms.

“You’re agreeing to a meeting with her-”

“I want to hear her intentions said out loud. I want to hear the direction that she is wishing to go. I want to hear why she reached out now. I want to hear what she intends for the future. Not because I’m willing to accept the apology or move forward with her, but because I want to know what we’re facing this time. We set the meeting up, make sure to alert authorities in case it goes south, and see what happens. Can you agree to that?” Sarina understood his approach, but still wasn’t wanting to open those family doors once again.

“I am only going to say yes right now because I want you to be comfortable with the situation. However, if I see anything off, then I’m ending this. Do we have a deal?” Chase nods his head in agreement as he hands her back the piece of paper.

“Figure out where she wants to meet, and when. I’ll make the phone calls afterwards.” Sarina nods her head, accepting, nervously, as she shoves the piece of paper back in her firesuit.

“Not a word of this is spoken to Lindsa-”

“Only if her life depends on it. If anything happens to her, that baby, or Ryan, we’ll have some sisters who will throttle our asses.” Sarina lets out a sigh, nodding her head as there was no denying that. As it was, she had heard enough from Emma already.

“Deal.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 105: Michigan

Friday, August 10 – Michigan International Speedway

Alan walks into the Cup garage area, set to go find Josh and go over final set-up notes before the first practice of the day. However, he pauses when he notices Chase sitting in the corner by himself.

“Chase?” He questions out loud, slowly making his way over, kneeling down to his driver’s level. “Hey, is everything alright?”

“Do you ever feel like every time you take four steps forward you get knocked back two steps?” Chase asks, not even sharing a gaze with the crew chief yet as Alan sits down beside him.

“That’s better than one step forward, two steps backward as you’ve said before. I expected to enter the garage area with big smiles after last week. What would have you down so fast?” Alan could only reason that it had to deal with Sarina, considering that she wasn’t anywhere to be found.

“Alison.” Alan almost wanted to roll his eyes as he thought they were truthfully moving forward, but that obviously wasn’t true. “They spoke about the possibility of redemption and freedo-”

“She just got locked away not even a full month ago. We’re not even close to that happening, and they said there were steps that had to be taken. I thought you were fine with that decision, anyway.” Chase lets out a sigh, almost about to admit an immediate regret with that comment. Truthfully, it seemed that every situation with her was full of mistake and regrets. Taking a deep breath, he couldn’t let that trace his mind. It was not his fault no matter how it appeared were the words he had to tell himself repeatedly.

“What if that is sooner than we believed?” Alan now looks over with full shock on his face. “I got a note from the court house with an upda-”

“Why are they even bothering to keep you in the loop, to begin with? I thought moving forward involved no more reminders.” Chase wished that was the case as he would’ve preferred to not gotten the message.

“They feel I deserve a right to know due to being her primary target through all of that.” Alan actually couldn’t argue with that, understanding the dangers and safety here.

“There’s no way that they’d lock her up for a month and then relea-”

“They’ve found what was going on in her mind to cause her thoughts to be what they were and go insane, or appear of that nature. Bipolar Disorder is what they’ve diagnosed her with. The belief is once they figure out the medication regime to keep things under control, she will be able to function like anybody else and therefore no longer needing to be kept in the criminally insane.” Alan almost wanted to scream, but knew that wouldn’t help his driver’s state of mind right now.

“And because of that possibility, your mind is warped into 20,000 different theories. Let’s not forget this – it could take months to figure out the right course of action. It could even take years. They also have to make sure it true and tested before even giving her a possibility of release due to the nature of the crimes. I think you’re panicking too early.” Chase knew that, but that didn’t answer everything fully.

“But eventually, my thoughts will be reali-”

“That’s why there’s the review board. She could be told to serve jail time, or parole. Given the nature and depth of what she did to you, Chase, and what you’ve gone through because of that, they will not give her much leeway. You have to trust the justice system.” Chase almost wanted to laugh.

“Everybody has told me that since the beginning of the year when this started, but yet it took six months to get locked up. Would you understand if I didn’t feel fully convinced?” Alan nods his head, accepting.

“That’s why there’s restraining orde-”

“A piece of paper won’t stop someone from killing you.” Alan takes a calm deep breath, not even letting the thought enter his mind. He saw enough bullets, anyway.

“That’s why you can hire personal security, bodyguards, and other options.” Alan then places a hand on his leg. “Trust me when I say this to you – we will not let you go through that again with her. One time is enough and we’re not taking chances at repeating it, even if I had to pull the trigger myself on her. You can trust that you’re safe with us, always.” Chase finally looks over towards the crew chief.

“So am I crazy for sitting here right now having this discussion with you?” Alan shakes his head no.

“You’re understandably paranoid because of what happened. Obviously you’re going to fear her, and fear the possibility of going back there again. Don’t ever underestimate fear or pain. That’s what made this worse for you to begin with. My only suggestion is I know you thought your therapy was coming to a close, but I’d take a session or two and openly discuss what you just told me. It’s obvious that you haven’t uncovered everything yet.” Alan then stands up, brushing his own pants off as he glances over at the team. “The guys are looking a little lost without my direction – imagine that – so I better go get them in line. Are we good?”

“Yeah, of course.” Chase then slowly stands up himself. “Thanks, by the way.” Alan gives him one final glance.

“Anytime you need to talk, don’t be afraid to ask…” Alan then walks away and heads over to Josh as he was originally planning to do from the beginning.

Alan looks up at the speed chart, making a note they ended the session sitting 14th on the charts. It wasn’t exactly where they wanted to be, but it wasn’t the worse situation either. it was obvious they were missing on the intermediate tracks and top-15 was better than outside of that as progress was slowly being made.

“Happy driver or not?” He questions as Chase walks over to join the brain trust of the team.

“It’s free off the corner to the point that I feel I can’t hold it,” he answers as he looks up at the data. “I don’t know if I’d say totally loose, but I just can’t get the bite that I need.”

“More bite to turn give you more speed?” Chase thinks it over as he looks over at Alan.

“I think, but I don’t want to go too far either.” Alan glances back at his notes as he flips through the pages of adjustments tried, along with spring notes. “Give something a little snug, and I may be able to get you a good lap later this afternoon.”

