Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 92: “There’s something about you, and blue….”

Friday, June 9

Chase walked into the garage, smiling as he saw the crew guys all hanging around ready for a busy day of practice and qualifying. With the speed they’d shown lately, and a good run last week, it was time to keep the momentum rolling.

“Ready to go, superstar?” Jared Seate questions and Chase shakes his head yes. “Not missing the girl at all?”

“I’m confident that she’ll do well this weekend,” Chase answers, having followed the live updates from Kyle Busch Motorsports all-day Thursday on practice. While she wasn’t at the top of the time sheet, the fact that she felt comfortable and knew they’d be good in race trim was a good feeling. Now if they just borrowed a bit of Bell’s qualifying set-up, perhaps it’d be a stellar night for her.

“And let me guess – she’ll be here tomorrow?” Chase shakes his head no, remembering her plans.

“She’s going to stay back to watch the Stadium Super Trucks and the IndyCars. She’ll be here on Sunday, though.”

“I thought she’d be traveling back to be with you as soon as possible.” Chase laughs and shakes his head no, though partially wishing that a bit himself. He had to admit he missed her sometimes on weekends like this. Though, it was part of the schedule and he knew the summer brought that a lot with how the trucks did a lot of stand-alone events.

“We have our own lives, and our own desires. We both want to make this work. I respect hers just as much as she respects mine, so therefore we give each other space.” Jared crosses his arms as he couldn’t help but admire that.

“Then why is it your mother still has a problem with her? I mean, we’re four months removed and you guys have only grown more closer together. I mean, it’s the talk of the garage…well, besides Bubba getting a chance to drive for Petty. But still, it baffles me.” Chase knew the answer without saying much as he sat down beside the crew member.

“She still doesn’t trust her and fully grasp what happened there. She gets the reasons why she did it, and yes, she has a heart and understands. But I’m her baby and as she described to me, she’s supposed to protect me no matter what. It’s an underlying worry that she has still till she’s fully proven otherwise. It’ll take time, but it will happen. Besides, she admitted that she’s starting to grow on her….” Jared smiles, remembering that small detail amongst everything.

“I heard that comment at Dover, too – till she mentioned Sarina’s brother. It seems with her brother in the picture, it may not ever come though.” Chase knew that was a good possibility, having pondered that a bunch of times himself. It wasn’t like it was something he could brush aside either, recalling a couple recent conversations with Alan.

“I don’t blame her, honestly. I mean, look at what happened between us, right? I’ve told Alan straight out, too, that I don’t fully trust him either.” Jared watched Chase curiously, as he thought over his next question.

“Alan mentioned a worry about the poison deal being connected to him. Are you worried about that?” Chase wanted to straight out say no, however he couldn’t do that. He heard about Chris’ brief ‘fan zone’ disappearance, and seemed odd on the timing of the incidents. “I see some hesitation….”

“Let’s just say that I know what he said to me that day, and it has stuck ever since. Now, we have a job to do, right?” Jared shakes his head yes as he watches Chase stand up. “Let’s focus and do what we got to do.”

“Yes boss.” Jared then brushes his legs off, before heading the other direction as Chase lets out a sigh. Glancing at the car, he knew it was time to focus on the day at hand.

The team was able to put together a solid practice, with Chase ‘alright’ about the car after the session full of race trim runs. As they got ready to switch over for qualifying trim, he could only hope that it went accordingly to plan.

With some time to kill between the session, he made his way back to the trailer, snagging some lunch before relaxing in the lounge part of the hauler. Just as he was set to bite into his sub, his phone rang and an immediate smile formed on his face.

“Hey princess,” he says as he hit answers on the FaceTime request, instantly earning an eye roll from her.

“Oh, so you think that you can try that line on me since it worked so well for Christopher?” She questions as he laughs.

“But you’re my princess as I’d do anything to make you feel good.” She couldn’t help but giggle in response.

“Okay, that earns you a point Mr. Elliott. The only thing is I don’t know how I feel about you in orange yet. There’s something about you and blue…” He just rolls his eyes.

“Well, white definitely works for you, sweetie, as it shows off every curve – just don’t let people stare at that butt of yours.” She takes another round of chuckling.

“You’ll just have to win me over with that lovely orange….” He looks on intrigued. However, he couldn’t deny that he was loving the chat as it was nice to get in some quality flirting.

“Maybe when you’re here on Sunday I can do that. Better yet, you can show up a day early and make my weekend that much sweeter.” She then sighs. It was a big toss-up for her. One of the reasons she loved the trucks racing at Texas was the fact IndyCar and SST ran the same weekend. She loved watching both, and it was nice to get a chance to see them live for a change. However, she understood the pain of being separated for a couple days.

“You know I’m just a ring-a-ling a way if you’re that desperate for company, Chase. But anyways, I thought you could take care of yourself.” Chase chuckles.

“Oh I’m not worried about myself, dear. I know I can handle cooking and all that day. It’s you that I worry about.” She had to laugh, knowing that her cooking was questionable at times. There were also times that she forgot to eat totally when she got busy.

“Does it make you happy that I’m eating while talking to you right now?” He shakes his head yes. “Good. So see, I can take care of myself.”

“Just make sure you have a good safe, fun, clean night. I want to see what a cowboy hat looks like on that sweet head of yours.” She smiles, wishing for the same result.

“I’m going to try, buddy. Alright – I better go as Marcus wants to chit chat soon. Talk later?” He shakes his head yes. “Love you.”

“Love you, more. Bye Sarina.” He then hangs up as he kicks his feet up, eating the rest of his sub as he watched XFINITY practice. That phone call was exactly what he needed.

The relaxation lasted for a good hour before a knock at the door, and he knew it was time for qualifying. Making his way out of the trailer, he grabs one of the markers off the counter and heads out. Taking his time along the way, he signs some autographs for the fans as he heads out to pit road.

He makes his way out to pit road and the walk down to his stall for the session, set to lay down the best lap that he could imagine.

“I was wondering where you were,” he hears a male voice as he reaches there, surprised to see his parents. They had told him they were coming, but weren’t sure if they’d get there for Friday or not.

“I was taking my time, but knew I’d be here with time to spare,” he answers as he fixes his shoes.

“Any updates from Texas?” He shakes his head no, knowing the truck series qualifying session was scheduled around the same time that he was supposed to go out for his session.

“She’s supposed to text me when she’s done, just as I am supposed to do for her.” Bill shakes his head, understanding. It was the same agreement that they had in place when she was racing a late model for him.

“Her brother and that supposed cousin with her?” Cindy asks and Chase shakes his head yes, only imagining what his mom would say next.

“Well, Bethany actually isn’t with them since Sarina told her off this week after the family comment stunt,” he starts. “Bethany stopped by and made some other comment about that reunion. Sarina told her to fly a kite because she wasn’t doing family drama anymore.” Cindy rolls her eyes.

“But yet she still hangs around with her brother?” Chase lets out a sigh, having a feeling that was coming.

“We’ve talked about this, and that’s all I’m going to say. I’ve told you what she’s said about her brother. I’ve also told you that I’m being cautious and careful. Now, can we drop it, please?” Cindy shakes her head, knowing there were bigger fish to fry. Besides, as long as he aware, that was all that mattered.  “It is nice to see you both, though.” Chase then walks away, heading over to Alan as Cindy watches on.

“You need to relax a little,” Bill comments as he rubs her shoulders.

