Friday March 2, 2018 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Bill walks into the hauler, smiling as he sees Chase walk out of the lounge, all set for practice shortly. He knew Sarina wasn’t there, having seen her head off as she was going to do a morning shopping run. That was welcomed by him, given the topic at hand.
“Well?” Bill questions, catching Chase off-guard. “Engagement ring. Did you get one?” Chase lets out a sigh, remembering their discussion a couple nights ago about buying the perfect ring, and spots to go look. He had also rambled off some proposal ideas, getting his dad’s thoughts on which way to go. Bill’s only advice in return was to be you, don’t try to do it too big, and make it special. It wasn’t much advice, but it helped narrow down the selection.
“I may have,” he teases as Bill gives him a glance. Chase pulls out his phone, unlocking it and going into his photos. He brings up a photo of a ring, showing his dad with a small smile. “It’s hidden righ-”
“Don’t tell me somewhere she’ll look easily.” Chase shakes his head no as Bill glances over the photo.
“She doesn’t go through my bags and I buried it in the bottom of one in a secret pocket for safe keeping.” Bill hands the phone back over with a smile.
“It’s really nice. Good job…” Chase smiles back, as he glances over the photo. He had gone with something simple, knowing that she wasn’t big for jewelry, but something that he knew would make a statement. “I can’t believe that my son is about to enga-”
“Just hold the thought because it isn’t happening overnight.” Bill crosses his arms, now confused. He thought a decision had been made and set in stone. “There’s a lot going on righ-”
“I thought we both decided that you aren’t letting Allison run your life anym-”
“I’m talking about Shelley and Chris. It’s no secret the thought of Chris being one step towards freedom, even just moved from jail to a mental institution, has her unraveled.” Bill nods his head, having heard the discussion last night from the pair of them about the series of text messages. He immediately made sure the right phone calls had been made to the lawyers, while Cindy vowed to do whatever it took to protect her baby.
“So now you’re going to let Shelley and Chris run your life? Chase, there’s always going to be something going on. Welcome to the life that you live, and the fact you’re both involved in this business. If you’re asking for a calm moment, you’re going to be waiting a long time.” Chase knew that, but in his mind, this was different than the normal circumstances.
“She’s afraid of engagement and marriage. I don’t want to set her off more than she is. That’s why I was thinking maybe I should wait until after this gets resolved.” Bill looks on shocked, shaking his head immediately.
“These court cases can take anywhere from a month, to six months, to a year. Do you really want to put it off that long? And besides, what if something else comes up after this?” Chase shrugs his shoulders as he looks back towards the photo again. He couldn’t wait to slip the ring on her finger, but it didn’t seal the deal in his mind.
“Then it happens. This doesn’t make or break the relationship for me, Dad. As long as we’re together, we can trust each other, and can see each other all the time, I don’t have any problems. I know everybody else wants to push the theory and say we should be engaged, but it doesn’t matter to me. I love her, and she loves me. If we’re both happy together, what does it matter?”
“You’re right, absolutely right. But remember what we talked about as well…” Chase nods his head, having been running everybody’s advice multiple times through his mind whenever he got a moment of uncertainty.
“I’ll see you after. I got to go to see Alan. Practice is soon.” Bill nods as Chase heads off, set for practice.
Once in the garage, Alan laid down the plan for the session, which was pretty simple. Start off with a run in qualifying trim, followed by doing a second semi-long race run. He was also set to jam-pack everything together in the 45 minutes they had, as a result of having to sit out the final 15 minutes due to a penalty after failing tech a couple times last weekend.
While last weekend at Atlanta brought frustration throughout the weekend, things started out much smoother as he was happier with the handling of the car through both runs and felt they were only a couple minor adjustments from being right there. Ultimately, he finished the session in ninth.
After a quick debrief with Alan and team, he was set to head out of the garage, knowing the next commitment of the day. He smiles as he comes out of the garage, seeing Sarina standing there.
“Did you find what you were looking for?” He questions, knowing she went on a quick shopping trip. She nods her head, giving him a kiss.
“Not a single problem at all, thankfully,” she answers as she wraps her arms around him. “Why can’t we just stay here like this?” He chuckles as he brushes her hair back.
“Because we both have commitments that we’re supposed to attend to…” She makes a face, followed by a sigh.
“Do you think NASCAR would be mad if I skipped the autograph session?”
“Do you think Las Vegas would be mad if I skipped the Q&A?” They both chuckle, heading out to the garage area together. “Don’t hold up my fans too long signing there. I don’t want them to miss my awesome answers.”