“I’m just worried if I go this direction, that I’ll screw you even worse there. I want to fix the middle as you’re right, but you still need good entry.” Alan looks back at the data. “The key to Michigan is your run through the middle and off due to the long straightaways. So if I lose a bit on entry, can you handle that for the other side?” Chase nods his head, accepting.

“If I have to accept one over the other, I’d prefer to go that way. But why can’t I be like Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch and have both?” Alan chuckles as he looks back at his notes.

“I wish it was that easy, kid. Would you like to take over my job?” Chase chuckles, shaking his head no.

“I still say we should just get Sarina to steal notes from Kyle for us,” Josh interrupts the pair as Chase just rolls his eyes. “She loves you a lot that she’d prob-”

“You obviously don’t know her that well to say that,” Chase cuts him off. “She also believes in integrity and competition and all those things, just like I do. I could never feel right about that, and neither would she.” Josh lets out a sigh as he glances back at Alan.

“I tried….” Alan shakes his head as he grabs the clipboard.

“Focus on your job, not your crazy antics,” he instructs before walking away. Maybe a conference with the other Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs would lead to some answers.

Sarina climbs out of the truck, smile adorning her face as she looks over at Rudy Fugle. After topping the first truck practice, she had it backed it up with the sixth-fastest time in the second session.

“We’re fast once again,” she says as she walks over, grabbing a bottle of Gatorade out of the cooler. “Now can we actually put it all together tomorrow and win?”

“I’m trying princess,” Rudy offers as he looks over at her. “I told Kyle that the pit crew needs to pick up the slack, and he said he’d have a chat with the powers that be. Now we just need to communicate, and work on the handling accordingly. Can we communicate properly?” She nods her head.

“I feel confident in our communication. I know how to describe what she’s doing, as long as you give her what she needs.” Rudy then looks over surprised.

“She?”

“You always name a car after a girl’s name for her curv-”

“I’ve seen the movie Gone in 60 Seconds so I know how that goes. But even ladies believe in that?” Sarina nods her head, yes.

“I used to always name my late models after favorite females that I aspired to be like one day. Badass girls for that matter. Why do you think Pink had a pink splitter?” Rudy just smiles as he remembered the familiar paint scheme, while crew chiefing an event for Erik. “Now, I’ve gotten away from that with my trucks, but I still talk to them like their little girls.”

“Maybe we should refer to them as teenagers given the attitude some weeks.” She chuckles a little in response.

“Could you imagine a teenager with my attitude, but yet Chase’s sweetness?” Rudy was surprised by the comment, given everything going on, but just had to shake his head at the thought.

“Totally stubborn set on their ways, but yet sweet enough to get away with it.” She nodded her head in agreement, letting out a sigh afterwards.

“….and to think that Chase had a thought of us having two children one day. I almost got myself wrapped up in that vision, too.” Rudy wraps an arm around her.

“There’s options, and knowing the both of you, just like you’ve conquered everything else, you’ll figure this one out, too. Don’t ever limit your dreams as you’ll make them all come true.” She smiles as she glances up at Rudy. “For now, let’s focus on getting ourselves a win this weekend.”

“That sounds fine by me.”

“It’s just wasn’t quite turning like I was hoping it would,” Chase tells the media after qualifying. “But, we had a hard time here in the spring race, too. I’m not real sure why. Hopefully we can get it worked out tomorrow and move forward because that was not good.”

He then walks back over to where Alan was sitting, taking a spot across from him on the pit wall. They hadn’t done anythi9ng special in the session, ultimately ending up 21st on the chart.

“That adjustment obviously didn’t work,” Chase summarizes as Alan just nods his head back in response.

“I don’t know what to say,” the crew chief replies. “I tried going one way but that didn’t work during practice, and now the other way shows that we’re slower in qualifying. I’m literally running out of ideas.” Chase was actually surprised to hear this confession.

“So then what are we supposed to do?” Alan lets out a sigh as he thinks it over.

“I could change springs and shocks, but that’s like going back to the beginning. However, if nothing is working, do I have a choice?” Chase shakes his head no.

“We’ve got two hours tomorrow. That gives us a lot of time to explore. If you want to go a different direction during the first practice, then I say let’s go for it. Then we’ll compare and choose what we really want to go with for second practice.”  Alan nods his head, accepting.

“We’ve got to do something…..”

Saturday, August 11 – Michigan International Speedway

“Are we happier?” Alan asks following the first of two practices on Saturday.

“It’s better than yesterday,” Chase answers as Alan nods his head. The speed chart showed that with them ranked 11th after the first session. Chase then makes his way out of the garage stall, having heard that NBC wanted to do an interview. He was surprised, though, when it was Dale Jr. standing there to do it. “Is it okay to admit that this is a little awkward or strange?” Dale glances at him.

“As awkward as you and Erin?” Dale questions in response, which sees all emotion fade from Chase immediately.

“Excuse me?” Chase asks as Dale keeps his eyes locked on Chase.

“What did I tell you about when you have a good thing, man? Don’t screw that shit up! I thought you were over Eri-”

“There’s no feelings there for Erin. There wasn’t ever any fee-”

“Drunken actions are sober thoughts, man. I was also there at the banquet then.” Chase shakes his head.

“You’re reading into this too much. There are no feelings. Hence why I’ve already talked it over with both Erin and Sarina. Hence why I’m still getting married to Sarina. I was inviting you to the wedding, but I don’t know now. Really?” Dale was actually caught off-guard on the retracted wedding invite.

“I thought I was planning your bachelor party with Jimmie still?” Chase laughs and shakes his head no immediately.

“I’ve heard enough stories from Jimm-”

“We aren’t going to do anything that extreme.” Chase just continues to shakes his head.

“I want to actually be at my wedding, Dale. I don’t need a Hangover movie written after me.” Dale keeps his eyes locked on him.

“I wouldn’t do that to you – as long as you can guarantee me that you’re in this for the right reasons.” Chase then looks over at his former boss and teammate.

“There’s not one shadow of a doubt in my mind that I am.” Dale nods his head, accepting.

“Then I will make sure that you are there on your wedding day to say those words.” Dale then clears his throats as the camera man gives them a 10 second motion. “Ready?” Chase nods his head, as he takes a deep breath, focused back on his practice thoughts.