“But I’m Mama Bear and it’s my job to prote-” Cindy starts.

“But your cub is growing up, and learning to handle things for himself. Besides, you both are just going around in circles. You see how much he loves her. Respect that, embrace that. Give her a chance.” She then looks back at Bill.

“You’re just worried that he’s going to be mad at me and not talk to me, aren’t you? You don’t want to lose that…” Bill just pulls her back close. “Don’t worry – I won’t let it come to that. But I will not back down when it comes to protecting him.”

The debates of the afternoon were all put aside through the next couple of hours with the focus being on qualifying. Still fighting a loose condition, Chase was unable to lay down the lap he wanted and barely missed out on making it to the second round, qualifying 25th.

“I should’ve went further on that adjustment,” Alan comments after the session is over. “I’m sorry.” Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“There’s a lot of ways to get to the front, strategy or passing,” Chase says. “We’ll work on the car a little tomorrow and be fine for Sunday. Don’t worry.” Alan smiles, liking the confidence from his driver.

“I believe you’re right as we know what we need to do now.” Chase shakes his head yes as he grabs his phone off the pit cart. “Any update?” He shakes his head no as he lets out a sigh.

“Pole!!!!” Jared Seate lets out, causing everyone to look over confused.

“Um, none of our cars on the pole,” Alan states the obvious as Jared laughs, shaking his head.

“Truck Series live timing and scoring – I have it loaded on my phone from NASCAR’s website. Someone is going to love-a-dub his update from his girl.” Chase then looks over at Jared with a face of amazement.

“Seriously?” He questions and Jared shakes his head yes, walking over as he shows Chase the scoring monitor.

“Read it and weep, baby. Sarina Ott just got her first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole at Texas Motor Speedway. How does that feel?” Chase immediately smiles as he lets out a small woohoo.

“That’s awesome!” He then grabs his phone, texting her immediately to say congratulations, knowing she’d get it once done with all the photos and such.

“So, where are you watching this truck race tonight?” Chase looks over at Jared, intrigued. “We were stealing Alan’s suite at the hotel tonight because he’s got the 70 inch screen in there. That’d allow you to see her full screen…”

“Do you really want a panicking boyfriend ruining our viewing experience?” Chad Avrit questions as Chase laughs.

“Me? Panicking?” He asks and Chad shakes his head yes.

“I saw you at Talladega. You’re nervous watching her.” Chase chuckles, though knew that the crew guys were right.

“Regardless, I think it’d be fun if you join us…” Jared continues as Chase thinks it over, figuring company was perhaps a good idea since Ryan and Darrell had ditched him.

“Fine, just so I can drive Chad crazy,” he comments.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 91: Testing

Tuesday, June 6

Chase Elliott walks into the garage, seeing the crew looking over the car as he lets out a sigh. He glances over, seeing Daniel Suarez standing there texting someone on his phone.

“Bored yet?” He questions after Daniel had finished typing the message.

“Impatient,” Daniel answers as Chase laughs, shaking his head in agreement. “No Sarina?” Chase shakes his head no.

“She had to do some stuff at the shop for Kyle so she couldn’t come.” Daniel shakes his head, understanding. “Do you have a girlfriend?” Daniel shakes his head no as Chase looks on shocked. “Really? I thought you would’ve talked some girl up all nice in Spanish.”

“No senorita yet to accept. Do you know any Spanish?” Chase chuckles.

“Does Un and hola count?” Daniel rolls his eyes. “Seriously, how did you learn to speak English?”

“Cartoons. I watched Barney – he’s a little strange. I watched teletubies and found them stranger.” Chase couldn’t help but laugh.

“I can’t believe I watched those when I was younger and loved them just because of how strange they are now. Please tell me that you watched Caillou?” Daniel smiles and shakes his head yes as Chase laughs. “Oh wow….”

“I’m just a kid whose four, each day I grow some more, I like exploring I’m Caillou. So many things to do….” Chase just laughs as he hears the song again. “You know the words?”

“Unfortunately, I do remember them as doesn’t it go each day is something new, I’ll share them with you, I’m Caillou. My world is turning, changing each da-”

“Please tell me that you aren’t singing Caillou,” David Ragan interrupts the pair as they laugh. “Oh my gosh. I thought I heard enough of that from my kids. Why oh why?”

“Daniel was telling me about how he learned English from watching Caillou, Teletubies and Barney,” Chase explains as David looks at the rookie in surprise.

“Really?” Daniel shakes his head yes. “Did you watch Sesame Street?”

“Learn to count thanks to Count Dracula,” Daniel comments. “Elmo and Big bird were good, too.”

“Least you watched some good shows,” David says before walking away.

“Why you ask?” Chase thinks back as to why the discussion originally started.

“I was just curious, honestly,” Chase says.

“Did you want to learn Spanish?” Daniel wonders as Chase thinks it over.

“Maybe…” Daniel then smiles.

“Go home and watch Dora, and then Dieago. They are good.” Chase laughs and shakes his head no immediately. “No?”

“I am not sitting down and watching Dora go exploring. That darn swiper fox will annoy me.” Daniel had to admit that Chase was probably right.

“You can try watching La Ritita Presumida or Charlie y Lola. They are better.”  Chase thinks it over, catching his interest. “Now, you want to impress senorita. Does she know, Spanish?” Chase wasn’t sure of Sarina knew any Spanish as he’d never asked.

“I don’t know…” Daniel thinks it over.

“Buy flowers and chocolate. Then say, ‘Oh Sarina, eres la mujer más bella que conozco. No puedo describir lo mucho que te amo.’ She will be impressed.” Chase then looks at him shocked.

“Say what? Can I have that written down or something?” Daniel chuckles as he writes it out in text message, sending it to Chase. “Yeah, okay, that will take practice. What does that mean?”

“She is beautiful and you love her so much.” Chase smiles as that sounded right. “You could say, ‘Sé que soy el mejor piloto, y podría ganarte cualquier día de la semana,’ but she may kick your ass.” Chase then looks on confused. “You are the better driver, and could beat her anywhere.”

“Send me that…” Chase knew it’d be a good test of her Spanish knowledge, even if he didn’t know for sure whether Daniel was truthful.

“I will send another she love…” Chase looks on confused as he looks at the message. “Sé que soy un imbécil que realmente no habla español bien.”

“Translation?” Daniel just smiles as he walks away.

“She will love you…” Chase couldn’t help but be confused. However, noticing the team was ready, he knew there was no time to waste.

*******************************

Wednesday, June 7

Sarina pulls him close as he walks through the door, giving him a big hug.

“You actually got home a couple hours early,” she says as they walk through the house together. “What gives?”

“We got done early so I headed out of there,” he tells her as he keeps an arm wrapped around her. “I wanted to spend time with you before you left.” She smiles as they sit down on the couch together. “Kyle make you work hard?”

“Nah – just some autographs and a debrief with the guys. Nothing I can complain about. Alan make you work hard?” Chase shakes his head no.

“Just turning left multiple times, followed by explaining how that felt. I think we settled on a good set of tires for everybody.” She smiles as it was always nice when a test went well.

“I heard you and Daniel were practicing Spanish….” He then smiles, shaking his head yes as he takes out his phone. “Uh oh….”

“Sé que soy el mejor piloto, y podría ganarte cualquier día de la semana…..I think I said that right.” She then chuckles.