“Oh boy….” He just laughs back in return as they reach the stage. “Don’t take up all their time so they can come say hi at least. I love you.” She then kisses his lips, before heading off to the tent for the autograph session.
Once both of them were done their commitments, they made up before heading back out to pit road. The day didn’t stop there, with both of their qualifying sessions set to take place back-to-back.
“Care to make a wager?” She questions, catching his attention as he looks on curiously. “I bet that I’ll qualify better than you will.” He chuckles as he wasn’t surprised by the idea.
“You were better in practice, and it’s clear that the KBM trucks are where to be, compared to where I would like to be myself,” he answers as she crosses her arms.
“Are you saying that you don’t think you can qualify better? Are you giving on yourself?” He knew that she wasn’t going to let this go easily.
“What’s the stakes?” She thinks it over, a smirk easily forming on her face.
“The loser has to spoil the winner tonight after the truck race.” He knew no matter what, they both won in this scenario as it was clear where that’d lead to.
“It’s a deal.” They then share a kiss before she heads up pit road to meet up with Rudy and the team. Chase just crossed his fingers that Alan got the car tuned up as good as he thought they could.
It was no surprise when he saw her make it to the second round of qualifying, and he knew it’d be no surprise if she got the pole. As much as he wanted to win the bet, he’d have no issues in watching her lead the field to green later on that night.
“So Bubba, explain to me why my boy isn’t engaged yet….” Ryan comments as the pair walk up on Chase, and Chase can only roll his eyes.
“Bubba, explain to me why Ryan won’t tell you anything about Lindsay,” Chase counters as Ryan looks over shocked. “Yeah, that’s right, two can play this game. I know how close you two are whether you want to admit it or not.”
“Is that why he’s been missing our adventures?” Darrell questions and Chase smiles, nodding his head.
“It seems that he’s been texting his girl and talking to her on the phone as much as possible. I’m actually surprised that she’s not here this weekend.” He could see the bit of sadness on Ryan’s face in that mention immediately. “Another dance recital?”
“Yeah,” Ryan says quietly. “But she’ll be at the next two races.” Chase smirks as he glances over at Darrell, giving him a wink. “I saw that!”
“Like I said, two can play this game,” Chase comments as Ryan wraps his arm around his shoulders.
“So how about you answer my question?” Chase just smiles back in response as he pulls his phone out. He loads the same photo that he had shown his dad earlier, causing both jaws to drop in return.
“That’s beautiful!” Darrell lets out as Ryan keeps his eyes on Chase.
“So you did ask her?” Ryan questions and Chase shakes his head no.
“I bought the ring,” he starts. “Now it’s figuring out the best way to go about asking and do it.”
“Well, do it!” Darrell instructs as Chase lets out a sigh, taking his phone back.
“I will – when the time is right.” Both of the boys just nod their heads in return, before glancing at each other.
“Bachelor Party Planning Committee!” They both let out as Chase lets out a sigh.
“The last time I let you guys plan a party was my birthday party here in November, and I woke up on the rooftop,” he recalls as Ryan laughs at the memory.
“Admit it – you had fun, though,” Ryan comments and Chase couldn’t deny that as he smiles. “Look, I don’t want to make a sequel to the Hangover because, well, I’d have my ass kicked by both Lindsay and Sarina if I did tha-”
“Cindy, too,” Darrell adds, and Ryan nods his head in agreement.
“So I promise we’ll go a little crazy, but not that crazy…” Chase rolls his eyes. He didn’t even want to know what they were planning. He then focuses back on truck qualifying session rounds out, seeing that she had ended up fifth quickest on the board.
“Got my work cut out for me,” he comments, catching a glance from his friends. “Sarina and I made a bet, and whoever qualifies worse has to spoil the other.” The pair smirk back in return as Chase shakes his head. “I know, it’ll probably me spoiling her.”
“I don’t think you’ll be complaining,” Ryan offers as Chase resisted the urge to smack him as Darrell laughed. “Oh, we didn’t just come down here to pick on you. Do you recall the text message I sent? Are you coming with us tonig-”
“I’m not missing Sarina’s rac-”
“It’s after the race is over. Come on….” Chase lets out a sigh as he flat out wanted to say no, but hated to let down his friends.
“You know that I’m not into the same sty-”
“Come be nice and give it a try, for your best buddies.” Chase lets out another sigh, finally nodding his head in agreement to go as Darrell lets out a big cheer. “Now, go get yourself a good qualifying spot. You can start in second – right behind me.”
