Saturday, November 17 – Homestead-Miami Speedway
Chase walks into the No. 9 garage stall, ready for the first of two practices ahead of Sunday’s race. However, he stops immediately, noticing the eyes focused on him.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Josh Kirk questions as he steps forward amongst the group.
“I thought you loved us!” John Gianninoto adds as Chase could only chuckle in response.
“I even helped made sure that you guys mad-” Jared Seate comments.
“Can you just let that go already?” Tom Gray interrupts. “The bigger issue here is Chase didn’t tell us before he told the world.” Chase kept chuckling as he glanced across the faces. This certainly wasn’t the way he was expecting to start the day.
“Since she shouldn’t had been racing while pregnant, we only kept it to a few people,” Chase starts with a glance towards Alan. “And she wasn’t supposed to originally tell everybody last night. We had planned to reveal at the banquet, and I was going to tell you the week before that.”
“You son of a bitch….” Jordan then lets out, earning a surprised glance from Chase immediately. “You knew!!” Alan just smiles back in response as Jordan shakes his head. “That’s why you immediately set forth on comforting Sarina at Las Vegas. You knew she was pregnant, and didn’t want her risking anything. I should’ve known something was up when you took my job.” Alan walks over to Chase, leaning on his driver a little.
“Shouldn’t you guys at least say congratulations to our driver?” Alan questions, which just gets him back a series of scuffed glances in return.
“I want to know how this happ-” John starts.
“Are you serious?” Chase cuts him off, actually taken back by the comment. “I’d expect Jared to say that!” Jared’s jaw drops in surprise.
“Take that back!” Jared instructs and Chase shakes his head no. “Besides, we both know how it happened. They laid down together, stripped clothes and there you go.” Eddie could only shake his head.
“I don’t think I needed that image in my head,” Eddie comments as he walks over to Chase. “Congratulations, and I hope everything goes well for you both. You’re in my thoughts for a healthy baby.” Chase smiles, easily accepting a hug from the spotter before he heads off.
“See, that’s the proper way to congratulate….” Alan says before walking over to the toolbox, ready to put focus back to the task at hand.
“I still want to kno-” John starts once again, earning a series of eye rolls.
“John!” John then puts his hands up in the air.
“I meant keeping the secret and who knew before us; I didn’t mean the actual act!” Chase lets out a sigh, really not wanting to get into the details.
“Are they being typical immature boys as we expected?” Sarina questions, as she walks up behind him, wrapping her arms around as she places her hand against his shoulder.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Chase replies, before turning around to face her, sharing a quick kiss which only increases the response in the garage area. “Are you okay?” She nods her head. “You don’t have to come out her-”
“I had the sex with you, I got pregnant, and I damn well agreed to go forth in the steps that I took from keeping the baby, to racing, to where we are today. If there’s going to be a tornado of reactions from everybody, it’s only fair that I face them with you.” He then places his hand on her shoulder.
“I just don’t want to stres-”
“I can handle it, Chase.” She then looks over at the crew guys, who were continuing to stare. “As for you guys, thanks for the congratulations in advance.”
“So that’s it?” Tom questions. “We don’t get a true explanation?” Chase then lets out a sigh. “I mean, it doesn’t matter either way. I just figured that we deserved it after everything.”
“Can we please not talk about Alison?” Jordan questions, not wanting to relive last week’s experiences. “Sure, we’ve gone a step above at times for these guys. But they don’t have to tell us everything that goes on in their life.” Sarina, meanwhile, knew the guys wouldn’t stop talking if they tried to just let it go.
“I found out at Indianapolis in August, okay?” She starts, earning a couple puzzling glances. “Remember the long ass rain delay that we had there? I called Samantha over, expressed some concerns, and I took the test. It was positive. I made the decision right then and there I was going to finish the season behind the wheel, no questions asked. Call it determination, call it stupid – I don’t care. That’s how it went down, right then and there.”
“So Samantha knew before you did?” Jared Seate questions as he leans back against the NAPA Chevrolet, earning a nod from Chase.
“Were you having regrets at Talladega?” Nick O’Dell offers, remembering the wreck that she had down the backstretch on the last lap.
“That’s why I was crying afterwards,” she replies, quietly and slowly. “I thought I had screwed up royally and lost the baby right then and there.” She then takes a deep breath, as Chase clutches onto her hand. “I feared the worst and knew that it was all my fault if that was the case. So certainly, there was a chance of regret and pain at Talladega. However, I made the bed, and I would have to lay in it no matter what happened.”
“So when did you find out?” John wonders, as Chase takes a deep breath.
“I found out that afternoon when I got back to the motorcoach after spending the day with Ryan,” Chase reveals. “I agreed to her plan immediately because I told her that I stood by whatever decision she made due to how much I loved and trusted her.” He then looks over at her. “And I wouldn’t change a single thing looking back now.” He then leans in, giving her a little kiss.