“Do you even know what you said?” He shakes his head yes, reading the translation underneath. “Right, because that’s a load of crock as I bet your ass that I’d win.”

“Didn’t I win at Martinsville this year? I also beat you at Atlanta, too.” She then rolls her eyes.

“Why don’t we go get some go-karts and I’ll show you how the bump and run works?” He then looks on surprised.

“Oh really? That’s how this is going to be?” She shakes her head yes with a smile. “As tempting as that is, I say we spend the night in cuddling since I’m going to be missing you for three whole days.” She then curls up close to him, easily accepting without a fight.

“So, what else did he teach you?” Chase re-opens the text messages, debating which one to read next. He knew for sure what the first one meant word for word, but was unsure about the second given how quickly Daniel walked away.

“Oh Sarina, eres la mujer más bella que conozco. No puedo describir lo mucho que te amo.” A smile forms on her face immediately as she looks up into his eyes.

“Oh Chase, eres muy guapo también. Te quiero mucho y te amaré siempre.” He then looks on a little confused as she smiles. “It means your handsome, I love you and I’ll cherish you.” He then steals a quick kiss from her. “I see he was showing you his charm for the senorita.”

“You could say that, after he got done singing Caillou.” She then laughs as she heard about the singing experience that happened.

“Least you weren’t caught singing Barney. I think that’d be more embarrassing.” He shakes his head in agreement. “What else did he teach you?”

“He told me one more thing to tell you. Sé que soy un imbécil que realmente no habla español bien.” She then breaks out laughing even harder as she shakes her head in amazement. She couldn’t wait to text Daniel back after this experience. “That bad?”

“I know I’m an imbecile who does not really speak Spanish well.” He then looks on shocked.

“Honestly?” She shakes her head yes. “I knew that last one had to be a prank because he was laughing as he walked away. What a jackass!” She laughs even harder as she curls back up close to Chase.

“It’s okay, I love you and I appreciate the effort. By the way, if you want to learn, trust me instead. I’ll at least not lie to you.” He could only shake his head in disbelief.

“Yeah, thanks….” She then keeps her arms wrapped around him as she brushes her lips against his, taking them in.

“Chase, I’m going to miss you…” He keeps his arms wrapped around her, rubbing her shoulders.

“It’s only three days….”

“Three days too many…” She then lays her head back against his chest. “Promise me you’ll be careful?”

“You better promise me the same thing.” She shakes her head, accepting. Why was it they were both at two of the fastest tracks apart from each other? “And don’t you dare accept drinks from strangers.”

“Again, you better promise me the same. I don’t want no hospital text messages.” Chase could only shake his head in agreement. “Why is it so hard this time around?”

“Because we both realize how much we mean to each other, and we both scared the crap out of each other.” She feels her nerves twitch at the thought of Talladega on the mind.

“No repeating Talladega, okay?”

“No repeating it either.” He then rubs her shoulders, once again. “We’ll be fine. We’ll both have amazing weekends as we text and face time each other whenever we get a chance. We’ll do it so much that we’ll annoy our crew chiefs.” She then chuckles, knowing that was easy with Marcus.

“Long as your crew guys aren’t reading the messages, I’m okay with Alan….” He then chuckles, knowing how troublesome his crew could be at times.

“I’ll keep their paws off, don’t worry.”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 90: AAA 400 Drive for Autism

Christopher Bell leans back against a post, watching Chase and Sarina walk through the garage together. He could only let out a sigh as Todd Gilliland walked up to join him.

“You seem a little disheartened watching them,” Todd comments, catching a glance from Christopher. “If I didn’t know you had a girlfriend, I’d say you were crushing on her.” Christopher chuckles as he lets out a sigh.

“She’s not that bad looking bud, but you’re right – no crushing,” Christopher says. “I’m just thinking about what she said to me.”  Todd then glances over surprised.

“When she called you a jackass?” Christopher laughs and shakes his head no.

“We talked on Friday, actually. She asked me to get off her back and stop annoying her about Chase. I said I guess I could, but I had my reasons. I mean, you know – oh wait, you probably don’t know much about the fight they had after what happened at the Winter Meltdown, do you?” Todd shakes his head no. “Anyways, I have my doubts and concerns of their fight and what happened with her brother. I’m worried about her, you know? So she accepted that they were reasonable concerns in response, and told me her reasons as to why they weren’t bothering her. I accepted.”

“So that should mean this is all over and you staring is nothing, right?” Christopher glances at his teammate and shrugs his shoulders.

“It should, but I asked her why it meant a lot to her. Let’s just say that her response was interesting as to her background, and how she hasn’t had that person for stability or trust in her life – till she got the chance to run a late model down here, and till she met Chase. He’s only the second person, per her, to give her a true chance. It made me think…”

“You’re starting to realize that you were a jackass?” Christopher turns his head sharply as Todd smiles. “Hey, it’s okay to admit it. We’ve all done that before.”

“I guess…..”

********************************

Chase stood by the car on pit road, leaning against it as he lets out a sigh. If it was up to him, he’d just snap his fingers and it would be race time. Instead, he had to wait impatiently for opening ceremonies to commence.

“I’m surprised you don’t got a body guard or something hanging around,” He hears and glances over at his mom. He takes off his sunglasses, giving her a surprised glance.

“Why do you say that?” He questions, waiting for some reference to Sarina’s brother.

“Between Jared being poisoned, to that driver at Bristol, and then now Jake this weekend, I thought security would’ve been increased.” He couldn’t blame her as he had wondered the same after the events experienced. However, instead, they each go briefed on the happenings and that was all.

“We were just warned about the usual protocol of watch where you get stuff from, and make sure nobody is slipping something in your cup. That’s why this is being held close…” His mom walks over, giving him the once over as she glances at the bottle of Gatorade.

“Have they done any proper investigating?” Bill wonders. “Any leads?” Chase shrugs his shoulders, knowing the authorities were giving little details as possible.

“I know Jared went through a good questioning session with them as they wondered what he remembered and who was around him. Alan, Greg and a couple of the guys also got questioned as to how much he was around them and away from them, and also background checked due to possible reasoning – who knows why. I had a quick round of questions with them being my crew member, and Sarina spent a good round with them due to Jake.”

“Any update on Jake?” Sarina smiles as she walks over, wrapping an arm around Chase.

“I went and saw him yesterday actually,” she states. “He’s doing pretty good. They said that he is in the clear so he should be released soon and back to work. Didn’t Jared go back to work this week?” Chase shakes his head yes, pointing to him as he sat on the wall with the other guys.

“That’s good to hear.”

“Oh yes, because everybody needs Jared picking on them,” Chase comments as Jared perks up.

“Did you say something over there, Mr. Elliott?” Jared questions as Chase looks back.

“You’re hearing things…” Jared then stands up and walks over.

“I don’t think so….” He then wraps an arm around Sarina and leads her away. “Listen, that boy there, he’s trouble. You got to watch that one. I tell you he’s going to play games with you.” She then laughs as she looks back over at Chase.

“I don’t think I have anything to worry about man,” she comments as she sneaks out of his grasp and back over to Chase.

“Find your own girl; this sweetpea is all mine,” Chase says as he gives her a quick kiss.

“Sweetpea?” Bethany questions as she walks over. “That’s an interesting nickname that I’d never hear said in reference to Sarina.” Sarina then looks over at her cousin and brother.

