The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 146: Myers Brothers Luncheon

Tuesday, November 27 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Sarina glances over at the monitor, smile marked on her face in seeing images of her baby on the screen. It almost made her want to cry in being able to hear the heartbeat, see that the baby was growing a little more each day inside of her.

“So we’ve decided to not get the paternity results, correct?” Dr. Grayson double checks, earning a nod from both parents. “That’s fine. If you ever do change your mind, please let me know and we can go from there.”

“I still say it’s a girl,” Chase comments, eyes also focused on the small screen that showed the ultrasound images.

“As long as she, or he, are healthy, that’s what matters,” Sarina says as she clutches his hand tightly.

“On that note, we did originally schedule this meeting to also discuss your MSAFP test results,” Dr. Grayson states, catching both of their attention. “I am happy to report that everything came back clean and looks to be right on track as normal, so there should be no surprises in that department. We just need to keep a close eye on how the baby grows, and the location of the baby inside of your uterus and whether concerns arise.”

“Is there anything that you can do if something was to happen?” Chase wonders as Dr. Grayson hands Sarina a cloth to wipe up the stuff on her stomach.

“It depends on how far along she is with her pregnancy at that time, as well as the health of the baby, her health, and the location. There are measures that can be implemented to help if needed, like putting her bed rest. Now I know you’ve been the type to over-concern yourself, so please do not do that to her right now as she doesn’t need to.” Sarina just looks over with a smirk, glad that point was made knowing the direction things would probably go already. She had heard enough comments already from Chase, and even Cindy on Thanksgiving.

“That doesn’t mean you push yourself over the edge….” Sarina just rolls her eyes.

“He is right about that, too. If she’s far enough along and a significant concern arises, we could induce her to have the baby early – or do a c-section. But again, I wouldn’t worry about that as everything is growing normally so far. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the baby co-operates and follows course the rest of the pregnancy.” Chase knew if they’d gotten this far and survived the likes of Talladega, it was meant to be and things were probably set to go full steam ahead. However, he couldn’t help but wonder at times.

“And she is okay to go to Las Vegas and Florida?” Dr. Grayson nods her head in response.

“She is fine with flying until she reaches 36 weeks, or I say otherwise.” Sarina had to chuckle as she could see Chase doing the math already in his head.

“Will you just focus on writing your acceptance speech for Thursday night?” Sarina questions, earning a glance from him. “We both know you’re getting Most Popular Driver.”

“I can’t argue with that,” Dr. Grayson admits as she hands the couple some print-outs. “I know you both are already in love with this baby, so feel free to stare at these images until we see each other again.”

“Thank you for everything, truthfully.” Dr. Grayson looks back over at them.

“You’re welcome, and I hope everything goes according to plan for you both. Have fun at the Snowball.”

Wednesday, November 28 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Sarina focuses on herself in the mirror, fixing the fluff on her shoulder, followed by making sure it crossed her body as it was supposed to. She had just finished getting her hair angled how she wanted, and knew the next step was making sure the dress sat correctly on her body.

She then hears her phone go off once, ignoring it at first as she wanted to make sure she was ready on time. However, after hearing the phone go off another 10 times in a row, she began to wonder as she walked out of the bathroom to where it sat on the dresser. Were they running late? She also knew there were probably going to be other messages throughout the day, as everybody worked out plans for later on that night. With Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson supposedly organizing the bulk of the birthday party, she was a little skeptical.

“You…look…stunning,” Chase slowly comments, having caught the first glimpse of what she was wearing for the Myers Brothers Luncheon. “That color suits you perfectly.”

“Are you sure we’re not running late?” She questions out-loud as she unlocks her phone.

“I was told to be ready for 12 and down in the lobby. We still have 15 minutes.” He then hears his phone go off, walking over to where it sat beside hers on the dresser. “You’re popular today.”

“Congratulations?” He then looks over at puzzled. “I’ve got five text messages saying congratulations, and they’re all from people who knew I was pregnant already…”

“That’s weird, as I have one that seems off, too.” He then shows her the phone so she can read the text message. After a pair of confused glances at each other, they went back to scrolling through the other notifications. “Actually, congratulations is in order my dear.”

“What did you find?” He then holds the phone up, which showed the notification from twitter that NASCAR had sent out. They elected to announce the Truck Series and XFINITY Series Most Popular Driver Award winners prior to the luncheon and tomorrow’s Cup banquet. While Elliot Sadler had gotten the award for XFINITY, it was Sarina taking the award in truck. “Oh wow….”

“Congratulations to Sarina Ott on being the Most Popular Driver. She’s the first female to win the award in NASCAR’s national series history, and brings home the first recognition for Kyle Busch Motorsports.” Her jaw drops a little as she would’ve expected KBM to have at least one with talents like Christopher Bell and Erik Jones through the years. “I’m surprised Kyle hasn’t called you yet, but I guess I get to be the first one to say in person – congratulations.” He then gives her a kiss.

“Thank you….” She then looks back at the notifications once again, replying back to a couple as she stands there in disbelief. “Is it wrong that I don’t even know what to say?” Chase shakes his head no.

“You’ve got a whole week to plan your speech for the banquet.” She had to chuckle a little, as it seemed weird having the truck banquet after the Cup ceremonies.

“But seriously, Chase. A small town girl who was considered an outkast at times, who some people wanted nothing to do with, who continued to alienate people and make mistakes, and admittedly isn’t easy on trust is this year’s most popular driver.” She then looks over at him, disbelief written in her eyes still. “Seriously?”

“I see someone that has inspired a nation. You showed everybody that no matter what happens in your past, you can find a way to overcome that and become the person you’re truly meant to be. You showed everybody the value of strength, perseverance and determination with everything that has been thrown at you. I also see your drive on track to succeed, and the success that you’ve been able to have. You’ve earned this all the wa-”

“Oh come on, Chase. You can’t seriously say that without admitting that there’s got to be some influence on the award being that I’m dating you, going to drive for Dale next year, and I drive for Kyle this year.” Chase takes a deep breath, remembering advice that he was given a couple years back when he won the award in the XFINITY Series.

“I can’t deny that, okay? There’s certainly fans that will vote for you for those factors alone. However, I also see those who are genuinely Sarina Ott fans from the beginning, the late model days, and seeing you as a driver yourself. Do you remember the little girl that you helped at the hall of fame? Do you remember the father we met in Amsterdam who knew nothing about racing, but yet his daughter knew of you and admired your strength? There’s always going to be those who gravitate to you because of who you’re surrounded by. However, there’s also those who like you for who you are, and appreciate every bit of who you are. So when everybody tries to shove those reasons down your throat, just damn well remember those little moments. Remember everything that you’ve done to get here, and remember every person whom you directly affected to get here. You earned this, you deserve it, and we’re going to celebrate it next weekend at your banquet.” She didn’t know what to say in response, surprised he had even remembered those small moments. Certainly they were glued in her mind as they meant something, but for him to remember took it to a whole new level for her.

“Have I mentioned how much I love my Georgia Peach birthday boy lately?” He had to chuckle in response as she leaned over, snatching another kiss. “Thank you for being my rock, and always being here for me.”