“Aren’t they adorable?” Jared questions as he just smiles at the pair. “All because of my dear handy work. I’m just so proud of you both…” Chase and Sarina both roll their eyes.
“Do you have any duct tape?” Sarina jokes, as Alan holds up a roll from the toolbox. “I may need some of that for the wedding.” Jared then gives her a glance as she just smiles back in response.
“Dale has working jail cells,” Chase offers. “We could just lock him up.” Sarina laughs in response, nodding her head in agreement. “The next person to find out was Kyle because she wanted him to know being the truck ow-”
“Isn’t Samantha the boss?” Chad Avrit interrupts, actually catching Chase by surprise as he had been quiet so far.
“So Kyle knew before us?” Jared asks, earning another eye roll from Chase and Sarina.
“Half-boss but Kyle calls most of the shots than she does,” Sarina states, which obviously everybody knew anyway. “He wasn’t happy, but he accepted. I believe Chase then told Alan next.” Chase nods his head, remembering the text messages sent from the motorcoach.
“I’m surprised you kept the secret this long,” Jordan comments, as Alan just shrugs his shoulders.
“I knew it was important to them,” Alan states as he locks eyes with Chase. He knew there was much more possible moving forward, giving no trace of Alison to date yet despite Homestead supposedly stepping up security. “Chase knows that he can trust me with any secret, no matter what it is, and I will keep it for him. That’s the brotherhood that we share together.”
“I went to JR Motorsports and told Kelley about what was going on Tuesday,” Sarina continues, remembering the steps that they took. “I wanted her to know what was going on since we were getting set to announce my new contract, and I didn’t want her signing up for something she didn’t bargain for. Obviously, I am probably going to miss the first cou-”
“Has the boss signed you up for those?” Josh interrupts with a glance over at Chase. Chase shakes his head no, remembering Kelley’s immediate words in the office after learning the news. The focus for Chase would remain on his own racing and Sarina; she was ready to take the pressure off them both.
“Sadler?” Tyler Semke guesses, as a small smirk forms on Chase’s face. “Seriously?”
“He said yesterday he was done racing full-time,” Chase reminds the crew. “He also stated he’d be open to running the odd race here and there. It’ll just be sooner than they thought.” The crew could only curse themselves in having seen signs, but yet nothing being figured out to date.
“So who else knew before us precious crew members?” Jordan wonders, as Chase lets out a sigh. he almost wishes he would’ve told Jordan as it would’ve made sense given his closeness to Sarina and role on race day.
“My parents found out Tuesday nig-”
“I bet Cindy wasn’t happy with Sarina’s decision to race,” Josh comments, which earns a simple nod from Chase.
“Bill wasn’t too thrilled either, but he was more accepting than Cindy,” Sarina reveals, remembering how tense she felt with Cindy raising her concerns. “We also told Ryan and Lindsay, too.” While the crew wanted to object, they couldn’t in knowing how close the pair were to them. “I told Rudy , and Christopher figured it out. Other than that, nobody else knew until last night.”
“Well, congratulations,” Chad says as he walks over, hugging the pair of them. “Here’s to a healthy baby Elliott in the new year.”
“Which run were you most comfortable?” Alan questions as Chase lets out a sigh.
“They both weren’t very comfortable if I’m being honest,” Chase answers, before glancing up at the speed chart. With having finished the session ranked 19th, he had to admit his outlook wasn’t very positive.
“I know you weren’t, but I want to figure which set-up we should start with and adjust from.” Chase takes a deep breath, trying to think it through. Which handling condition was easier to deal with?
“The last run we made felt better if we’re looking at race runs. It started off so loose, and started to come around before going tight. If you can get rid of the tightness, that would help.” Alan could work with that, as he knew long runs were their strong suit the past couple of weeks.
“Loose all the way around the corner?” Chase nodded his head. “Tightness is all arou-”
“Tight in the very middle of the corner.” Alan then thinks back through the session.
“I can work on the adjustments, but can you try to run a little higher for me?” Chase knew that was easily possible, given the space that Homestead offered. However, there was a risk involved.
“I’ll give a try if it solves our problems.” Chase then picks up his phone from the toolbox, unlocking it as he goes into Twitter. He quickly scrolls through, reading the various comments from drivers on handling conditions and progress. However, he could also see the reaction that everybody had to Sarina’s pregnancy.
“Positive or negative?” Alan could tell what Chase was looking at without even glancing away from his own notes that he had began to look through after their discussion.
“Surprisingly, it’s mostly positive. There are a lot of people that have said congratulations, they’re happy for us, they hope for the best, and even some who understand the struggle in making a decision like that if they were in Sarina’s shoes.” Alan glanced up with a slight smile in hearing the news from his driver. He knew that certainly would make things easier on his shoulders.