“And that’s a nickname that you’ll never ever damn well repeat,” Sarina states as Bethany just smirks at her.

“Wait till the family reunion. Sarina Sweetpea Ott.” Sarina glances down at the comment, shaking her head.

“We’re having one of those?” Bethany shakes her head yes. “Lovely. Count me out.”

“Why is that?” Sarina looks over at her cousin.

“Because I told you damn well what I thought of the family. Wasn’t that made clear already? Been through enough shit to do that.”

“Easy,” Chase comments as he rubs her shoulders. “Bethany, why don’t you can the topic for now and we talk about it later, okay?” She then rolls her eyes as she glances at Chris.

“Want to go find our seat?” She question and he shakes his head yes. They then head off together as Chase lets out a sigh.

“Family ties that bad?” Bill questions as they walk away and Sarina shakes her head yes.

“I’d rather not talk about it, but yeah,” she answers as she glances into Chase’s eyes. He knew her reasons as he kept his arms tightly wrapped around her.

“Hence why I said that I couldn’t trust them,” Cindy says, earning a stern glance from both Bill and Chase. “Don’t give me that look. You boys know what I said.” Sarina remembered her thoughts when speaking with Bell as she takes a deep breath. If she was going to earn Cindy’s trust, that started now.

“Cindy, I know I have a questionable past and certainly I know that has caused issues – I apologize continually over and over for what happened. But I can assure you and promise you that I will never, ever hurt your son again or your family. I love you both and you’re both sweet as ever, and that’s not my intention here. I love Chase, I can’t wait for what’s to come in the future, and there’s really no words to describe what I feel. I just hope that over time you can give me the respect and maybe a little love that I’ve got for you.” Cindy crosses her arms, eyes focused on the young lady in her son’s arms.

“With all due respect Ms. Chelsy Dryer, I can’t just turn a leaf and pretend that nothing happ-”

“I understan-”

“So don’t expect me to just bend over and say everything is fine till I damn well see what you’re saying. Based on your questionable family history and given your brother’s past, I think I have a very reasonable concern as to why I’m not comfortable with Bethany or Chris hanging around Chase and everybody. I think there’s reasons for me to double check safety at times. You probably get that, don’t you? Perhaps if you would’ve taken the whole deal seriously from the start, ousted your brother, solved this problem and then kept distance, you could’ve got what you wanted.” Sarina felt taken back by the comments – even more surprised in the usage of her real name. However, it was understandable given Cindy’s feelings on the situation.

“I understand what you’re saying, fully. All I can do is say my peace and try and show you, and hopefully it comes over time. There’s nothing else to say. And as far as my brother, we went through that in what happened with the brain surgery and such.” Cindy rolls her eyes, remembering.

“Don’t need a reminder. Chase, good luck today sweetheart. I hope you have a good run and we’ll talk after.” Chase rolls his eyes, knowing the discussion will be again whether he should trust Sarina or not. A glance at his dad hopefully meant that he’d have a talk with her first.

“Thanks,” he replies. “I love you.” He lets go of Sarina, walking over to give his parents each a hug, before returning to her as they make their way down pit road.

“I’m sorry….” Sarina says quietly as he pulls her back close.

“You don’t have to a single thing to say sorry about. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has a questionable decisions of their past. It’s not your fault what your family did. I know you feel bad for your mistakes and yes they hurt, but it’s okay. I’ve forgiven you because of the effort that you’ve put forth to fix the situation and just by how much you love me.” He turns her around in his arms, looking into her eyes. “I love you….”

“But I started that deal with Betha-”

“You have every right to skip that family reunion and tell her that straight up. I was fine with that. I just got her to cool off for now because we don’t need to do that here.” Sarina then glances down.

“But your mother….” He then puts his hand under her chin, tilting her head back up so their eyes were locked together.

“Remember – I told you that it’d take time with my mom. She’s going to test and twist you every way that she can imagine. That’s because I’m her baby bear, and she’s going to do whatever she can to protect me – she’s always been that way. Don’t let what she says get to you and trust that over time, she’ll see why I love you so much and love you just the same. She did let you in her house, right?” Sarina chuckles and shakes her head yes. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” She then gives him a kiss as they hear the cue for opening ceremonies.

Letting out a sigh as he grabs her hand firmly, he couldn’t wait for the race to start and leave this all in the rearview. There was some nagging part of him that agreed with his mom’s concerns over Chris. Bethany – that was an unsolvable interest.

*********************************

Sarina walks up to him after the race, wrapping both arms around him as she reaches up and kisses his lips.

“I’m so damn proud of you!” She tells him. “You drove your butt off on that last restart to get up there and snag a top-five. That’s how you do it.” He then smiles as he spins her around his arms.

“It’s nice to break the curse, as we say,” he replies as he sets her back down. “And thank you.”

“You’re amazing. I can’t wait for your first win…”

“You’re going to get one, too.” He then takes her hand, giving the pit crew a quick wave before they head off together.

“What are we going to do about this week?” He lets out a sigh and shakes his head. Beyond Monday, the pair weren’t going to get a lot of time together. he was off to Chicago to test on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed her heading off to Texas on Thursday for practice. She was then racing in Texas on Friday while he was at Pocono for practice and qualifying. With her plans to stay in Texas on Saturday for the IndyCar race, that meant the pair wouldn’t see each other till Sunday – and that was only if she made the trip from Texas to Pocono for the Cup race.

“Promise me that you’ll text me and face time as much as you can?” She shakes her head yes.

“Of course. Promise me that you’ll kick ass?” He then laughs.

“As long as you do the same.” He then lets out a sigh as he looks towards her. “We better get used to this as we have a long summer ahead of us.” She shakes her head, knowing there were going to be plenty of weekends apart.

“As long as we both run well and remind each other of how much we love each other, I say we’ll be okay.” He smiles as he gives her a hand a squeeze.

“I hope you’re right…”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 89: Bar Harbor 200

Friday at Dover International Speedway

Sarina walks through the garage area with Chase, giving him a quick kiss before letting him head off for practice. She then took a deep breath, continuing to make her way through the garage. She signed a couple autographs throughout her walk, before reaching the Kyle Busch Motorsports hauler.

“This needs to be done,” she calmly reminded herself as she took another calming deep breath. “This needs to be done….” She then walks up to the door, sliding it open and walking inside. She immediately comes face-to-face with her teammate, giving herself some more calming deep breathes. She wasn’t ever good at staying calm in these situations.

“You called?” Christopher Bell questions and she shakes her head yes.

“We need to talk about our issues,” she answers as he crosses his arms. Needless to say, she could tell that he had the same attitude as her normally.

“Our issues?”

“Well duh. Do you not recall what happened yesterday in the garage?” He rolls his eyes, shaking his head yes. His crew chief had already mentioned to him that it’d be best to clean up his actions.

“Let me guess – Marcus told you that we should work out our issues?” She shakes her head yes. “That figures as I got the same lecture. So, what’s it going to be?” She crosses her arms, knowing there was only one way through this.

“What is it going to take for you to damn well lay off Chase and I? It’s clearly obvious that you have a problem with us. You told me straight up at the shop that you didn’t trust him because of what happened. Well news flash, I trust him from one end of the earth to the other. If anybody should have a reason to not trust, it’s him for what I did. Now should that concern you? I don’t think not as it doesn’t concern me, hence why we’re together and better than ever. So, can you lay off please?” He lets out a sigh, wishing he could just say the words and do as she pleases. However, he couldn’t allow himself to do that.