“Thank you for being here for me, too.” They then finish getting ready, grabbing their phones and her clutch before heading out of the hotel room. Immediately upon exiting, they spot an envelope on the floor.

“Seriously? I mean, how does she know already what room we’re in?” Chase picks it up, shoving it in his pocket as he walks down the hall. “You’re not going to open it?”

“I’ll alert security that she’s in the building and knows what room we’re in, and they can handle it.” He then waits for her to catch up with him, followed by wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Why  should we mess up our good day?”

“I still like how you wore pink to match my dress.” He then smiles as they reach the elevator to head downstairs. “You look very handsome, sir Elliott.”

“We had to celebrate your accomplishment in a small way, and you look extremely charming, Ms. Ott.” He grabs another kiss, before leading her into the elevator to head downstairs to the luncheon.

For the most part, the luncheon was a pretty dull event in watching their various competitors go up to accept awards, along with Todd Gordon’s Championship Speech. The only thing that caught either of their attention to really watch was William Byron’s rookie of the year speech.

“That’ll be you one day,” Chase comments, as Sarina leans her head against him. “I’ll be sitting here holding our baby as you tell the world how you succeeded at the highest level.”

“It doesn’t hurt the dream,” she admits. “I just hope William knows what he’s in store for later on tonight.” Chase had to chuckle a little, having heard a couple rumors as he glances over at her.

“Has Jeff or Jimmie given you any details yet?” She shakes her head no. “You’re not lying to me, are you?” She shakes her head no once again.

Even though there was no awards for him to accept at the Luncheon this year, he was required to take part in a mandatory media availability to answer questions for the media that wanted to speak with him.

Sarina stood back, watching as she knew it wouldn’t take too long with the focus being on the likes of William and Joey. Though she had to admit she was caught off-guard with various people walking up to congratulate her on receiving the Most Popular Driver Award.

“Maybe there’s hope for me tomorrow yet,” Kyle comments as he stops by, earning a chuckle in response from her. “Oh, I see how it is. I let your fiancé drive your late model and this is how you treat me….”

“We both know that you’re going on a hope and a prayer to win that award tomorrow,” she offers with a smile.

They were almost done when she hears her phone go off, pulling it out of the clutch that she was holding. She smiles as the party details had finally arrived from Jeff in where they were to meet, and at what time. Everybody was supposed to go to dinner as many had sponsor obligated functions to go to, and then meet up at the chosen location at 8pm. There’d be cake and drinks to be had by everybody, with those going past midnight to make sure that the young teammate – William Byron – got some for his 21st tomorrow.

As soon as everybody arrived, it seems the drinks began immediately with everybody and their best friend offering to buy Chase a drink for his birthday. Though in not wanting to deal with too bad of a hangover tomorrow, he was trying to keep it as minimal as possible.

“Since you won’t take my good damn Tequila shots, then maybe I can interest you in something else,” Ryan starts as he walks away from where Chase was standing.

“You could just do the shots yourself,” Chase offers as Ryan shakes his head no. “Okay, maybe we could pass them over to Jimmie.” Jimmie admittedly had to chuckle as he shakes his head no.

“With the travel whirlwind that I’ve been on since Miami, I need to take it slow if I am going to survive this week,” Jimmie admits.

“So that’s why you’re sticking to beer tonight…” Jimmie nods his head in agreement as he places a hand on the glasses.

“But don’t worry because if one birthday boy don’t want them, we have another at the crack of midnight.” Chase laughed as he looked over to where William was hanging out with Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

“He has no idea what he’s in for with you guys. I almost feel bad, but then I remember what you did to me.” Jimmie immediately puts his hands up in the air. “Don’t act innoc-”

“That was Ricky and Kyle who thought it’d be a great idea to do that.” Chase rolls his eyes, but had to chuckle. It was definitely a new experience waking up on the roof. “Answering back birthday wishes on the phone?” Chase was trying to be discrete with his phone in hand, but obviously that hadn’t worked.

“Snowball Derby qualifying draw. Marcus (Richmond) sent me that he pulled 37.” Jimmie looks at him slightly confused. He had heard that Chase was running the event, but didn’t know whether that was a good number or not. “He wanted to pull between 15th and 30th as that’s normally when the track is at its best, but we missed that by a bit.”

“So when you don’t qualify on the pole, you can now blame the crew chief.” Chase smiles a little with a nod of the head. “Have some fun down there. It’s actually fun to see you back in a late model.” Chase couldn’t deny that as the more he thought about it, the more excited he was. Maybe that was influencing his decision to avoid as much trouble as possible these next couple of days before going.

“It’s certainly been a couple years, and it’s always fun going to the Snowball. I was surprised when Kyle asked me, but I wasn’t going to turn him down.” Jimmie admittedly was caught off guard when he saw the announcement, but understood the basis with Sarina’s pregnancy.

“It makes me wonder why Kyle wouldn’t just run himself.” Chase nodded his head in agreement, remembering he had brought that up without much response from Kyle.

“Since I’ve known you, there’s only been one cake that you’ve accepted for your birthday,” Ryan starts as he begins to walk back over towards them finally. “Now it may not be a good as your mom’s classic German Chocolate recipe, but I had to my boy a favor tonight considering I didn’t buy you a gift.”

“Seriously?” Chase questions, as Ryan just shrugs his shoulders.

“Pregnancy has got my mind going crazy,” Ryan admits as Sarina and Lindsay could only smile. Lindsay then reaches over, running her finger along the edge and licking it.

“Damn that’s good,” she lets out, going for another when Ryan smacks her hand.

“Oh my gosh….” Sarina lets out as she had done the same without being noticed.

“They won’t even leave my cake alone long enough for you to light the candles,” Chase comments, as the girls shrug their shoulders.

“I think this baby is all you. I’ve never been one for German chocolate, but damn, that’s good and I want some more.” She then snatches a candle from Ryan, placing it right in the center. “Go ahead and light this so he can blow it out and we can please his baby.”

“I’d rather do this,” Ryan comments, before snatching a good piece, stuffing in Chase’s face as everybody laughs.

“I see how it is….” Chase simply says with a smile. He knew that he’d get Ryan back later. “I guess I could say thank you for the ruined cake.”

“Now will you take the shots to go with the cake?” Chase lets out a sigh, slowly shaking his head no. “Seriously? Where’s the man that I traveled around the world with?”

“Looking out for my lady tonight…” Chase then wraps an arm around Sarina, pulling her close with a kiss. “Besides, Jack tastes a lot better…”

“I can take care of myself if you want to have some fun,” Sarina tells him. “But I will say, this will be worth your while.” He looks over slightly intrigued as she walks away.

“Someone is getting laid tonight!” Ricky lets out from his corner of the room with his glass up in the air.

“You’re just jealous….” Sarina gives him a wink as she leaves the room. She couldn’t wait to see the look on his face when she returned.


Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 177: “He’s going to kill us when he wakes up…”

Tuesday, November 28 – Caesar’s Palace

The shots went down one after another, as Chase knew that tomorrow was going to probably go on forever based on how he was feeling. Certainly, as predicted, the singing of tunes happened, as he joined in a couple rounds of songs with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

For being typically the sober one, Sarina had gotten into her fair share of drinks and it was showing. She could barely stand up straight in her boots, leaning on Lindsay for support.