Sarina gives Rudy a high-five, pleased with their qualifying performance. It wasn’t the pole, but certainly she could make something happen from third later that afternoon.

“We’ve got the speed – let’s be smart,” Rudy reminds her as she nods her head in agreement. “It’s all about closing the deal.”

“I’m ready to build that momentum, put solid runs together, and get myself ready for those playoffs,” she offers and Rudy nods his head in agreement.

“You can do whatever you want for the first half of the season. All that matters, though, is how you perform those last seven. Let’s focus on that momentum.” She smiles as she leans back against the pit wall.

“I’m 100% focused on that.” Rudy could tell as he takes a quick glance around.

“So where’s the fiancé anyway?” She was caught off-guard by the question, but saw where it was coming from.

“His car has been handling like shit most of the weekend so he’s been focused on getting better. He got the win last week, but doesn’t want to be a fluke. The pressure is there to keep that momentum going, but they’ve struggled here. So they’re trying to figure out what they need and that takes times.” Rudy could relate to that, thanks to long nights spent going over notes.

“Am I still going to have a friend on the pit box during the race?” She smiles, nodding her head. No matter how busy they got on race weekends, they always watched each other’s races and always spent the night together to rehash over the events from the day. “I’d be worried if he didn’t show up.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Rudy shrugs his shoulders. “Rudy….”

“It’d be out of character and when you start doing things like that, you know something is going on. I’m hoping you’re both done with drama for the rest of the year.” That was her wish in response, too.

“I hope so, Rudy. I need a break. I think the win and knowing Alison is locked away will bring that calmness. Now we just need to get the job done.” Rudy places a hand on her shoulder.

“That’s not a problem for me, ever.” He then walks away as she just smiles back in response.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 103: Go Bowling at the Glen

“A lot of emotion. A lot of relief. It’s been a tough road. Makes a helluva story.” – Chase Elliott, August 5 2018

Sunday, August 5 – Watkins Glen International

“Happy birthday big guy!” Sarina says as she climbs up on the pit box, giving Alan a big pat on the back. “So are we old or ancient now?” Alan chuckles as he looks back at her.

“Easy there young lady,” he offers. “You’re going to be 43 one day and regretting those words…” She just rolls her eyes as she takes her usual seat behind Josh alongside Jordan.

“Here we go….” She puts her headset on, hoping the race just went smooth as possible.

“Appreciate the effort on that Sun Energy 1 car. Looks good.” Sarina had to agree with the crew chief based on how things went yesterday. She just hoped they had that speed once again today.

“Appreciate it fellas as always,” Chase replies on the radio. “Nice and smooth today.”

The race wouldn’t start off on a calm note, though, as the first few laps saw Kyle and Denny begin the crazy battle for the lead ahead of Chase.

“Are you going to be able to handle today?” Jordan jokes as he sees the look on Sarina’s face as they watch them go through the bus stop on the monitor.

“Maybe Kyle will do us a favor and wreck Denny,” she offers, earning a laugh from the interior mechanic.

It also didn’t take long for the first caution to come out, either, as Joey Logano went off course to the surprise of everyone.

“That was pretty damn wild to be the first two laps,” Chase immediately comments on the radio under the yellow to the agreement of everyone.

Once the race restarted, the action didn’t slow down as there was craziness throughout the field. Chase, meanwhile, ran it clean as possible, running fourth throughout the stage until Alan called him to pit road with three laps to go. While it sucked to rejoin the field and finish 11th – one spot outside of earning points, she knew the reasoning behind it and believed in the crew chief’s strategy.

Once everybody else pitted under the yellow, Chase cycled up to the front and immediately made it worth his way, taking the lead early in the stage. He wouldn’t look back throughout, crossing the finish line for another stage victory.

“Alright, green-checkered here,” Eddie D’Hondt says on the radio as Sarina let out a small fist pump in the air. “Save fuel. Save fuel.”

“Good work, bud,” Alan adds as he glances over at the notes from the engineers on fuel strategy.

The restart would not go as planned as Chase would get loose through turn one, allowing Kyle to grab the lead. Chase wouldn’t let him get out that far, actually gaining ground at times through the bus stop and carousel. However, it wasn’t enough to actually get back by him.

“Hey bud, if you can’t get him, just take care of fuel for me,” Alan suggests, earning a small bit of nerves from Sarina in knowing that fuel was going to come into play at the end of this thing.

“What’s more important because I might have a shot at him?” Chase questions in return, and Sarina believed those words. It was easy to see via the lap times that they were making good time, and she believed through the second half of the course, he could make something happen.

“If you can get him, then get him. We just can’t run behind him and lose fuel.”

They didn’t have to worry much longer about fuel numbers to the end of the race as the caution would fly for Matt DiBenedetto blowing up with 37 laps to go. While it was good to not worry as much about fuel, there were still a couple small nerves in knowing they were one lap before the fuel window opened now pitting under yellow.

The pit stop was fast, though Chase would go just before Nick O’Dell was clear of the car, barely clipping him as he left the pit box, coming off pit road in second.

“Sorry about that Nick,” Chase says immediately over the radio.

“He’s okay; he’s laughing,” Alan replies, even chuckling himself at the landing motion.

Sarina just shakes her head as she climbs down off of the pit box, walking over to where Nick was with the guys.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” She asks and he nods his head. “You realize you were just hit by a stock car right?” He nods his head once again.

“But I held on to the air gun, and that’s what matters,” he tells her as she smiles back, remembering the discussion from pre-race. “I just didn’t think he’d actually test the theory.”

“Well, you earned your gold star from me today. Love ya, Nick!” She gives him a big hug, before heading back up to her post.

“Chasey gonna be jealous if he hears about that hug,” Chad Avrit teases, which Nick just flips him the bird back in response earning a laugh from the other guys.

“I’d rather him be jealous over a hug than starting at the tail of the field for this restart,” Nick comments as the team gets comfortable, ready to watch the final laps unfold.

Everybody was then caught off-guard when Kyle Busch made the trip back down pit road, giving up the lead to Chase.