“If you’d prefer that I lay off, I supposed I can keep my mouth shut for your sake. However, don’t think that I’m not going to keep my eye on you or him. I have some reasonable concerns that I’m sure plenty of others have as well based on what happened. I mean Sarina, how is it he can take you back so quick after you lied to him? How is it that you can handle things with him when he straight up admits that he’s nervous about your brother?” She lets out a sigh, having explained this already to Christopher.

“I’m not going through this again with you, Christopher. Can we just agree for you to shut your flap?”

“Can we just agree for you to consider my concer-”

“What is it going to take to get through your damn head?!?” A smile forms across his face as he keeps his eyes on her.

“Sarina Ott, the tough as nails female racer that nobody could crack and always held her own. Despite any challenge her way, she would never back down and stood guard to that person. Here was the girl that would never crack, shout – just give you straight up attitude back and let the talking happen on the track. But yet, here we are, and you can’t keep your damn cool and are shouting at me about your boy. Do you see what’s happening? You know my concerns are valid so therefore you have to push beyo-”

“Did I ever tell you that your concerns weren’t?” She then takes a deep breath, knowing that he was right though. It was amazing the things that love caused you to do. “I explained the trust deal. I explained why he was able to easily forgive me – hello the fear and everything. I explained why things are a mess with him and my brother – understandably as my brother basically tortured him for a good year. Like I said, their valid and I get why you can’t get it right away. The same way I get that Cindy has iss-”

“So his mom doesn’t like you, either? Oh man, that’s never going to fly knowing that boy as family means everything to him.” Sarina glances down, knowing that he was right in those words. She knew she’d have to work on Cindy over time if their future was going to be set, but she was fine with that. Like everything else, she understood the concerns.

“Like I was saying, everything is fair and valid. But, can you please give me the benefit of the doubt and shut up about it? I don’t need constant reminders. I don’t need you getting under his skin. I don’t need you always trying to shove it in my face. I get the damn mistakes made. Now give me the space to fix them, please!” Christopher leans back against the drawers, understanding where she was coming from as he keeps his eyes locked on hers.

“Why does this mean so much to you, Sarina? I want the truth…” She then glances back down as she looks away partially.

“My life has always been a mess. I’ve always been fighting against my own family and issues – just ask my brother about the deals that happened with our parents. My father was no perfect man and that caused tensions and resulted in what happened. I’ve always been on the run, trying to leave demons behind.” She then takes a deep breath as she looks up at Christopher. “When Chase gave me the chance to drive for him, it really set things down and gave me a chance for the life I wanted. It gave me a chance to have solid grounding, to stop worrying, and actually build towards what I wanted. Then when we started dating, he is the only second person in my life besides Tony Leons that I could truly trust and know that no matter what happened, things would be okay. I don’t want to lose that….”

“What about your cousin Bethany and your brother?” She lets out a small chuckle.

“Things have never been smooth there, nor has there ever been any grounding. Let’s just say that what we’ve seen this year is the first time I’ve seen something I wanted out of them both.” Christopher felt himself breaking for her, understanding her perspective.

“I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and leave you be. I get it and understand why you want this so badly now. To be honest, even though I was ribbing the heck out of you and bugging you, I want you to be happy. I want things to work with you and Chase. I hope they do work out, and you both get the happiness you deserve.” She looks up with a smile on her face.

“Thanks Christopher. You won’t say anything about this conversation to anyone, will you?” He shakes his head no. “Good, or else I may actually kick your ass.” He then walks over to her, wrapping an arm around her.

“Everybody has a vulnerable side, and that’s okay. As long as you handle it right and trust the right people, it’s fine. I’ve got your back.”

****************************************

Chase Elliott walks up the steps, taking his usual seat on the pit box as he was set to take in the truck race that afternoon. Silently crossing his fingers, he hoped that Sarina had the good run that she wanted.

He watched her through the first stage, seeing how loose the No. 18 Toyota Tundra was off the corners. However, like she had impressed him a couple years ago in the late model, she managed to keep it out of trouble and gain some track position, crossing the finish line for the first stage in fifth.

His eyes remained focused on her through the next stage, in hopes that she’d continue to make up ground. Restarting 16th, his nerves for her were edgy in knowing how quickly Miles could snatch you up with a single bite. However, she kept it clean, moving forward up to the eighth spot by Lap 74.

Ahead of her, a couple trucks got together, sending someone spinning. She slowed up to avoid after the call on the radio from her spotter, just to be hit from behind.

“Shit!” He heard her curse over the radio, feeling his heart drop. So much for the good run that she needed. “How bad is it?”

“It’s easily repairable,” the spotter announces over the radio, peaking Chase’s interest. “Left rear and bumper cover, crew chief.”

“10-4 bring it in,” Marcus instructs as he focuses his eyes on the pit crew. It was obvious what they needed to do.

The repairs came easily, with her returning to the track near the back and ready to make up the lost ground. Both Marcus and Chase crossed fingers in hoping the repairs were enough, watching her drive from 17th to 12th over the next 12 laps to complete the stage.

“Stay out!” Marcus instructs at the end of the stage, given that they only had 12 laps on their tires. “Going to gain some position here.”

“Whatever you say boss,” she replies, knowing that she could trust Marcus in seeing their work together already this year, and his past with Timothy Peters.

Restarting seventh, she made her way up through the traffic to the third spot, before having to under green for fuel on Lap 156. Now trapped a lap down, the field began to cycle through stops which was set to put her back on the lead lap. However that happened, the caution flew as Chase Briscoe’s wheel went rolling onto the track after coming loose.

“Crap!” Marcus lets out as he shakes his head. He knew that was pretty much the end of them getting the top-five finish they deserved. “Just try to do what you can here, and hope you get a caution for the lucky dog.”

She would put herself into position, running in the lucky dog spot after the restart. However, a caution failed to fall in the final 25 laps, trapping her a lap down and handing them a ninth place finish.

“Solid day everyone,” Marcus says over the radio. “Great effort all day. Great truck. Great driving. Sorry about the strategy.”

“It happens – you were just trying to make up what we lost,” Sarina says, not feeling a drop of disappointment. “Great job today guys!”

Climbing from the truck afterwards on pit road, a smile was firmly planted on her face the entire time. Normally, she had to admit in the past that she’d pissed about coming so close and falling short at the end. However, given how the past month had gone along with the fact that they still got a top-10, it was a great effort. It was the solid footing that they needed moving forward into the summer. It also didn’t help that she found Dover to be a very fun track, and couldn’t wait to race there again sometime.

“I’m proud of you,” Chase says as he gives her a hug, followed by a kiss. “You did a great job all day. Great driving, great maturity – you’re growing into quite the driver.”

“Why thank you Mr. Elliott,” she replies with a smile.

“I just may have to treat you out to dinner tonight as a present.” She then looks on surprised as they hadn’t gone out for dinner much since they started dating.

“Really?” He shakes his head yes. “I wouldn’t mind that one bit, actually. It’d be nice to get some alone time…”

“Just promise me you’ll both behave,” Marcus comments over her shoulder as she glances back, giving the crew chief a smack as he laughs. “I don’t want to find out my driver is preg-”

“Marcus!!” They both yell together as he laughs even harder while walking away.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 88: “Good luck with that, jackass!”