“I’m going to take this girl back to the hotel,” Lindsay says partway through the night.

“I should come…” Chase says as he breaks free from his friends.

“No, you enjoy your birthday. I’ve got her. She wouldn’t want you to cut your night short for her. You only turn 22 once.” Part of him cared about Sarina too much to care, but the alcohol overcame the thought as he accepted the offer, giving her a kiss and letting the girls leave together.

“Are you up for a game of beer pong?” Ryan wonders as Chase shakes his head no, leaning back against the bar.

“I couldn’t throw the damn ball straight no matter what,” he answers as Ryan could only laugh.

“You are totally drunk….” Chase nods his head, knowing there was no denying that.

“You aren’t far behind me. Couple more, and I bet you won’t walk a straight line.” Ryan just smiles as he sips on his glass.

“You just enjoy your drink while I go kick Kyle’s ass at a game of beer pong – without your help. I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. That’s so disappointing. Not even gonna help a brother out after all this birthday planning?” Chase lets out a sigh as he stands up.

“Alright, fine. I’m in for a game. Besides, we could totally take Ricky and Kyle.” Ryan smiles as he grabs the plastic cups, taking to the table that they had set up in the middle of the room.

Needless to say, it went as badly as Chase should’ve expected, balls missing glasses, and more liquid flowing down his throat. As they finished up, he knew the limit had hit him.

“I need a nap…” He lets out as he heads back to the bar, going behind and climbing in the corner.

“Chase?” Ryan asks as he follows, glancing behind and looking on surprise. “Well, we did give you lots….”

“Did he pass out?” Kyle Larson questions, catching Ryan’s attention. Ryan simply nods his head, yes. He wasn’t looking forward to taking him back to the hotel. “Damn.”

“I told you he wouldn’t make it,” Ricky comments as he joins the pair, grabbing another glass off of the bar. “Least he found somewhere comfortable first.”

“Please tell me one of you got photo evidence,” Austin chimes in as Ryan holds up his phone with a smile.

“Anybody willing to help me get him back to the hotel?” Ryan wonders, ready for his request to fall on deaf ears. He had the place to the morning, with the staff accepting that the gifts could be picked up and delivered to his room then. Perhaps leaving him there was a better option.

“You know, I have a better idea…” Kyle comments as a smile forms on his face. Ryan immediately shakes his head no.

“Please tell me that the elevator isn’t far from here,” Ricky adds, catching on to the idea.

“We’re not taking him up to the roof and leaving him there,” Ryan declares as Kyle lets out a big boo.

“Why do you have to ruin all of our fun? I mean, come on. It’s the perfect prank, Ryan. You know he would be on-board if you would’ve passed out first.” Ryan knew that Chase could chime right with the pranks, but still felt bad about this idea.

“We weren’t going to leave him totally,” Kyle adds. “We’ll stay up there, share stories, sleep ourselves even. It’s nice enough out.” Ryan knew there was no way he was winning this fight because he had no energy left himself. Those drinks had come many and without many breaks inbetween.

“Alright, fine,” Ryan reluctantly gives in, which was met by a series of cheers. “But please be careful, don’t drop him, and let’s try to be smart here.”

“That’s why I got this tool already,” Austin offers, rolling a dolly over behind the bar. Ryan could only shake his head as he watched the crop go to work on their plan.

It didn’t take long to get their buddy on the dolly, followed by quietly snuck through the halls to the elevator with a trip to the top of the tallest tower – 29th floor on The Palace Tower. It didn’t take them long to find the keys to the rooftop patio, which surprisingly was left unlocked. They rolled the dolly out, with Ryan throwing a blanket over Chase before taking a seat.

“Was that so bad?” Austin questions as he gets comfy in a corner with a pillow that he had snagged on the way.

“He’s going to kill us when he wakes up…” Ryan muses as he lets out a yawn himself.

Glancing over the city, he couldn’t admit that the view was amazing as he snapped a photo on his phone before closing his eyes.


Wednesday, November 28– Caesar’s Palace

His head was pounding, his vision felt blurry, and his stomach flip flopped more than he could count over the spawn of 10 minutes. He glanced around, seeing bright blue sky everywhere he looked, immediately burying his head underneath the blanket that laid on his body.

“Good morning sleeping beauty,” Ryan comments as Chase peaks out from underneath the blanket. “How are you feeling?”

“I could kill you all for last night,” Chase replies, causing a series of chuckles to go off around him. Feeling as though he could handle the bright light, he lifts the blanket off of his face and looks over towards the group. “Where the heck am I?”

“On the roof of Caesar’s Palace…” Chase looks at him, confused, though seeing the wheels underneath him, he could only let out a sigh. That’s when pieces of the night came flooding back all together – he never should’ve taken that nap.

“You guys are jackasses!” A series of laughs escape around him.

“We should’ve left him guessing about the events for a bit longer,” Austin suggests as Ryan quickly flips him the bird. “Well well, we are feeling quite peachy this morning aren’t we?”

“Do you want to go flying off the roof?” Ryan threatens as Austin looks on surprised.

“Easy Ryan….” Kyle Larson offers, rolling a bottle of Tylenol and water over to Ryan and Chase. “Take those, and relax. We’re all hungover. That was one rough night.”

“That was totally your fault,” Chase comments as he glances over at Ryan, taking two of the Tylenol. He hoped it managed to settled the thumping in his head before the Luncheon. “Shit. What time is it?”

“We’ve got two hours before we have to be at the Wynn all dressed and fancy,” Ryan answers with a glance at his phone. “Your phone is down on the bar, by the way.” Chase didn’t know if he wanted to face that right now. He knew there’d probably a couple missed calls from Sarina.


“I texted her what we did. She actually sent me back LMAO and let her know how it played out.” Chase simply rolls his eyes.

“She had a gift that was supposed to be between me and her for later on that night…” A couple evil grins form as Chase immediately regretted his words.

“I’m sure she’ll offer that gift another time for you,” Ricky comments as Chase nods his head, accepting. However, something about her words made him think it was something else. Regardless, he still didn’t know how he would ever thank her enough for the guitar.

“Wait? You’ve done the dirty?” Austin questions, a little shocked as Chase glances over his way.

“He’s a grown adult…” Austin knew that, but a smile formed on his face.

“I didn’t realize that he had a naughty side to him, though.” Chase rolls his eyes. “Just make sure you don’t get her pregnant. Kyle isn’t the easiest to deal with when he’s mad.”

“Trust me – he’s already gave me fair warning about that,” Chase offers, remembering Kyle’s words already. “I have a feeling I’d lose my manhood in that situation.” He then slowly stands up, and walks around the roof top a bit, glancing over the city. “As much as I’m willing to kick all of your asses right now for this, thank you for a great birthday party. We won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.”

“Shall we meet again next year?” Ricky questions and Chase smiles, knowing the thought process already.

“Here’s to all of us making the playoffs, with one of us – preferably myself – celebrating the championship. Then we can really set off a birthday extravaganza.”