“Hey, what about me?” Darrell questions as the boys head off, leading to a simple shrug back in return from Ryan. “I see how this goes….”
While he was able to lay down a better lap than he originally believed in, he ended up sixth – which certainly marked a good way to start off the weekend, but not as strong as Sarina.
“I beat you!” She lets out as she walks over to him after the session.
“Guess I have to spoil you,” he offers, wrapping his arms around her. “Hopefully I’m spoiling a winner.” He then kisses her lips lightly. “It just won’t be tonight after the truck race.”
“Why not?” She felt an immediate wave of confusion as Chase glances down pit road, before turning back to her.
“We’re going out after the race.” She looks on now surprised. “Ryan and Darrell welcomed us to go see Saving Alexandra.” She was now back confused.
“When did you start to like screamo-rock?” He shakes his head.
“I haven’t, okay? Look, they’ve been bugging me for weeks about this and I couldn’t say no. they want me to give it a chance and come have some fun since we don’t hang out as muc-”
“I don’t regret a single moment that we’ve spent together, as I’d rather spend as much time as possible with you.” She smiles back in return. “They’re also friends with the band, too. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Absolutely not. If spending my night watching a group totally rock out and hang with those two means that I get to spend hundreds of nights with you, I’d do it in a heartbeat.” He smiles back in return, kissing her lips. “I just hope they don’t mind us being a little later than anticipated.”
“I’ll accept any yelling that they tell us in response, while sending Lindsay after Ryan.” Sarina just chuckles back in response as they head back to the garage area. A quick snack, and they knew it’d be time for the truck race.
Sarina stood on pit road, leaning back against the truck, arms crossed, frustration laced.
There was no denying that she had a quick truck and was able to run up front, actually winning the first stage. She also kept herself in contention through the second with a top-five. Although she started the last stage well, it all fell apart as a truck that was certainly supposed to finish in the top-five crossed the line in 12th after a pair of poor executed restarts.
Chase walks over, simply wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close.
“That sucked,” she states clearly as she looks into his eyes and he simply nods his head back in return, sympathizing with her frustration.
“You had a good tru-” he starts and she lets out a sigh.
“I had a good truck, I ran up front all night, but oh no I fucked up and finished 12th. That’s just great, right? On a night where I should’ve easily walked away with a top-five finish, I fuck up a pair of restarts and finish 12th. What do you call that shit?” Chase understood it was her frustration showing through as he rubs her shoulders.
“Take a deep breath, count to 10….” She tries to follow his advice as she just shakes her head.
“I just can’t believe that I did tha-”
“You’re still lear-”
“That was last yea-”
“You’re still learning, and there’s going to be tough lessons. Why does Kyle make it look so easy? Why can Johnny and Brett just go execute like it’s nothing? Simple – they’re both experienced. They have tons of laps under their belt, been in those situations before, and know how to work the truck draft to their advantage. You will get better with practice.” She rolls her eyes. “Sarina…..”
“It’s just annoying to watch good finishes just get thrown away like that!” He nods his head, accepting, as he continually rubs her shoulders.
“I know, I’ve been there. But take the good away from the night. You were able to run up front, have the speed, and you learned what you can and cannot do on a late-race restart. Now moving forward when you come back here, or go to Michigan, or Pocono, you will know what to do.” She lets out a sigh, slowly nodding her head.
“I just hate giving away finishes like that…”
“I know. Hey, here’s another bright side. You’ve got a couple wee-”
“I’d rather be racing every weekend.” He lets out a sigh, knowing how she felt about that, and could already see her escaping to run some late model events during these weekends. However, selfishly, he wanted her at the track with him.
“But your next race is at Martinsville. We both know how well you run there.” A smile forms on her face as she thinks back to her first career victory.
“You wouldn’t mind if we got another clock, would you?” He chuckles, shaking his head no.
“Everybody can use three grandfather clocks in their house – maybe even four.” She laughs back in response.
“I wouldn’t mind the added décor.” She then leans in, lightly kissing his lips. “Thank you.”
“How about we go get you changed, and get out of here?” She nods her head, accepting, as they head off.
As planned, they both headed to the concert with Ryan and Darrell as discussed. While it was clear that both Ryan and Darrell had the time of their lives, Chase couldn’t honestly see himself falling for that style of music. They were good, but he’d rather stick with his country.
But it all didn’t matter, as his arms stayed wrapped around Sarina’s shoulders all night as she leaned back in his arms, both of them satisfied with each other’s company.