Thursday, June 1

Sarina walks into the garage, placing her helmet and gloves on the dash of the truck. She then noticed her teammates and their crew chiefs standing around, concerned. She then grabs her phone out of her pocket, walking over to join them.

“What’s going on?” She questions her crew chief Marcus Richmond.

“Another crew member has been poisoned,” Marcus tells her, causing her jaw drop to immediately. “One of our guys, actually – Jake. He’s going to be okay, so you don’t have to worry. But it just caught us off-guard.” She shakes her head in obvious agreement.

“First Bristol, then one of Chase’s guys and now Jake,” Harrison Burton says as he finds himself puzzled by the events.

“When did this happen?” She wonders as she glances amongst the group.

“Earlier today while we were going through tech, he seemed a little off and sure enough, that was it,” Marcus explains. “He said he had some food and he had a couple drinks while we were working before then so who knows as that could’ve been the cause.”

“You guys cleaned out the cooler incase, right?” Todd Gilliland wonders as he looks over the bottle of Gatorade that he had grabbed and Marcus shakes his head yes.

“So you’re late getting here,” Christopher Bell comments, in reference to Sarina’s late arrival. “Where have you been? Hanging out with the boy?” Sarina just rolls her eyes, getting annoyed of Christopher’s comments.

“I’ve been here since early this morning, just doing some sponsor things and other commitments – you can ask Marcus,” she states in a stern tone. “And as far as your comments with regards to Chase, he’s not even here today. He has his own commitments, you know?”

“We don’t need to get defensive,” Marcus comments, noticing the change in Sarina’s behavior as she focuses her eyes on Christopher.

“I’m sorry. It’s just Christopher can’t seem to keep his nose out of his business lately. Ever since Chase and I had that fight, he’s been riding my ass about everything. I thought you had a girlfriend, Bell.” Todd and Harrison look between their teammates with their own look of shock as Marcus could only roll his eyes.

“So I’m in trouble for caring about your well-being now?” Christopher asks as she just laughs.

“Caring?” She repeats. “Dude, you’re always accusing his ass of something when you feel something is off. Like today with whether we were busy today. There was also the trouble in paradise comment at fan day. Oh, and the best was the catch me off-guard in shop for discussion. It’s one thing to care, it’s another thing to be an annoying little brat who just annoys me!” Marcus could only look on in shock as he hadn’t heard of anything going on, nor did he feel like being a babysitter today.

“Well I’m sorry for offending you with my way of caring, Ms. Princess. I’ll be sure to keep my paws away from your little crown. Hope I kick your ass this weekend.” Christopher then turns and heads towards his garage stall as she just rolls her eyes.

“Good luck with that, jackass.”  She then turns and heads over to her truck, taking a glance inside to make sure things were how she wanted.

“Good luck with them,” Harrison says as he gives Marcus a quick pat on the back. “We’ll see you later…”

“Yeah, thanks,” Marcus replies as he watches Harrison and Todd head off together. He could only let out a sigh, knowing that it was going to be interesting with Sarina and Christopher at odds. The boss’ reaction would be priceless at this time.

“Ready for practice, Marcus?” Sarina questions as she turns to face her crew chief. He immediately heads over to her direction, working at putting what happened aside.

“You know, you and Christopher need to work out whatever is going on. We can’t be having that crap.” She then rolls her eyes as she turns away from him. This was why she hated having teammates sometimes.

“So I’m just supposed to let go what he said, Marcus? Yeah, that sounds right. Until he learns his boundaries, he can kiss my ass. Now, we have a practice to focus on, right?” He lets out a sigh, shaking his head yes.

He knew he could argue more with her, but knew that wouldn’t get him anywhere, given how stubborn she was per Kyle and Chase. That was something that would be left up for her to either deal with, or Kyle since he knew how to handle behavior like that.

The practice ended up going better than they could’ve originally imagined as she topped both practice sessions on the afternoon. She also felt comfortable with the truck’s handling, feeling that she’d be good over the course of a long run through the entire stage lengths.

Wrapping up the day and putting her helmet back away, she couldn’t help but smile at the prospects for Friday.

Once she was done for the day, she headed into the motorcoach lot and walked to where Chase’s motorcoach was parked. She brought up the password in her phone, while pulling the key out of her small purse. She punched the password in, before unlocking the door and heading inside.

She walks in, tossing her purse on the small table as she goes to the fridge and pulls herself out a drink. She then walks over, flopping back on the couch as she looks at her phone. She could only count the hours till he landed in Dover, Delaware and would join her there.

***************************

Chase unlocks the door and heads inside, slipping his shoes off. A smile immediately forms on his face as he sees her sprawled out on the couch, sleeping. He walks by quietly, setting dinner on the small island table. He heads back to the couch, kneeling down to her level. He then lightly kisses her lips as he runs a hand through her hair. As if on call immediately, she sits up, sending him flying backwards as he falls back on his ass.

“Ouch!” He lets out immediately as she sits up, reaching for the first thing she could – the remote.

“Get up and walk any closer and I’ll throw this at your face!” She yells as he sits up slowly, putting his hands in the air. “Oh….” She then sets down the remote as he laughs.

“Who did you think I was?” He questions as she shrugs her shoulders.

“Are you okay?” He stands up, brushing off his jeans, shaking his head yes.

“My ass is a little sore, but I’ll be fine. It’s nice to see you, too.” She just smiles as she reaches out for his hand, pulling him back close to her.

“Now that I know it’s you, I wouldn’t mind that kiss again.” He smiles as he kisses her lips once again, before picking her up in his arms. “Woah….”

“I brought you dinner.” He then carries her over to the table, sitting her down on the bench on one side, before taking his place on the other side.

“Thank you. Maybe I’ll give your butt there a little rub after to make it feel better.” He laughs as he opens the bag.

“That’s certainly one way to get a greeting from your girlfriend….” She chuckles herself as she takes her dinner from him.

The pair focused on their food. She talked a little bit about how practice went. She also told him about Jake being poisoned earlier in the day, and how he was going to be okay. He talked about the sponsor appearance he had to go to. He also mentioned the crew lunch with the guys. It was more or less small talk for dinner, till they got near the end of their meals.

“So I pissed off Christopher today,” Sarina reveals quietly, catching Chase’s attention.

“Bell?” He asks and she shakes her head yes. He rolls his eyes, remembering their last conversation about him. He had been a little pushy from what Chase could recall. “What happened?”

“Well, I showed up later to the garage than he, Harrison and Todd did because I had that appearance with Toyota and the interview to film for that local TV station. So he made the comment of my late arrival, asking where I’d been and whether I was hanging out with you, basically implying it was your fault that I was late.” Chase could only shake his head as he heard that.

“Of course…..”

“So I told him that I’d been there since the morning, doing commitments and told him to talk to Marcus if he didn’t believe me. Then I added that you weren’t even here today, and that ‘you have your own commitments’.” Chase shakes his head, accepting. It seemed reasonable so far. He had to admire her tactic of response.

“That’s fair…”

“So then Marcus goes that I don’t need to be so defensive towards Christopher as obviously, he has no idea about what happened previously so he didn’t get the true meaning behind the tone of his voice. That’s when I said that I was sorry, but Christopher can’t keep his nose out of my business. I told Marcus and basically everybody there that since we had our little fight, Christopher’s been on my ass about our relationship and then told Bell that I thought he had his own girlfriend.” Chase couldn’t help but laugh, even if perhaps she had taken her response a little too far.