“Here here!” The group chants together as Ryan glances amongst them.

How would they ever top this party?

Following a mandatory group selfie together – per Ryan’s request, they made their way down from the patio, taking the elevator back to ground level. They stopped by the party room, picking up any belongings that they had left behind, including Chase’s phone. Ryan informed him that all the gifts would be delivered to his hotel room, complimentary of the great party planning, which Chase easily accepted.

Adorning a set of shades as the Tylenol was just beginning to work, the group takes the short ride back to the Wynn and separates to head to their respective rooms. In just a couple hours, another crazy day in the midst of their stardom lives was set to begin.

Pulling his key card from his jeans, Chase inserts it and unlocks the door to his hotel room, walking inside as he slips the door closed behind him. He smiles as he sees both Lindsay and Sarina doing each other’s hair in anticipation for the luncheon.

“How are you feeling?” Lindsay wonders as Chase walks by them.

“Just peachy,” he comments as he flops back on the bed. “I feel like curling in these blankets, getting comfy, and forgetting about the rest of today.”

“Can I join you, please?” Sarina asks as Chase looks over at her intrigued.

“So you finally got into some good stuff last night, and look what happened….” She just rolls her eyes.

“You don’t look to be doing much better, and you have a full day of activities to follow. This should be fun.” Chase nods his head, knowing that it was going to be one of those never ending days once it began.

“Those donuts are going to be the death of me…” Letting out a sigh, he knew sleep wasn’t an option. So he stood up, grabbing a dress shirt and pair of black pants, he headed for the bathroom for a necessary shower. It wasn’t long before every stink of last night was washed away, and he emerged from there about a half hour later all dressed and perfected for the first responsibility at hand.

“You look absolutely stunning….” He smiles as he watches her walk over to the mirror, taking another look over her outfit. He walks over, placing his hands around her waist, kissing her cheek.

“You look even better than I do. You look perfectly charming.” She smiles, satisfied that the simple orange dress had fit nicely. It wasn’t beyond stylish, but formal enough for a casual awards luncheon. It also didn’t hurt that it showed a bit of skin, in the form of her leg and the slit in the chest.

“It doesn’t cut too low up top?” He shakes his head no, immediately.

“Nobody can see anything.” He then gives her another kiss, before running his hands through her hair. “By the way, what was your birthday surprise for me?” She smiles as she spins around to face him.

“We have to head out to the Luncheon so I can’t show you right now. I want to have some time to talk and show. I guess it will have to wait until Thursday night or Friday.” He hated the aspect of waiting, but he was willing to do it as he knew it’d be worth it based on her first gift.

“The guys automatically thought it was something naughty by the way…” A grin immediately forms on her face.

“Well that is always in the cards for you, that’s not what I have for you in the form of a birthday surprise. Are you sure you’re okay with waiting?” He nods his head, accepting.

“I’ll be too busy to have time, anyway.” His phone then goes off, and he grabs it off the charger, seeing a text message from Morgan. He sends her one back quickly, stating that they’d be down to the lobby in five minutes. “Are you ready?”

“Yep, ready as I’ll ever be.”

“Lindsay?” Chase questions, seeing she had chosen a simple blue gown that went to just below the knee.

“Ready to go,” Lindsay answers as she grabs her purse off of the table.

The group head out of the hotel room, set to begin the day – even if not quite feeling 100% yet.

Wednesday, November 28– Wynn Las Vegas

While the Luncheon was only two and a half hours long, it seemed much longer with the drawn out awards and speeches being given by each recipient. Admittedly, it was no surprise to see Dale honored with the Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award, and everybody could agree that both Martin Truex Jr. and Sherry Pollex were rightfully deserving of the Myers Brothers Award.

Thankfully, the Tylenol had kicked into overdrive by the time Chase had to sit down for his media availability, answering a series of questions for a good 15 minutes for the variety of reporters. From reflections on the year, to his thoughts moving forward – there was lots to be desired. There were even a couple who asked how he celebrated his birthday, which he downplayed in saying he just got together with a couple friends last night.

Once his responsibility was filled, he caught up with Sarina and Lindsay, who had changed out of their gowns during the interview period. Without a single word spoken, everybody knew what now consisted of.

“You know that you don’t have to come tomorrow nig-” Chase starts as he wraps his arms around Sarina.

“What have I told you already about that?” She cuts him off, as he lets out a sigh. “Listen, I love you and I want to be here to support you.”

“I know, but you don’t need to stress about it. I mean, it’s not like you’re missing my championship celebration.” Noticing the look on her face, he immediately stops, staring into her blue eyes instead. “I don’t want to argue before you leave. So I will tell you that I love you, hope you draw a good number tonight, and have a good safe practice tomorrow. Promise me to stay out of trouble and be safe.”

“I promise that, as long as you promise to stay out of trouble with the guys.” He chuckles, seeing the group not far behind him.

“Trust me, I don’t think I have the energy to do another night like that.” She chuckles back in response.

“I love you. Have fun and give me a shout tonight when you get in.”

“I love you, too.” He then gives her a kiss. “Safe trip. Lindsay, keep her out of trouble and watch out for her. Have fun!”

“I’ll do my best,” Lindsay offers as the pair quickly hug.

Without another word, the girls headed off to the exit to catch their ride to the airport, while Chase headed up to his room to change.

Mayday #9 – Chapters 16 Thru 20

Chapter 16: Packing for Daytona

It seemed as though the next couple of weeks passed by rather quickly as they were getting ready to head to Daytona for the Coke Zero 400, which would then followed by the trial that they were all dreading.

Since talking to Regan about things, it’d certainly made things easier for Chase and it made what happened much easier to deal with. No more sleepless nights, no more nightmares, no more scary thoughts – everything was peachy in his life. But that didn’t mean that he was even close to being excited, or feeling fine about the trial to come following Daytona. Telling Regan about what happened was one thing, but having to sit and tell a bunch of people that he didn’t know was another totally. Wasn’t there anyway out of it?

“I’m sorry Mr. Elliott but you’re going to have to walk into that court room and tell them what happened based on the subpoena that they gave you,” the lawyer states as he looks over the piece of paper that Chase had received a couple weeks ago.

“You can call me Chase, and there’s got to be a way out of it,” Chase comments as he looks over at the lawyer. “He’s trying to prove that he was forced to do what he did by Mariella. What does that deal with me?”

“She’s not there to say what happened because of her dying while attacking.” Regan looks over, intrigued by the discussion. He had come over to see how Chase’s packing for Daytona was going. More so, he was intrigued as to what the young man was thinking. He wasn’t expecting the lawyer to be there.

“She died attacking him – the police shot her because she was choking him,” Regan recalls as he thinks back. “Anybody, not just Chase, could state that she did that. The cop that issued the shot. I could even say it because I witnessed it. Why force him to say it?”

“They’re trying to prove how ruthless and heartless she wa-” The lawyer starts as Regan rolls his eyes.

“Again, I could say that based on what happened and the police report could say that. That, along with Dale’s testimony as to what happened, proves that. The end.” The lawyer then takes a deep breath as he sets the piece of paper down.