“No fuel in the car whatsoever,” Alan reports over the radio. “He’s not going to be a factor.” Sarina felt herself pout a little, feeling bad for both Kyle and Samantha in being her bosses. Besides, she was actually looking forward to seeing her boss and fiancé fight it out for the win.

“Copy that,” Chase replies. “Is everybody pretty much good to the end here?”

“It’s close. Just save all you can. When you get an opportunity to attack, you know, attack. But just don’t be frivolous with it.” Sarina felt her nerves kick up, already imagining him running out of the gas in the closing stages while leading.

“Frivolous?” She repeats, earning a glance from Jordan. “What? Does Alan think that Chase carries a dictionary in the car or something?” Jordan just chuckles in response as he pats her leg.

“Just relax and enjoy the show,” he starts. “It’s time for your man to do what he was born to do.”

Chase would get the perfect restart with 33 laps to go, pulling out to a solid lead ahead of Martin Truex Jr.

25 to go. 20 to go. 15 to go. 10 to go.

5 to go. The gap was still steady and enough to not get too nervous, but Truex was there if Chase did something.

4 to go. 3 to go. 2 to go.

Sarina felt everything on edge as he took the white flag for the last lap and went down into turn one. Then it happened. The back of the car kicked out a little as he wheel-hopped entering the corner, but he immediately got it back rolling.

“Did he just kick it out of gear to fix that?!?” Sarina questions, feeling every bit of nerve as Jordan just shrugs his shoulders. “Come on, Chase!!”

The moment allowed Martin to shrink the gap considerably, but not enough as Chase held onto the lead, putting together the perfect lap the rest of the way through the course, set to come back around to the checkered.

“Just bring it home, bring it home….” Eddie D’Hondt says as he comes off of the final corner.

“Baby, that’s how you do it!” Alan lets out as he crosses the checkered line. “Get the checkered flag, son!” Sarina lets out the double fist pump, before grabbing Alan from behind, and hugging the crew chief.

“Yeah, baby yeah!” Chase screams on the radio as elation hits the pit box with everybody hugging each other as a couple stray tears roll down Sarina’s cheeks. “Hell yes! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“Proud of you guys, proud of all of you,” Bill is next over the radio, earning a small smile from Sarina. She almost wanted to cry a little bit more in knowing that Cindy wasn’t there to experience it, but rather at home with grandma. She could only imagine the emotions that she was going through. “Burn that son of a gun down, boy!”

“Right here for you big boy…” Sarina glances up at the big screen, set to see the burnout through the back half of the course – but then the car stalls suddenly. She just shakes her head, knowing that they must’ve been closer on fuel than she thought, and was glad that Alan didn’t keep them totally in the loop as she would’ve been more nervous than she was. “Oh, just kidding! I’m out of gas. I need a push Eddie, I need a push.”

“I’m working on it, man,” Eddie replies as Sarina just shakes her head. She was actually looking forward to seeing him lay down his first win burnout. It’d been awhile since she saw him lay down a good one.

“I got my man, Jimmie Jam, coming to push me…” Sarina just smiled in watching Jimmie line up perfectly to give Chase a push back around to the front stretch.

“That’s a pretty cool victory lap right there,” Alan comments as Sarina nods her head in agreement. She knew the friendship the pair shared, and could only imagine the meaning that it meant to Chase.

“That is badass, man!”

“Come on!!” Both Jordan and Josh yell at Sarina as they hurry for the steps on the pit box, wanting her to follow as they were both set for the frontstretch celebration, and wanted her to be right there in the middle of it.

As soon as he stopped on the frontstretch, the crew surrounded the car as he jumped out, letting out a big fist pump in the air. He then hops off, immediately meeting with Alan as he pulls him into a hug.

“Way to go kid,” Alan says as he gives him at a pat on the back.

“Happy Birthday, man!” Chase replies as he then looks into the crew chief’s eyes. “Thank you, thank you for everything. I mean it when I say I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else. Thank you….”

“I’m just glad that we could win one!!” They then share another hug together, before Alan lets him go.

Chase then goes through hugging the rest of the crew guys, including a special hug for Nick, along the way. He then stops as he reaches the last person on the line, pulling her right close as he locks his lips with hers.

“I love you so much,” Sarina tells him. “Congratulations Clyde!”

“I love you, too, and I can’t wait to celebrate with you,” he replies, giving her another kiss in return.

“So are we going to head to victory lane or are we just going to party here all day?” Alan questions as Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“Does it matter? We’re winners!” Sarina lets out as Chase just smiles, keeping her held close.

The crew then starts pushing the car to victory lane – with Chase only stopping to share a hug with Jimmie – before continuing to join them on the journey.

“Can you believe it?” Sarina questions and he shakes his head. “You’re a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race winner. Do I need to pinch you?”

“It’s slowly sinking in….” Chase answers as he glances over into her eyes. “I’m glad that you were here.” He then gives her another kiss.

“I just wish your mom was here….” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“She’s probably having a ball running the party in Dawsonville. The siren is going to be blaring tonight!” She chuckles as they reach victory lane.

Chase sits in the car, waiting for the cue to climb out. As he does, a series of drivers come in for hugs, beginning with Ryan and Bubba, to Kyle. Chase made Ryan promise he’d be at the party that night, while Sarina stopped Kyle to offer him a hug.

“Nice drive back up through to third,” she tells him. “I was actually looking forward to you two racing each other.” Kyle glances back towards Chase, before looking at Sarina.

“Would you have been mad at me for beating him?” He questions as she laughs.

“Who says you would’ve?”  He then laughs back, giving her a playful punch before heading off out of victory lane.

Sarina remained in background, smiling as Bill walked over for a hug with Chase, just standing there in pure admiration and amazement.

“I was wondering what was going to go wrong this time,” Bill confesses and Sarina nods her head, having the same theory at times.

The trophy presentation went smoothly, with everyone set for the champagne shower afterwards. Sarina had to laugh at the crew mostly dumping it on Alan, but knowing he deserved for his birthday.

“You still want to be close even though I’m stinky of sweat and champagne?” Chase says as she cuddles up close for photos.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” she offers, giving him yet another kiss.

After posing for a bunch of photos, they instructed for just Chase to remain there for the obligatory hat dance. Sarina stood back watching, earning an idea of her own as she walked over to the bowling pin mascot.