“Well, they say if someone is bugging you that you should make them aware. You were just telling him how he was bugging you since things happened. What’s wrong with that?” Sarina rolls her eyes, remembering the comments from Marcus and Christopher afterwards.

“Well then he said, ‘So I’m in trouble for caring?’. I basically flipped on him, saying that it wasn’t fair that he was always accusing of you shit from one end to the other and that there’s a difference between caring and what he was doing. I basically told him that he was an annoying little brat who just annoys me.” Chase’s jaw drops in shock, but he couldn’t help but cheer inside. He knew how annoyed he had made her.

“Please tell me that Marcus backed you up….” She then laughs.

“Marcus didn’t say a bloody word, or bother to take anybody’s side. He’s rather more concerned about team morale, but more on that later.” Chase was ready to eat the rest of his dinner, but couldn’t with what was on tap to be said.

“There’s more?” She shakes her head yes. “Oh boy…..”

“Well after my comment, he apologized for offending the ‘princess’ and that he’d keep his paws away from my crown. Then he said he hoped to kick my ass this weekend. That’s when I told him, ‘Good luck with that, jackass.’” Chase laughs as he couldn’t believe what he had missed earlier that day.

“Can’t blame you…..”

“Well then after he left, Marcus suggested that Christopher and I talk about whatever we got going on and work that out as we can’t have that crap going on. That’s when I turned to Marcus and basically said, ‘So I’m just supposed to let go what happened?’ He didn’t say anymore as we focused towards practice, but I could tell that he was a little ticked.” She then looks down at the table, before looking back up across at Chase. “Did I do anything wrong?”

“You stood up for yourself. Christopher is just going to keep being an ass if you don’t say anything. If he gets it through his brain that you’re annoyed, he’ll let it go maybe. That’s all you were doing. Did you take the wrong approach? Perhaps as some of the comments weren’t needed, but he also didn’t need to make the princess comment. Anybody that knows you knows better than that as you’re no perfect princess.” She shakes her head, accepting. It felt better that Chase had her back, even if she knew a possible lecture from Kyle was coming in the future.

“Thanks. I appreciate the support.” He then reaches across the table, grabbing her hand and holding it.

“I’ve always got your back, just like I know you have mine. Oh, and if Kyle says something, just explain what is going on. He’ll understand and perhaps say something to Christopher, too.”

“Kyle understanding? Do you realize how many people would laugh if they heard you say that after this past weekend?” He shakes his head yes.

“Dale is bringing him a snickers on Friday.” She then laughs with a shake of her head.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 87: Coke 600

Sarina sat on the pit box, focused on the action on track. Everything that happened pre-race was out of mind without a single worry left to think of. For now, she was focused on Chase and them having a good night of racing.

Her eyes flip to the monitor, watching smoke begin to trail from Jeffrey Earnhardt’s No. 33 entry, knowing that it was a possible blown motor and a caution was to come. Her eyes then focused on track as the No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet came into view on the frontstretch.

She watched as it slowed dramatically, what appearing to be fire in view by the front wheel well, before being slammed into the back off and lifted off the ground by Brad Keselowski.

“What the hell?!?” She yells out loud in shock of what happened, her hands immediately landing on her mouth. There were no words to describe what happened before her.

“Chase, are you alright?” Alan immediately cues the radio after what happened. “Looks like a lot of fire there….” He then sits back on the pit box, eyes focused down the frontstretch where both Chase and Brad had ended up.

“He’s out guys,” Eddie D’Hondt tells them over the radio. “He’s out and walking around. He’s okay…”

“10-4.” Alan then takes off his headset, putting his notes together as he lets out a sigh. So much for a fun night of racing.

“What the heck happened?” Sarina questions once again as she looks over at the crew chief. He could only shrug his shoulders, though his eyes then laid on the screen. He saw the debris come out from Jeffrey’s car, followed by going through the nose of Chase’s car. It was obvious the fire was due to the oil cooler being knocked off. “Why the hell didn’t NASCAR call the caution sooner? Are they freaking insane? They caused that crap by not calling the caution! Jeffrey was smoking for a whole half a corner before they thought of anything. Are they insa-”

“There’s nothing that we can do now so take a deep breath, relax, be glad that he’s alright and go see him at the medical center.” She then takes a couple deep breathes, knowing that Alan was right no matter how mad she truly was. She makes her way down the steps, beginning the long walk back.

After climbing from the car, Chase made his way to the ambulance, climbing inside followed by Brad.

“Are you okay?” Brad asks and Chase shakes his head yes. “I didn’t mean to hit you. It’s just I didn’t realize how slow you were going till the last minute….” Chase could understand that, given how quickly everything happened.

“I hit a piece of debris off Jeffrey’s car and it punched a hole in the nose, hit the oil cooler, caught fire,” Chase explains, as Brad shakes his head understanding. Everything made sense now. “You’re okay, right?” Brad shakes his head yes.

Chase sat quiet the rest of the ride, fingers fumbling around the clips on the HANS device. It seemed the wreck was the perfect way to end May. Nothing had gone right through the month. From doubts and fights with Sarina, to multiple wrecks including a flying at Talladega, no luck seemed to be in his corner. Combine that with the Jared incident and he knew he wouldn’t miss May one bit.

Reaching the care center, he climbs out, eying Sarina immediately standing there as he walks over, wraps an arm around her and kisses her forehead.

“I’m okay,” he tells her as he looks into her eyes. She looks back into his, shaking her head immediately. Despite the nature of what happened, she was much calmer than she had been all month so far.

“I know and I’m glad,” she replies, kissing his lips. “It just sucks period that you have no luck and NASCAR can’t call a damn bloody race.” Chase then looks at her surprised. “Well, I’m sorry but the caution should’ve been flown sooner.”

“They didn’t know he was leaking flui-”

“There was smoke coming out of the back and going that fast, there should be no chances taken. That could’ve been a lot worse!” He then pulls her as tight as he could to him, rubbing her shoulders.

“Calm down, deep breathes. There’s nothing we can do. Let me go checked out and then we can get out of here, okay?” She shakes her head yes. He then lets go and heads inside as required.

He comes out of the medical center about 15 minutes later, handing his helmet and HANS over to Morgan before walking over to the media waiting for his comments.

“Yeah, I saw parts and pieces flying,” he starts. “I don’t know if he blew a tire or something and I ended up hitting something that he had on track. I hit it pretty hard. It was really solid, so I knew it was rough. I saw some fire, tried to get stopped and get out of the way and I guess Brad got in my oil and couldn’t get slowed down, so I hate it.” He then takes a pause, thinking back through his thoughts earlier. “Man, it is so just ridiculous. I wish I knew what to do to try to fix things like that, but at the end of the day you really can’t.”

He then walks away from the group after a quick wave, meeting up with Sarina as they head towards the garage area together.

“That wasn’t your fault one bit,” she starts. “ I heard your comments. There’s nothing that you could’ve done, as ridiculous as it was. You did what you could. Just luck of the draw.” He knew that she was right, but he still felt terrible as he glanced up on the scoreboard to see who was running where. He hated being eliminated out of the race so early – Lap 19 out of 400. It just sucked, period.