“Mr. Smith, it wasn’t me who requested that Mr. Elli-”

“You aren’t fighting it, either. If you believe what I’m saying, then why don’t you go down there and fight against him saying something? And if you want a reason – call it psychological. He couldn’t sleep from when that happened in February to the beginning of this month because it was bugging him. Is that enough reason to try and avoid it?” The lawyer slowly shakes his head yes as he pulls out a notepad from his briefcase.

“I’ll make a note to say in the court room that the incident between Mr. Elliott and Ms. Kastona Calantay should be discussed by Mr. Elliott due to psychological reasons, and that if discussion is warranted, it can be handled by a witness.” The lawyer then looks up and over at Chase. “However, you still need to take the stand, by my instruction. He is trying to prove that he was forced by Ms. Kastona Calantay, correct? However, in the behavior that he portrayed with you in leading you away from the team and to the trailer, did he seem as though he was unnerved?” Chase thinks it over, remembering the entire exchange, before shaking his head no.

“He looked as if he knew what he was doing,” Chase comments as the lawyer shakes his head yes.

“That’s why I need you to take to the stand and explain that exchange, in relation to what happened, his behavior and his attitude in your eyes,” the lawyer explains. “That, along with some of the text messages that we were able to retrieve from Ms. Kastona Calantay’s phone, the timing of his hiring with Hendrick Motorsports and how he handled things with Mr. LeTarte will prove that he was acting along with her, not forced by her. Are you okay with telling your part, only in relation to Mr. Roberts, and leaving the rest undiscussed?” Chase takes a deep breath. He knew that he could talk about Randy without a tinge of fear or issue, as that he had grown really comfortable in the time that had passed.

“I can do that.”

“Thank you. now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to pay a visit to the other two and hope they’re prepared for next week. I will see you later. Goodbye Mr. Elli-”

“It’s Chase, and goodbye sir.”

“Bye!” Regan chimes in as the lawyer puts his belongings in his briefcase and heads out. Chase follows, closing the door behind him afterwards as he lets out a sigh. “Glad that he’s gone?” Chase glances down the hall at Regan with a smile.

“You’re amazing – honestly,” Chase comments. “Thank you for sticking up and saying something.”

“That’s what friends are for. Now, are you packed yet?” Chase lets out a laugh and shakes his head no.

“I always pack at the last minute. Haven’t you learned that yet?” Regan shakes his head in disbelief as he heads down the hall.

“When are you going to learn to be prepared?” Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“Outfits are simple. I’m in my firesuit most of the time anyway. I just need a couple pairs of jeans, my NAPA dress shirts for the sponsor functions, and some t-shirts for when it’s just me. Oh, and my sweater.” Regan then follows Chase to the bedsroom, leaning against the door when they get there.

“So you’re going to wear one pair of underwear all weekend, and one pair of socks? Yuck!” Chase then grabs a pair and chucks it at Regan, who ducks. “Dude, that’s just wrong. Those are nasty. I don’t want to touch something that’s touched your skinny little ass.”

“Least you know that my ass has behaved.” Regan just shakes his head.

“I can see what a nice influence living on Dale’s property has been for you. Where’s the innocent little boy that I used to know?” Chase smiles as he looks up from his suitcase.

“Still innocent.” Regan smiles as he knew that was a true fact. He then walks in the room and sits on the edge of the bed, curiosity sitting in. all of the young boys in the garage always seemed to have someone on their arm. Chase, not quite.

“So when are you going to get a girl?” Chase shrugs his shoulders as he rummages through some shirts, looking for a couple.

“When the right one crosses paths with me, whenever that may be. Is it wrong to wait for the right one?” Regan shakes his head no as he lies back on the bed.

“Perhaps Erin would be a good start.” Chase instantly looks up and shakes his head no.

“No…no…no. Myself and Erin are just best friends, nothing else. Are we clear?” Regan shakes his head yes, slowly.

“Don’t get all offended. I meant that in good taste, however I understand the friend zone boundary.” Chase then throws a couple shirts in the bag. “Don’t forget some good pants, dress shirts and such for court.” Chase heads to the closet, going through the variety to choose from.

“Why do we have to do this?”

“Blame the justice system. Innocent till proven guilty.” Chase knew that, but still didn’t want to face the music that was to come, no matter how comforting they were trying to make it.

“I just wish that I could build a time machine and fast forward past it.”


Chapter 17: Returning to Daytona

In the eyes of the group, they had returned back to a place that had a package of mixed emotions attached. It was also a place where none of them could wipe the events from February from their minds.

However, they had returned with a positive mindset. None of them were set to let it bug them or the goals at hand in winning the races ahead of them. It was a role of simple concentration and not letting the events plague their minds.

While that was their plan, it wasn’t in the plans of others.

Their fellow drivers hadn’t made any comments, obviously understanding the seriousness of what happened and the pain that it had caused. While there were some who didn’t have the best relationships with each other, it was mutual agreement to not bring it up.

No, it had been the duty of the media members that chose to bring up the discussion, in their stories leading into the weekend. They questioned how the events would play into the thoughts of Dale and Chase. They questioned whether there’d be flashbacks, and whether the drivers would truly have what it took to get through the weekend. Both ignored the stories, not giving it care. They knew to expect it, but also knew to avoid it.

Though, avoiding it could only be done for so long, as the discussions immediately became apparent at the first press conference of the weekend. It was the weekly scheduled media conference that Dale was used to doing each weekend. Spend about 15 to 20 minutes with the media answering their questions. However, this one turned different. It wasn’t a normal racing media member that brought up the question – it was one that was solely there due to the royalty reasons.

With Marie being the Queen and Dale being the King of Pitronia, royal news had their part in following their actions. This weekend and the upcoming trial were receiving more attention than other things – simply due to what happened and how Marie’s sister Mariella had died in the process.

“Sir, how are the events that happened in February affecting you this weekend?” The reporter asked, bringing shock to the room as others hadn’t intended on bringing it up. To most, there was a time and place for that – during the trial period, of course. Dale took a deep breath as he focused on the reporter.

“It is not affecting me as I’m not thinking about it,” Dale answered. “I’m focused on the race this weekend and winning. Nothing else. I’ll worry about that next week.”

“Anymore questions?” The moderator asked as he looks around the room.

Things finished up shortly thereafter with Dale thanking them for their time before leaving.

“They’ll always be someone that brings it up,” Laura comments as they head out of the media center.

“It didn’t matter so we don’t need to discuss,” Dale tells her with a glance her way.

“If you want, I can ask for it not to be discussed for the rest of the weekend.” Dale shakes his head, knowing that wouldn’t be a problem. In his mind, it wasn’t something of thought.

“It’s fine Laura – honestly.” Dale then stops and thinks it over as he glances around, before returning his eyes to Laura. “Actually, do me a favor. Make sure that they don’t ask Chase anything.” Laura shakes her head, understandingly.

“That’s not a problem. I’m going to go work on making sure the transcript is posted and such. You have practice in an hour.” She then heads off, leaving Dale for the rest of the walk alone.

He then continues the walk, leaving his thoughts to his own. He knew that he made the right decision in telling Laura that. Everything had hit Chase the hardest and given the time it took him to come out and tell Regan everything, he didn’t want to even begin to open the door to what happened. He knew that it’d have to open – come trial time – but he was willing to keep it shut as long as he could.