“I have to ask one question….” She starts, with a smirk on her face.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 102: Watkins Glen Weekend

Friday, August 3 – Watkins Glen International

“Ugh, why is it raining?” Sarina lets out as she grabs a snack from the fridge before flopping down on the couch.

“Wet air rises, cools, and water vapor forms those things called clouds,” Chase starts as he glances over with a small smirk on his face. “When those clouds get large and heavy enough due to tiny particles of dust or pollen swept up high in the atmosphe-“

“I don’t need the science behind it, jackass!” He then laughs as she chucks a pillow at him. “But seriously, though, why does it have to rain today and now? Why not later?”

“So you would rather race in the rain?” She then lets out a sigh as that wasn’t the best solution, either.

“I was third in practice. Now I have to start 18th today. Do you see my point?” Chase nods his head.

“More practice for you in passing as you’ll have to make your way to the front now…” She then chucks another pillow at him. “What? You said this was practice for Canada?”

“Do you want to just come out and ask for your ass kicking instead?” He then sticks his tongue out.

“You have no more pillows…” She then glances around the couch as she smirks.

“But I do have a fist, and it’ll come over to your side of the room….” He just laughs as he resets the game he was playing. “Geez, maybe I should just go see Christopher. He may be better company than you’re being right now.”

“Oh really?” She nods her head as he sets down the controller. “Yeah, well, there’s one thing that he won’t do that I know you love to do during a nice, long rain delay to relax.” He then walks over, planting a kiss on her lips. “Now is the rain so bad after all?”

“Maybe we could make use of our time…” She then wraps an arm around him, pulling him back close as she locks her lips with his.

It felt weird to be sitting on a pit box with strangers, but it was his norm for when she raced so he wasn’t going to do otherwise. All he hoped was the day went smoothly, and she made her way to the front.

The K&N race started off well for her as she made her way through the field, running third by the 15th lap. However, a bit of confusion over the radio in whether to pit at the mid-race break or not, resulting in staying out, ultimately cost her as she’d pit outside of the window later in the event. Per NASCAR rules, that was a one-lap penalty.

She was never able to make up the lap either, ultimately finishing the race in 21st.

“Remind me to read the rulebook if I ever want to run one of these races ever again,” she tells him as they leave pit road together after the race.

“But did you have fun and learn how to turn left and right?” He questions and she glances over with a nod. “That’s all that matters then.” He then wraps an arm around her as they head back through the garage area.

“You’re an oddly cheery mood this weekend…” He then shrugs his shoulders.

“Therapy is going well, worries about Alison is off my back, and I feel like for the first time since everything, I’m really moving forward with my life. Besides, I also have a good feeling for this weekend…” She then smiles as she clutches his hand.

“Here’s to you having a better race than I did then.”

Saturday, August 4 – Watkins Glen International

Chase makes his way into the garage area, leaning back against the toolbox as he glances over at Josh.

“What are you doing?” Chase questions as Josh glances over a touch.

“Reading some posts on twitter,” Josh answers as Chase was now surprised.

“Aren’t you supposed to be working?” Josh shrugs his shoulders, passing over the notebook, before looking back to his phone. “Okay, fair.” Chase then sets the notebook back down. “What are you reading on twitter?”

“Who gave you the right to ask 20 thousand questions?” Chase chuckles as he keeps his eyes on the car chief. “Have you seen the whole hashtag debate?”

“Charina or Sarell? Sarina showed me that. Did you vote?” Josh nods his head.

“I obviously picked Sarell….” Chase then gives him a fake punch as Josh laughs. “But seriously, who believes that Sarina and Christopher should get together over you and her? Did these people miss the fact that you’re engaged and planning a wedding?”

“It’s the same people who have the fascination that I should be with Erin.” Josh then looks over shocked.

“As in Erin Blaney?” Chase slowly nods his head yes. “Okay, actually, you guys sort of were cute together at the banque-”

“Seriously? You’re not helping!” Josh lets out a sigh as he looks back to his phone.

“Do you even care about all of this, though?” Chase shakes his head no.

“They can say what they want – the more power to them. All that matters to me is the commitment that Sarina and I have to each other. If everybody can’t understand that I’m just friends with Erin as she’s just friends with Christopher, well, oh well.” He then gives the car chief a pat on the shoulder. “Now, I have work to do, and I think you do too…”

“I think so, and for the record, I voted Charina.” Chase gives him a small high-five before walking over to the car, set for the first practice.

Climbing out of the car after the pair of the practices, a smile could be seen from Chase’s face from a mile away. The ‘ol No. 9 Chevrolet was working as he wanted, and that showed with him leading the final practice session.

After breaking down what Alan needed him to do, he made the quick trip back to the motorcoach, knowing they had a bit of time before qualifying later on that afternoon.

He walks inside, surprised to see Sarina sitting at the small table in the kitchen with a photo album before. He quietly makes his way in, not wanting to disturb her concentration, as he grabs a drink from the fridge before sitting down.

“Nice job on the practice charts,” she says, giving him a quick kiss, before looking back at the photos. The comment had went right over his head as his eyes were now focused on the images before him, as well. He recognized them without a doubt, smiling at some of the memories.

“Why are you looking at my baby album?” He questions, knowing that sounded odd as it came out of his mouth but he was curious. He remembered when it first surfaced at the house as she wanted to see the photos of him after they had looked through the images that were given to her in the toy box. It now surprised him to see it in the motorcoach.

“I’ve got a lot on my mind, and seeing some of these gives me a little peace.” He then brushes a strand of hair off of her face. “We’ve talked about my future as a mother and there’s decisions to be mad-”

“….which you can take whatever time you need making, and do when you feel is right. Just because a doctor told you that you can’t carry a baby full term and need to explore options doesn’t mean you need to do that right away. It’s a big decision, Sarina. It’s something that we both actually need to explore all the options, talk about, and see what we want to do for us.” She nods her head, remembering the discussion they had shortly after the news and the fact that he added then he’d support her no matter what.

“I know, and I remember that, Chase. However, I can’t help but still be stuck on looking at those options. It broke my heart to lose the baby in January even though I had no idea I was pregnant. It broke my heart to learn that I can’t carry a baby full term if I wanted to one day. But looking at these options, it makes that pain easier to handle because I know I’m totally not ripped at the chance of doing something that mostly every other female can do in this life.” Chase rubs her shoulders.