“I know…” He simply replies as he leads her into his trailer. “It just sucks…” She then spins around, pulling him close to her as she rubs his back.

“Things are going to get better. You guys are running great, and that’s half the battle. You’ve proven that you can run up front and contend for wins. If you keep doing that, you’ll shake this bad spell and damn well get some wins. I believe in you and I know it’s going to happen.” He gives her a slight smile as he leans in for another kiss.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence, really. It helps…” She then smiles as she lays her head against him.

“I mean it, every single word of it. Everything is going to be fine. We’re stuck together like glue, things are coming around with Chris, and we’re both going to have success this year…” He just hoped that her words played true in every regard as he held her close.

“I believe you….” She then slips her fingers up his front, grabbing the zipper on his firesuit and pulling it down slowly. “Sarina….”

“Relax, Chase….” She then slips the zipper down, before reaching up and pulling the top off his shoulders. “I’m not going to make you do anything that you don’t want and I’m not going to do that. I just figure a nice massage would help.”

“That’d actually be nice…” He then turns around as she rubs his shoulders, followed by down his back a little.

“You know that you never have to be uncomfortable with me. You can always tell me what you’re feeling or want or don’t want. I’ll listen. We’ve had this deal from the beginning – we won’t push each other no matter what. We do this at our speed. And Chase, I know that you’re not ready for that and it’s fine. I don’t think I’m ready either…” He feels himself relax against her as he looks back at her over his shoulder.

“I’m sorry I tensed there when you started. I just thought the worse….”

“It’s fine and understandable. Now sssh…” She then works his fingers in a little deeper as he feels himself relax more and more.

The pair remained there for awhile, before he got changed and they headed out. Once the rain delay hit, Sarina texted Chris and Bethany that she was leaving with Chase and they headed back to the house.

As they sat in the living room set to watch the final 200 laps of the race together, they could only hope that Miles treated them much better than this past weekend.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 86: “Are you and Chase Elliott dating?”

Chase walks into the trailer, smile on his face as he makes his way by the guys, sliding the snack drawer open and stealing a bag of Reese’s before closing it. He then hops up on the counter, opening the package as he sits back.

“Someone is a little happy today…” Jared Seate comments as he looks over his shoulder to notice his driver.

“Get lucky last night?” Jared Erspamer questions, causing Chase to choke on his candy. He then chucks one at the crew member as laughter erupts from everyone.

“I swear you guys think you’re in high school still sometimes,” Alan says as he makes his way through the crowd to the far end of the trailer.

“For your information, that is not why I’m smiling,” Chase comments with a look towards Jared. Anybody that knew him well enough, they knew that wasn’t quite on his radar yet.

“But the girl did make you happy, right?” Jared Seate asks and Chase looks over with a wink.

“Or it’s just the fact that I know we have a good car for tonight and we’re about to have some fun.”

“The last time you said that, you went flying through the air at Talladega if I recall,” Jared Erspamer comments. “Just because you’re a pilot doesn’t mean you can fly a racecar.” Chase then looks over at Jared.

“You’re just full of jokes today, aren’t you?” Chase questions. “Besides, aren’t you supposed to be on relaxation mode? Why are you dressed up for tonight?”

“I’m here to support my guys – that’s all. I haven’t touched a tool all day.”

“Actually, you handed me a wrench…” Chad Avrit reminds him as Jared rolls his eyes.

“Jared, what were you told?” Alan’s voice reigns through the trailer, catching everyone’s attention. They knew when the crew chief spoke that they were supposed to pay attention.

“I just handed him the wrench – nothing else, sir,” Jared pleads. “I am behaving as best as I can.”

“I’m sure Chase would say different,” Nick O’Dell comments, earning a glance from the crew member.

“Just make sure you’re behaving Jared,” Alan says as he approaches the group. “Now, let’s leave high school and focus on the actual race here, okay?”

****************

“So where are you guys going to watch the race from?” Sarina questions as she glances towards her partners in toe.

“I liked the view from up top on the roof so I was headed there,” Bethany says.

“I was going to join her,” Chris adds as he glances around pit road.

“Alright, that’s fine,” she tells them. “I’m off to see Chase and sit with Alan. Have fun!”

She then makes her way down pit road, giving Kyle a quick good luck wish as she walks by, before walking over to the 24 car. She slips her sunglasses off, leaning back against it as she watches him interact with some of the guests.

“Are you Sarina Ott?” She hears, turning her eyes forward and shaking her head yes. “Are you and Chase Elliott dating?”

“Yes we are,” she replies, confused as to who the person was.

“Well I have news for you – he’s not your type. You should leave him right away.” Sarina could only chuckle as she watched the girl before her.

“Really? That’s odd, considering that last night Chase told me that he loved me a lot, wanted to be with me as much as possible, and we really understood each other. But hey, what do we know?” The comments causes an angered glance on the girl’s face.

“Yeah, you just wait and see what happe-”

“Why are you talking to my sister like that?” Chris’ voice cuts off conversation as Sarina looks towards her brother surprised. “How about you start walking up pit road?”

“Oh, so you’re my boss now?” The girl questions. “Real cute having your brother protect you.”

“Listen here swee-”

“What are you going to do?” Chris closes the gap between them, catching the attention of everyone around them. Sarina immediately pulls her brother back as Chad Avrit puts his arms around the girl and pulls her back.

“Can we have security, please?” Alan questions, pointing towards the girl. The officer then takes the girl and escorts her away as Alan looks towards Chris and Sarina. “Are you both, okay?” They shake their heads yes. “As annoying as she can be, you can’t be approaching her like that. It’ll get Chase in more shit than good. I suggest you just calm your jets next time, got it?”

“Sorry Alan,” Sarina apologizes as she turns her eyes on her brother.

“Why is it such a big deal?” Chris questions as Sarina puts her arms around her brother and leads him away from the group.

“Because Chase has a certain image to maintain and can’t be having stuff like that associated with it. When it comes to those types, they’re every where in this garage. You just have to deal with what they’re saying calmly, respond fairly, and then let security handle it. Please…” Chris then looks away from her.

“You’re disappointed and he’s mad….” Sarina takes a deep breath, remembering what was discussed in his recovery and such.

“Not at all. He was just concerned and I’m just explaining. There’s nothing wrong here. Why don’t you go catch up with Bethany and we can discuss later, okay?” He shakes his head yes. “Have fun!” She then watches him head off before returning to the group.

She noticed Alan and Chase off to the side discussing things, knowing her brother was probably topic of conversation.

“I’m just telling you what happened,” Alan states as Chase lets out a sigh. He didn’t need this, especially when there were concerns already.

“I’m sure nothing was meant by it and I’m sure Sarina straightened it out,” Chase comments as he looks over towards Sarina. “It’s fine, Alan….” He then goes to walk away as Alan places a hand on his shoulder.

“Remember what we talked about. You said it yourself that things seemed off. Don’t forget that…” Chase shakes his head yes before walking over to Sarina.

“Everything okay?” She questions and he wraps his arms around her as he shakes his head yes. “You’re not lying, are you?” He lets out a sigh, eyes focused down pit road wondering where Chris was headed off to. He couldn’t help but worry at times.

“Alan just mentioned what happened and to address accordingly with you,” he starts. “I told him that it was handled by you taking him aside. You don’t have to worry…” He then looks into her eyes, kissing her lips. “We’re going to have a good night.”

“I hope you’re right about that.”