It was also true that indeed – everything had changed. It felt different being in the role of a King as he was in charge of a country. Sure, Marie handled everything for the most part in doing the paperwork and duties. However, there were times that he felt the weight when she’d ask for his opinion. How do you make decisions that affect a whole country of people and their lives? What if you make one wrong choice?

Though beyond that, it seemed that the events of the off-season and February were, for the most part, behind him. There were certainly some frightening moments along the way, but they had subsided and allowed everything to come back to focus. He couldn’t complain with the love that he and Marie had, how much Alyssa was growing each day and how well racing was going.

The positive thoughts flipped to the other side of the garage as well as Chase was in a good mood. Just done the first Xfinity Series practice, he had a fast car and felt that he had a good chance at winning. It seemed as though the perfect weekend was coming together.

“So, do you want to come hang out with us or not?” Darrell asked, snapping Chase out of his thoughts as he glanced towards the fellow driver. “I think it’d be a great idea for you on Sunday.” Chase leans against the car, thinking it over. He had the race later that night and planned on watching the Cup race on Saturday night. For Sunday, there were no plans in mind, but they were staying in Florida, given what was to come.

“I don’t know…” Chase lets out as he looks between the pair.

“Listen, we both know that you need to let loose for awhile and have some fun,” Ryan starts as he leans against the car beside Chase. “Let’s face it – you’re under a lot of stress and worry about the trial and what happened. You’ve had a killer year to date with the flashbacks.” Chase then glances between them.

“It was obvious to us that you weren’t sleeping that well for a couple of months there,” Darrell comments. “We’re your friends – we see everything.”

“You need to do something fun for yourself. You got to let loose. Just come spend a day with us and Kyle (Larson).” Chase thinks it over, knowing that the pair were probably right as it would probably be good to get away for awhile. “Please?”

“What do you have in mind?” Chase questions, curiously, as the pair glance towards each other.

“A trip to Disney to tackle the big scary roller coasters and find out who the biggest chicken is, or a possible trip to just hang out at the beach,” Ryan offers.

“It’s your decision,” Darrell informs him. Darrell had gotten Ryan and Kyle together and discussed the need to do a get away with their good friend as they could tell that he needed it. They all agreed, knowing that it’d be the best thing that they could do given the situation, also agreeing that they’d leave it up to Chase as to where they would go.

“We could even go go-karting.”

“Aren’t you scared of getting your ass kicked?” Chase challenges as Ryan laughs.

“You don’t scare me Elliott,” Ryan answers as he crosses his arms.

“So do you accept my challenge?”

“Go-karting it is – that’s if Bubba is ready to be put in the tire barrier.” Darrell laughs as a smirk forms on his face.

“Oh Ryan, you seem to forget that it was you who ate rubber the last time courtesy of me,” Darrell challenges in response as Chase just smiles.

His friends were right. It’d be good to get away for a day and have some fun.


Chapter 18: Royalty….

July 2015

“How much paperwork do you have to shift through each day?” Jason asks as he sits in the motorcoach on the couch before the Sprint Cup race that night playing a video game with Dale.

“Lots,” Marie answers with a sigh as she reads the latest piece that has landed in the stack.

“I told you – hire a secretary or a clerk or whatever they call it,” Dale suggests as he glances over at her, only to receive a stare.

“That won’t be necessary as I can handle this, Dale. We’ve been over thi-”

“You’re working your ass off too hard and it’ll take it’s tol-”

“I know how to balance things, so you don’t need to give me instructions.” She then reads over the piece of paper, signing the bottom before putting it in the stack. “Besides, this is a good balance. I deal with this paperwork while Sharon and Joshua run day-to-day things. I can’t complain and no matter what you both want to say about too much work, I can handle it.” Dale lets out a sigh as the discussion had been had between the pair on multiple occasions since March.

The amount of papers that she seemed to be shifting through just seemed to never end. The variety varied between court judgments that required her ruling due to appeal, to laws that were being appealed and possibly needed to be changing. She had made some significance changes, addressing the unfair laws that her father had put in place to make the country better for her people. For the most part, everything had gone over well.

The paperwork was the only complaint that was shared so far, though. As stated before, they could balance everything without any issues being had. She was able to take a week each month to go spend there – as appointed in the original agreement – and it didn’t seem to bug Dale, either. He was able to handle things at his end with racing and Alyssa in that period without issue, only sharing small thoughts of missing her. However, not seeing her for a week is something that he could deal with given the interesting situation they were dealt.

“So you’re King…” Jason starts, interrupting Dale’s thoughts as he looks over at him. “Do you get to, like, make any decisions?” Dale shakes his head yes.

“I could very well also go through the papers as well and sign off on stuff, but she won’t allow me,” Dale answers as Jason looks between them, surprised.

“He has his race team to run and racing to focus on,” Marie explains. “Besides, I enjoy handling business.”

“I don’t argue with her because why bother? If there’s anything that she’s second-guessing herself or not sure on, she runs it by me for approval. There’s also some things that require both of our approval.”

“But under any circumstance, I could throw him off the throne.” Dale then smiles as he gets up and walks up behind her, wrapping both arms around her neck.

“But you wouldn’t do that, now would you?” She then glances up at him with a smirk on her face.

“Don’t test me, Earnhardt. There’s some da-” He then cuts her words off with a kiss before rubbing her shoulders.

“You know that’s not true. You love me. You can’t go by a day without thinking about me.” Marie smiles as she leans back against him.

“Okay, you caught me. Happy?” She then flips through the paperwork to a binder that she hid at the bottom, pulling it out to the top and flipping it open. “So I’ve been doing some thinking. We talked about getting married and the wedding. We need to focus on dates.” Dale immediately flips her calendar to December and January.

“You have from mid December to mid January to do it – but not too close to Christmas, since during the race season is too hectic.” She shakes her head, understanding, having already sorted that out in her mind. It was why she had circled a date in question on the calendar.

“We talked about waiting till December 2016/January 2017 du-”

“We’re still going to do that, right?” Marie looks up at him before returning her eyes back to the calendar.

“I think we could still do it this year, actually. It gives us five to six months to put everything in order, which is enough time in my mind.” Dale knew that it would be enough time – if she said so – however, wondered whether it was the right decision.

They had been through a lot in the past year so far to date, with the trial still ahead of them the following week. Did they want a wedding truthfully at the end of the year? Or did they want to leave more time, due to trying to work their way through what happened?

While Dale had kept an attitude to everybody that he was over and done with what happened, it was a bit of a lie. There were nights that he’d still call up Rick or Steve to talk to them about various feelings. Some of it was pitty little things that he realized after were ridiculous to even have – while other pieces were true fears. He had at least gotten back used to flying, and thankfully convinced Alyssa that planes were okay as well. Though trust in strangers was something that they were building as if someone were to work up and spook him from behind, you wouldn’t always get the prettiest response possible.