“I understand….” He could see where she was coming from – same way he used certain things to help cope with everything Alison had done before. “You can’t avoid the pain forever, though.”

“I know, but dealing with it slowly rather than taking everything at once makes it easier for me.” She then glances back at the photos. “Those options make me feel a lot of things, Then when that becomes too much, trying to figure out what to buy for Lindsay or Emma can offer relief. The other thing is looking back at baby photos, whether you or me, and thinking happy thoughts about the situation. I don’t know if it’s strange or weird, but it helps me.”

“I’m not going to judge you, because we all deal with things in our own way. If this helps you, then hey, go ahead and stare at little me.” She then flips through a couple more pages.

“Your dad wasn’t the first person to hold you after your mom gave birth, right?” Chase nods his head as he looks over the photos.

“Dad gave that opportunity to Casey.” She then looks over at him, slightly confused.

“Every parent dreams of that moment of holding their child for the first time, but yet he offered you to your cousin?”

“At that time, they knew Casey was dying. However, the hope and happiness of mom being pregnant with me gave the family something to hold onto. He was happy for my parents, too. So when it came time for that day, he came to the hospital to meet me, and he followed my dad down to the room where they weigh you. Dad said in watching someone lose everything, you want to give them something to hold onto, a piece of happiness. That’s why he did it, and he said it paid off as soon as he saw Casey’s eyes light right up.”

“So he has no regrets over the decision?” Chase shakes his head no.

“That happiness that he saw from Casey was worth every part of why he did it. The weeks after, he would go over to see Casey and Casey would always ask how I was doing. He brought me a couple times, too. That was something that they could share in happiness, along with other stories and stuff, and just for a moment of time let go of what was happening.” She then smiles as she looks back at the photos, seeing one of them of Casey holding him.

“That’s why the car means so much to you for Darlington…..”

“There’s a bond there that I can’t describe because for me, I don’t remember those moments or feelings, but yet I feel connected when people tell me.” He then pauses, remembering the one conversation that happened last year. “And I know he’s watching over me, Ernie, everyone.”

“I always feel that my dad is with me, no matter what anyone else may say. Sometimes I think I feel him, too, or maybe I catch a glimpse of a butterfly or a ray of sunshine and it makes me think of him. I don’t want to lose that memory, either….” He then reaches over, squeezing her hand a little with a small smile.

“You won’t, because he’ll always be someone that we talk about together, share stories about, and tell our children one day.” She then looks at him a little surprised.

“Children? Wait a second, here. We are talking about possibly having problems surrounding having a child, and you just said children.” He nods his head, knowing what he said exactly.

“We have options, and we’re going to find what exactly works for us, and we’re going to have the child, or children that we want to have. Remember the daydream I told you about?” She nods her head as that was a discussion she’d never forget, either.

“A boy and a girl….”

“We’re going to live out every fantasy that we’ve dreamed of. The world is ours, and we can do whatever we want.” He then leans in and kisses her lips. “First, though, I need to go win the pole.”

“Please say pole…” Sarina says as she stands watching Chase come by to complete his lap.

“Third,” Alan replies instead, earning a disgruntle sign from Sarina. “Tracker looked good until the back end of the course. He was close…” She lets out a sigh as she sits down on the wall.

“That just stinks. I mean, it’s great to be starting up front, but to be oh so close and miss it by oh so much…” Alan nods his head in agreement.

“The worst part is he doesn’t slip up in turn 11 and we probably would’ve beaten Denny.” She just shakes her head in disgust.

“Of course it’s Denny winning the pole and not Kyle, too.” Alan glances over at her.

“Are you still mad over Martinsville?” She gives him a surprised look in response.

“Aren’t you? I mean, it’s one thing to do what he did, but it’s another to act like he did afterwards. Those actions aren’t to be forgotten, Alan.”

“I was over it once Chase got his sweet revenge at Phoenix…” Sarina smiles as that was a well-played moment indeed. “Listen, who cares if he starts in front of us tomorrow. All that matters is whose leading on the last lap.”  She nods her head in agreement.

Sunday, August 5 – Watkins Glen International

Chase walks over to the guys following driver introductions, giving them each a quick fist-pound.

“Ready to go?” He questions and they all nod their head in response.

“Remember what I said, right?” Nick reminds Chase, catching his attention. “We get in trouble for removing pit equipment, we don’t get in trouble for moving people. Alan tells you to go, you ju-”

“Hit the gas pedal and get outta there as you’ll get your ass outta the way.” Nick nods his head, glad the pre-race discussion had set in.

“I just don’t want us losing valuable time because you’re worried about me.” Chase places a hand on his shoulder.

“I know you’re a tough guy and can handle it….” He then glances down a couple other guys. “Unlike Jared and those fools.” Nick laughs as Chase walks away from them.

He goes and puts an arm around Sarina, placing a light kiss on her cheek.

“Here goes nothing, right?” She replies, as she leans her head against his chest. “Do your thing today and everything should work out just fine.”

“That’s the plan…” He then gives her another quick kiss, before they get set to stand for the national anthem.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 101: Pocono 400

Saturday July 28, 2018 – Pocono Raceway

Chase makes his way into her room, walking over as he immediately lets her clasp his hand.

“You didn’t need to come,” she offers as he shakes his head back in response. He knew the second practice wouldn’t have gone as planned without a visit.

“I was worried about you after Tyler told me what happened,” he replies as she sits up a little in the bed.

“I didn’t really pass out like they all claim, okay? I leaned up against the wall because….okay, I was tired and when I leaned against the wall, Tyler asked me if I was okay. I was slow responding so he got Rudy’s attention and next thing, I’m here.”

“Dehydrated again?” She slowly nods her head as she glances up at the IV.

“They ran a couple more tests or whatever to make sure it’s stomach virus and nothing something else – like pregnant, or food poisoning. Everything came back clean so we’re stuck with it being a torturous stream and my body barely able to handle it.” He brushes the small bit of hair out of her face.