“There’s some that also are upset that she chose to race for two full months while she was pregnant, feeling she put the baby in unnecessary danger. That has brought forth some to question if a change needs to be made to NASCAR’s policies, as well. You also have those who still are upset we’re together, perio-”
“Is that anything new, though?” Chase shakes his head no, having gotten used to it. There were some who still felt that she belonged with Christopher, and he belonged with Erin. There was also some who didn’t believe he belonged with either Sarina or Erin, and the couple crazies who wanted him to themselves. It was crazy to even see some of the girls inbox him with marriage requests.
“The best is this individual who tagged me in their message, asking if I had gotten a paternity test to make sure Christopher wasn’t the father.” Alan’s jaw drops in surprise. “And the other goes, ‘Well, if you could end up with Alison, it makes sense that she’d do that’ and others along those lines.”
“I don’t know if I want to be offended about the Christopher line, or the fact that they brought up Alison as if….” Alan’s voice trails off, realizing that maybe it wasn’t a good direction to be headed.
“As if they realized I brought it on and it wasn’t sexual assault?” Alan slowly nods his head.
“I didn’t mean to brin-”
“No, it’s fine. It’s actually a very important thing to think about that people out there can easily brush it off as if nothing happened. You wonder why it’s not recognized properly, and this is why.” Chase then glances down at his phone. “I get it because I didn’t want to accept the full pain, consequences, and feelings at the time, either. It took me a couple months to come to a full realization, and do what I needed to do.” He then slowly looks back up at Alan. “Let them think what they want, though. They weren’t there. It’s just sad.”
“Are you okay, though?” Chase nods his head, accepting, as he closes the twitter app.
“It doesn’t bother me. I have much more wonderful things to look forward to – like a sweet little baby gir-”
“So you found out the gender?” Alan was surprised to hear the mention, knowing that it had probably slipped from Chase accidently.
“Nope, we haven’t done that yet. I just have a really good feeling that it is a baby girl. I’ve been telling Sarina that for awhile now.” Alan had to smile as he remembered trying to guess the genders of his boys before they were born.
“Sometimes a dad’s intuition is right on point…” Chase looks over intrigued as Alan just smiles back in response. “I guessed mine right. That doesn’t mean that you will as well, but sometimes you never know.”
“I have a 50/50 chance, unless she’s having an alien.” Alan had to chuckle in response.
Alison shuts off the television screen, sitting back in her recliner with a smile on her face.
He wasn’t having the perfect weekend, and that was fine by her. It was actually nice to see him ranked 17th after the final practice session. Hopefully he finished there, or worse, on Sunday. It served him right for being such a pain in the ass to her.
It was also nice to see that he wasn’t the world’s perfect angel anymore, given the latest round of social media comments and articles. A good decent size of the population weren’t happy with him right now, and that was fine by her. They were obviously getting to see the side of him that she had gotten used to, and was ready to change.
She even felt a bit of pride in reading a couple of the messages, with people recognizing that he had fallen for her advances. That’s right, she could cast a spell on him after all and the world knew that it was possible. Why weren’t they sitting in the court room that day?
However, she couldn’t ignore the disappointment and anger she felt as she re-watched the interview from Friday night once again.
“I believed it happened for a reason,” she listens to Sarina say for what seemed like the millionth time. “I know I’ve taken a lot of your time and the light should be shining on our new series champion, which congratulations to Brett, so I’m just going to say this straight out. I am pregnant.”
This chick wasn’t supposed to be pregnant with his child. This chick wasn’t supposed to be this close to her man. This chick wasn’t supposed to be having her perfect reality begin coming true. Why was this happening? She almost wanted to hope that something happened between now and March.
“Happened for a reason my ass!” Alison lets out in a big scream, chucking the remote against the wall, causing it to break into a couple different pieces.
Though as she began to feel the fury against Sarina, she froze immediately.
She takes a deep breath, her own hands landing on her stomach. She was in those very same shoes earlier this year. She was set to have a baby of her own and then it was ripped away just like that. she remembered the pain that she felt then, and how it still numbed her now.
It was why she could do nothing with Lindsay a couple weeks ago. it was also why she couldn’t bring herself to truly wish for something to happen, or for her to go after Sarina in the coming months.
“That just means there’s more loving for you in store, ‘ol Georgia boy,” she says quietly, licking her lips as she looks towards the poster on the wall.
She was still going to get another sweet taste of that peach and savor her taste buds. She also knew that was ready to take it further, and really showcase all those feelings perfectly. After all, she was still going to get her baby. She was still going to get her man in the end. She was still going to make him see what she saw, and knew that she needed to get to work on that immediately.