On the flip side, Marie was still balancing her emotions. There was a lot on plate to balance, especially with so many family pieces. She was trying to get the relationship back together with her mother after the distrust that happened. She wanted to trust her mom and have the relationship that they had, but it was so hard with the events that transpired. There’d also be days where she’d be sad that her sister and father were gone, but yet others that she’d be so angry. There were days that she’d be asking herself why she was stuck in such a crazy family, and why things happened. It was why she liked to busy herself in the paperwork, as it was a good distraction from those thoughts for her.

“Should I leave?” Jason asks, seeing the looks between the couple in discussing possible wedding plans.

“No ‘eave – you play!” Alyssa tells him as she continues playing Mario Kart with him.

“Alyssa has final vote,” Dale states with his tongue sticking out before returning his eyes back to Marie. “Are you sure it’s enough time?” She shakes her head yes.

“We can determine within the next two to three weeks how big we want the wedding and who we want there,” she starts. “Then make sure the invites are sent out. Once they are, we can work on loca-”

“I got that covered.” Marie smiled as she knew exactly what her fiancé was thinking – the church that was part of his Western Town. They thought of doing a homey felt wedding with their vows said in that church and the reception held in the Saloon – obviously refitted for reception material. They would do the wedding with their closest friends and family – number to be determined. Then a week later, head to Pitronia and announce the marriage officially to ‘their people’ as that was part of the marriage process in being King and Queen.

“So we just need to determine the final guest list and send out the invites. Once that’s done, it’s all about getting a minister, DJ, catering, determining color theme, followed by dress shopping. The dress shopping is the worst part of it for a bride, but I can promise you that I will handle that quickly. I’m not one of those picky brides.” It sounded as though she had things under control and Dale was set to agree to her plan, however there was one thought that stood in the way and partially also why they had adjusted the date.

“What about you? You’re going to be about five to six months pregnant.” Jason then looks over as his jaw drops in shock.

“You’re pregnant?” He asks, still shocked as Dale eyes look over at Jason before turning back to Marie.

“I’m sorr-” Dale starts.

“It’s fine – Jason can know,” Marie assures him as she looks over at Jason. “About a month pregnant, due in February. We found out about a week ago. Now can you keep it a secret, like Alyssa promised, for a couple months?” Jason shakes his head in agreement, understanding.

Marie hadn’t been feeling like herself and it had Dale worried to bits that she was running herself down with too much work. Truth was, when she made a trip to the doctor to see what was up, she found out she was pregnant.

It was a shock to the pair due to everything else going on their lives, but honestly wasn’t much of a surprise considering how much they loved each other, and spending time together. Both of them were happy for the news, having discussed plans already of expanding their family to two or more children one day.

It was just a small worry between them in making sure they kept things in check, with everything else that had been going on in their lives. Dale had also made her promise to cut back on the amount of work she was doing to make sure that she took care of herself. She promised him that she’d do that, having finally agreed to talk to Sharon about hiring a clerk.

“I be big sister soon!” Alyssa cheers in excitement with a big smile on her face.

“Alyssa, remember…” Dale says as she looks over at her daddy.

“I know daddy – secret. I no tell anyone.” She then looks back towards the game as Jason jut smiles at the pair.

“Congratulations,” he says.

“Thanks,” Marie comments before turning her eyes back to Dale. “I know I’ll be pregnant. However, I can assure you that I can get married while I’m pregnant. I can walk down that aisle in a wedding dress pregnant. I can enjoy the reception. I can even make sure to indulge in the beautiful food.”

“Well that you must do since you’re eating for two,” Dale tells her before kissing her lips again.

“The decision is yours whether what year we marry.”

“Fine – we’ll marry at the end of this year, between Christmas and New Years. Besides, I can’t wait to call you my wife anyway.”

Chapter 19: Go-Karting
July 2015

“I thought he was going to win,” Chase comments as they head out to the go-kart track. “I thought he was far enough ahead.”

“But you thought wrong as that run that Kyle got off four was huge!” Darrell says as the pair talk about the Coke Zero 400. Dale had been leading late in the race, but with a run to the checkered flag, Kyle Busch scored the win by inches.

“Matt was sure locked on to his bumper,” Ryan comments. “It was good.”

“Just as good as you being edged at the line by me?” Chase questions, in referencing to his win on Friday night in the Xfinity Series race. He had edged Ryan Blaney at the line to score the win.

“I don’t even want to talk about that.”

“Awww is Ryan is still upset that he got beat?”

“Do we need to buy you a teddy bear?” Darrell adds, as Ryan flips them both off.

“I thought he still slept with a teddy bear,” Kyle Larson finally chimes in as Ryan gives him a look.

“Nah – it was you that slept with it, per your girlfriend,” Ryan offers as Darrell and Chase laugh, remembering the April Fools prank photo that she sent out with Kyle cuddling a teddy bear.

“Are you ever going to forget that?” The group all shake their head no as they laugh.

“I’ll handle this.” Ryan then walks ahead of the group to the desk, paying the amount required for an afternoon at the go-kart track. The group stands back, waiting patiently, as he returns a couple minuets later. “We’re good to go. There’s nobody else here so looks like we’ve got the place to ourselves for now.”

They then start to head inside when Chase’s phone rings, catching all of their attention.

“Mommy checking on her baby?” Ryan teases as Chase pulls his phone out.

“Uh oh, Chase is in trouble,” Darrell adds as Chase just flips the bird at them both as he looks at the caller ID.

“It’s Dale,” Chase tells them before answering. “Hello?”

“Hey Chase,” Dale starts. “Listen, where are you?” Chase then feels a bit of confusion. Why would Dale be looking for him?

“I’m at the go-kart track with Darrell, Ryan, Dylan and Kyle. Why?” Dale lets out a sigh. He hated to be the barrier of news while Chase was trying to have some fun in the midst of everything. It was news that he already hated enough himself.

“I’ve got something that you should know – not that you should be worried, or anything. Remember how Randy wasn’t supposed to be able to get bail and all that? Well, that was appealed and he got it changed to a million dollars for bail. He also paid said bail so he is out on bail right now, due to be in court tomorrow obviously with us.” Chase slowly takes it in as he stands there with a blank expression on his face of disbelief.

“Are you serious? He is right now loose?” Dale’s thoughts echoed that of Chase when he received the phone call from the lawyer.

“That is correct. Now, he can’t come within 100 feet of any of us. If he does, immediately call police and he’s arrested for breaking terms of bail. Beyond that, he’s free to do whatever he wants.” Chase felt comfortable with that thought as if anything, he could make sure to catch the guy in the act of something. “I don’t want you to worry or anything. I just told you because I was told and felt that you should know. Have fun with the boys and try to stay out of trouble. Call me if you need me. Bye.”

“Bye….” Chase then slowly lowers the phone, hitting hang-up as he continues to stand there in disbelief, letting the thought run through his mind.

How was it fair that Randy could walk the streets after what happened? How was it fair that he could do anything after he helped Mariela with her sick plan?

Chase then shakes his head, knowing that he didn’t want to think about it any longer, as he glances up to be met by four faces staring at him.