“That’s because you’re not following what everybody told you, and focusing on yourself. You should’ve been in bed still, catching up on sleep, sipping Gatorades, looking after yourself. Let this weekend go…” She then lets out a sigh as she glances down at the bed.

“I guess I have no choice now, huh? Doctors won’t clear me due to the incident as they’re worried about my hydration levels and conce-”

“I don’t blame them, as I would be as well.” She then looks over at him.

“I can handle driving while I’m sick. It seems nobody understands how strong I am.” Chase lets out a sigh as he looks into her eyes.

“Don’t ever let anybody question your strength. We all know how strong you are, how hard you push, how determined you feel. We also know your limits, and today is one of those. NASCAR has given you a waiver so take it, embrace it, and let yourself get better. You always tell me to take care of myself. Well, now I’m telling you to do the same.”

“But I know I have a winning truck for today. You saw how quick we were in practi-”

“You’ll have many more chances to win races this year, next year, and for many years to come. But you need to weather this storm first, so it’s time to focus on you and get better.” He then kisses her forehead. “Did they say how long you have to stay for?”

“They want to make sure my hydration levels are steady, that I can keep the fluids somewhat in my system, and I’m not feeling faint anymore. I think I have a room reserved for the afternoon, unfortunately.” Chase then glances down at the chair, shifting a little.

“Then I guess I have a seat reserved here for the afterno-”

“Uhh, you have a final practice to run so I suggest you get your ass out there and run it.” He then looks at her surprised. “What? Don’t let my sickness change your schedule. I can take plenty care of myself here while you go make circles. If I’m giving up my damn weekend, then you better have a car underneath you that can win tomorrow. Besides, a trophy would be a nice get well present.” Chase couldn’t help but smile.

“I’ll do the best that I can, but I can’t make any promises.” She nods her head, accepting, as it was better than nothing. That said, she knew how strong Hendrick Motorsports was at Pocono, and she knew that the No. 9 team had been on a upswing so her chances looked good. “I love you, and I hope you feel. I hate to see you sick.”

“I hate being sick. I get sick looking at my own vomit.” He shakes his head as he knew that wasn’t a pretty sight.

“You’ll be feeling better soon….” He gives her one final kiss before heading off for final practice, as she had instructed him to do so.

Chase climbs out of the car, following the final practice run of the day, before walking over to the crew chief.

“Better or worse?” Alan questions as he looks over at his driver.

“About the same?” Chase replies back as Alan lets out a sigh. He could only glance at the board and see they were 10th on the speed chart for the second session in a row.

“The good news is we’re consistent so we should be fine on the long runs tomorrow. The bad news is that we’re still not where we need to be to find that next step and run in the top-five.” Chase nods his head in agreement as Alan thinks it over. “I could try something for time trials, but then it may not work. Whatever we do for qualifying, we have to leave in the for the race.”

“So what if we leave it, start the race solidly, and go from there?” Alan nods his head, accepting, as it seemed like a decent plan.

“Alright, it’s settled. You can go back to taking care of your girl – as long as you don’t get sick on me.” Chase places a hand on Alan’s shoulder.

“Trust me, I’m fine.” Alan glances over at him with a small smile.

“It’s been a while since you could say that and I would absolutely believe you. Keep doing what you’re doing, kid.” Alan then walks away notes in hand as Chase makes his way out of the garage, back to the care center to see Sarina.

Thankfully rehydrated with some more fluids, Sarina was released from the care center, with Chase taking her back to the motorcoach immediately. The pair curled up together, taking in the truck race on the TV there despite Sarina’s pleas to go sit on the pit box.

The race only made the afternoon harder for her to handle as Erik Jones drove her truck from last in the field to sixth by the end of the first stage, before battling the rest of the race with Kyle for the win. Ultimately, the boss won, though, with Erik in second.

Cup qualifying was set to follow, and once again Sarina expressed the want to join Chase out on pit road. However, finally beginning to realize just how sick she was, she settled in under the blankets with a couple Gatorade bottles on the night table as he headed out for the session.

The plan to go with a solid set-up to not mess up things allowed them to lock down the 11th starting spot for the race tomorrow. It wasn’t spectacular, but certainly they could work with it.

Sunday July 29, 2018 – Pocono Raceway

“Thank you for spending the race with me,” Sarina says as she pulls the blanket even more snuggly around herself, trying to get comfortable and settled in. it was going to be odd to be at the track with Chase, yet watching the race from the motorcoach rather than the pit box.

“Are you kidding me?!?” Lindsay asks immediately as she looks over. “I wasn’t going to make you suffer watching this alone.” Sarina then returns the gaze back to her best friend.

“I just don’t want you to get sick with that little one…” Lindsay glances down at her own stomach, seeing at it was ever-growing, giving it a little rub.

“That’s why we’re not real close to each other. Besides, Ryan is already a little overprotective.” Sarina couldn’t help but chuckle as they each got comfortable on the couches.

The race started off solidly as Chase immediately made his way forward to the front.

“Stage winner,” Eddie D’Hondt says over the radio at the end of the first stage. While watching the race broadcast, Sarina had loaded NASCAR.com’s raceview so she could listen to Chase’s audio. It wouldn’t be the same watching a race otherwise. “Good work, bud. Two weeks in a row. I’m starting to like this.” She couldn’t help but agree with the spotter as the success was great to see.

The second stage started off just as strongly with Chase running up front throughout, but ultimately crossing the finish line in second behind Kevin Harvick.

“He backs up pretty much every corner, gets to the bottom, and stays there,” Alan reports over the radio which Sarina had to agree via what she saw on the screen before her. “(He) has a lot of grip in his car.”

“The grip meter is an understatement – that’s for sure,” Chase replies, earning a nod of approval from both Sarina and Lindsay.

“He makes a pretty wide arc off of the wall,” Eddie adds in as well as Sarina simply smiles.

Following the final round of pit stops, Chase continued to run up front, running as high as third before fading back a bit.

“Holy shit!!” Lindsay lets out as the No. 43 Chevrolet of Darrell Wallace slams the wall.

“Fuck!” Sarina adds as they both sit there stunned. The nerves stayed until the window net came down on the car, with Bubba climbing out shortly after to the sigh of relief.

“That was insane!” Sarina nods her head in agreement.

“If there’s a track that I never want to lose my brakes going into a corner, it’s here because the result is just insanity beyond other tracks it seems. Look at Gordon’s wreck a couple years ago!”

The girls settle in for the final run to the checkered, watching as Chase drops back to fifth. He would then make a big save down the backstretch – which caused Sarina to jump out of her skin a little – before crossing the line in seventh when it was said and done.

“I don’t even know why some race tracks seem to be more suitable for what we have, and some don’t,” Chase tells the media afterwards. “We think we’re better as a whole, but I think we still have some work to do.”

Tuesday July 31, 2018 – Pocono Raceway

Chase smiles as he walks over to Cale and Emma, giving them each a hug.

“Congratulations,” he tells them both after the ceremony. “Make sure you take care of her.”

“You don’t have to worry about that,” Cale offers as he wraps an arm around Emma’s shoulders.

“I also bet that you’re having a boy.” Emma just smiles back in return as she glances up at Cale.

“That’s what I told him, but he told me otherwise. We’ll see when we reveal it later.” She then glances around, before focusing back on Chase. “Where’s Sarina?”

“She’s at home,” Chase answers. “She was still not feeling all the way better yet so she told me that she was skipping the wedding, but sends her blessings.” Emma nods her head, accepting, already forming another theory in her head.

“She also trying to avoid seeing Erin?” Chase glances over to where Erin was talking with someone, before looking back at Emma.

“They talked at Eldora and things are straightened ou-”

“I also talked to my sister Chase, and I know her honest opinion of Sarina as of right now.” Chase bit his lip, knowing that probably didn’t come out smoothly.

“Emma, I know as she told me, but Sarina has no idea. Her skipping the wedding has nothing to do with that, I promise you.” Emma wanted to simply believe him to make things simple, but couldn’t quite do that.

“It doesn’t matter to me either way as this is my night – well, Cale’s too, and we’re set to celebrate our love with those who are close to us. But know that I don’t take lightly to people playing around with my sister’s fee-”

“The kiss was a total accide-”

“I don’t care the circumstances, reasons, whatever. Just remember what I told you. I will kick your ass if I have to. Just ask Ryan.” Emma then walks away as Cale glances between the pair surprised.

“I’m going to say that’s the pregnancy hormones kicking in,” Cale offers as Chase just grins a little.

“I’d like to believe you there, but I’ve known her a long time to know better,” Chase comments as he places a hand on Cale’s shoulder. “You found a gem in her, and I’m happy for you. Don’t screw it up.”

Chase then walks away, set to go find Ryan and Lindsay as he promised he’d catch up with them both.

The rest of the night ultimately would go smoothly, capping off with the gender reveal and Chase guessed it right as Emma and Cale were expecting a boy.

“Try topping that reveal,” Chase offers as he glances over at Ryan and Lindsay.

“We actually talked about waiting until she has the baby to see what it is,” Ryan comments as Chase looks over surprised.

“Are you sure your sisters are going to let you away with that? I’d expect them to want to know so they can shop and spoil the baby, and plan the baby shower.” Ryan chuckles as he had heard rumblings from both already about those plans.

“They have Emma’s boy to spoil. That should keep them occupied for awhile.”

Friday August 3, 2018 – Watkin’s Glen International

“What are you looking at?” Chase questions as the pair of them relax in the transporter together.

“White flowers, or light blue flowers?” She asks as she flips between the images.

“Light blue. The snow will have so much white that you want something to compliment it.” She then looks over surprised as he puts his arm around her. “You learn those things doing photo shoots. Are you almost done planning for the wedding?”

“Venue, decorations, and now flowers – I say guest list and then finding the perfect dress.” He smiles as he looks into her eyes.

“I don’t care what you wear as you’ll look beautiful no matter what.” He then leans in, lightly kissing her lips. “Guest list – close friends and family only. That should be easy..”

“I just hope that things go smoothly when it comes to that.” She then sets her phone down. “I heard from Lindsay that Emma wasn’t pleased that I wasn’t there, blaming it on Eri-”

“I talked to Emma about it, and whether she agreed or not, who knows. But she knows from me that you were sick and she saw it on the weekend. She’s just set to let it go.” Sarina lets out a chuckle.

“Chase, I haven’t known them as long as you know, but I know how protective Emma can be from Lindsay.” Chase lets out a sigh.

“So Emma threatened to kick my ass should something else happen – that’s normal. Like you told me last week, there’s nothing to worry about because we love each other.” He then intertwines his fingers with hers. “Nobody is going to change that, ever.”

“I know…” She then lays her head against him. “Even if the fans want to start rumors and little hashtag battles.”

“Hashtag battles?” She then picks her phone back up, going into Twitter as she loads a poll. “Sarell or Charina? We have a couple hashtag now?” She chuckles, nodding her head. “I guess Sarase didn’t sound as good. Did you vote?”

“Uh no, I don’t want them to realize I’m stalking their crazy asses.” He then laughs as he glances through some of the tweets. “But you have to admit, there’s some entertaining stuff in there….”

“You certainly have gathered a following.” He then hands the phone back to her.

“It still surprises me, sometimes. I still can’t believe my decision to go down main street and grab a drink when we landed because I wanted to go to my favorite smoothie shop since I had been missing it resulted in paparazzi.” She then pulls up the photo they took. “Like, that’s insane. You don’t even have that unless you’re downtown New York.”

“At least they took an adorable photo of you…” She then shakes her head. “But I also heard they were in town due to Ariana Grande or something, so maybe they mistook you at first. Not that I could understand why because you’re so much more beautiful.”

“Careful Chase, too much of the flirting and we may get distracted. I have practice soon….” Chase nods his head, remembering as he rubs her shoulders. With the trucks being off, she had decided to run the K&N Series race to get some more road course experience.

“Are you sure you’re feeling up to it?” She then glances back at him surprised.

“Are you going to be overprotective for the months to come because of one sick weekend?”

“Someone has to take care of you…” He then kisses her cheek, causing her to turn back and face him, with their lips meeting together.

“We take care of each other, always….” She then wraps her arms around him as their lips find each other’s once again, with his hands slipping underneath the back of her shirt. “Chas-”

“You need to get changed anyway….”