“Is everything okay?” Darrell questions as he is the first to step forward, walking up to Chase. He had heard Chase’s end of the conversation and knew the likelihood of what Dale told him. He also knew the effect that everything had on Chase in the weeks that had followed after what happened, based on the lack of hanging out together. “Randy is out on bail, right?” Chase slowly shakes his head yes as he keeps his eyes on Darrell.

“He wasn’t supposed to get bail, but that got appealed and was accepted and he paid the money required,” Chase answers as Darrell shakes his head in disbelief.

“Listen, we don’t have to go go-karting. We could go back to the hotel. As I told you earlier this weekend – we’re going to do whatever you want today. We just want to have a fun day with our friend. We miss hanging out with you.” A small smile forms on Chase’s face. He wasn’t about to let the phone call change his plans for the day. If Randy really did want to see him, then let him come find him. Let him try what he wanted as it would take a simple phone call. Chase knew he also had a bunch of friends with him that had his back, if something should happen.

“I thought you were supposed to be prepared to get your ass kicked today.” Darrell smiles as he knew what the answer meant. He then wraps an arm around Chase and brings him over to the group as they head over to the go-karts.

“Everything okay?” Ryan asks and Chase shakes his head yes.

“He’s ready to kick my ass – for some reason he believes that he can do that,” Darrell offers as a smile forms on Ryan’s face.

“I’m going to kick your ass, too. It’s not hard to do that.”

“I don’t want you going easy on me because you feel bad for me or anything,” Chase offers as he looks between them.

“Sympathy? What’s that?” Ryan questions as he looks over the go-karts. “They say that they’re all supposed to be equal, but a go-kart with the number 22 should be the quickest.”

“For that you’re wrong as number 6 is always a winner,” Darrell offers, sitting in a go-kart.

“Then why didn’t you win on Friday?” Chase asks as he finds the number 9, sitting in it.

“They don’t have a number 42?” Kyle questions as he looks them over.

“These places never have the coolest number around,” Dylan adds.

“Oh just shut up and choose one!” Ryan yells, getting surprised glances from the others.

“Someone is looking for some stress relief…” Darrell offers as Ryan rolls his eyes.

“Try having a sister that doesn’t let you date.”

“Did she chase away Brittany, or whoever that was?” Chase questions with a glance back at Ryan as Dylan and Kyle finally settle on a pair of karts. “Dude, she wasn’t even right for you. She was a total track bunny. You need better taste in woman.”

“When are you going to get a girlfriend?” Ryan asks as Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“I thought he was dating your sister?” Dylan questions, in reference to Erin.

“No comment.”

“We’re just good friends – that’s all,” Chase comments before putting his helmet on.

“20 laps – first across the line wins,” Darrell announces. “No other rules. Contact is acceptable – as long as you don’t flat out drill the other guy. Beyond that, good luck on trying to catch me boys.”

“It’ll be easier than you think.”

Chapter 20: Go-Karting Con’t
July 2015

Once the boys hit the track with the go-karts, it was a full raged war was on with contact from one end to the other. There were a couple spin-outs along with the way, highlighted by Ryan getting point-blankly dumped into the tire barrier by Kyle at about the halfway mark. Needless to say, the boys were following the promise of taking no prisoners.

In the end, though, Ryan found his way back to the front despite being dumped in the tires by Kyle as he made his way back by Kyle – a little retaliation spin, might we add – before passing Chase on the final corner to steal the win.

“You know, it’s not nice to steal the win from the poor sweet kid,” Darrell offered once they had all gotten their helmets off.

“He said not to have any sympathy for him so there ya go,” Ryan rebuttals with a smile on his face.

“I call that highway robbery!” Chase argues. “You had to have taken a short cut somewhere after being dumped by Larson.”

“Speaking of which, what was up with the retaliation?” Kyle questions as Ryan shrugs his shoulders.

“I thought Darrell said there was to be no hard contact and buddy, that initial hit was hard,” Ryan offers.

“And yet somehow made you faster,” Chase comments as Dylan shakes his head in agreement.

“It’s like I knocked off the limiter,” Kyle suggests, catching the attention of everyone.

“These karts have limiters on them?” Kyle shrugs his shoulders as he looks over his go-kart.

“Some places do limiters to make sure that people don’t go faster than their ability.”

“That’d be a good tool for you, Dylan,” Darrell offers with a pat on Dylan’s shoulder.

“I didn’t see you anywhere near the front now did I?” Dylan challenges as Darrell shrugs his shoulders.

“But who has won more races this year? This guy!”

“And who’s leading the points? This guy!” Chase states with a huge smile on his face.

“If only I had a full-time ride to kick both of your asses,” Ryan shares as they head out, done for the day.

They had discussed the possibility of dong another round, but with their stomachs feeling hungry, the group decided it was best to head out for dinner. Making their way to a local fast food place, they all got their burgers and fries before finding a place to sit and eat.

As they sat eating, Darrell kept his eyes locked on Chase with a mix of thoughts on his mind. With everything that had happened, they hadn’t been spending as much time together as they would’ve hoped. Instead, Chase was dealing with whatever was going on and spending time with Regan. On the flip side, that left Darrell having to deal with Ryan and Dylan’s stupidity alone as Kyle was only helpful here and there, thanks to being a father.

“We need to do this more often,” Darrell offers, having missed their hang out times together.

“What happened to getting together at least once a week?” Dylan wonders as Ryan glances over at Kyle.

“Talk to the father of the group,” Ryan suggests as Kyle shrugs his shoulders.

“Fatherhood is awesome,” Kyle comments. “You’ll understand once you have kids.”

“You’re growing up way too fast man,” Darrell shares before looking over the rest of the group. “Okay, for the rest of us, we need to get back to doing this once a week. I don’t care what is going on in your lives, we need to do this.” Darrell’s eyes then lock back to Chase. “Besides, it’s good to get away from the everyday hassles and have some fun.”

“Okay, so what all happened in February?” Dylan blurts out, earning a mix of surprised and angry glances from the others at the table.

“Dylan!” Kyle spits out first as Chase focuses his eyes on his food.

“I’d rather not talk about it, okay?” Chase offers and Dylan simply shakes his head understanding.

“I thought that you’d be okay talking about it,” Dylan tries to offer an apology as Kyle debates smacking him underneath the table. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”

“Way to ruin the day of fun and distraction!” Kyle finally lets out as he smacks Dylan across the back of the head. The behavior catches Chase’s attention as Darrell lets out a sigh.

“We’ve been doing our own get togethers here and there,” Darrell starts as he glances between the Ganassi duo, before looking back at Chase. “We didn’t want to bug you with everything that you had going on. If you want honesty, I talked to Regan a bit and he said that things were a little tough so I was willing to give you your space, and told the others to do so as well. However, that can only go on for so long. I got together with Ryan first and suggested that we do a fun day together, get back to how things were. He agreed, and we got a hold of dumb and dumber. It seemed even more apparent that we should do it this weekend as we know that tomorrow is start of the stress 101. After our own discussions, we came to you.”

“Even with those two acting like complete knobs, we hope that the day accomplished what we wanted – a day of fun with friends, without having to worry about a thing,” Ryan adds.

“I’m sorry I have a dumb teammate who has to ruin everything with his big mouth,” Kyle offers.

“And I’m sorry that I have the worst curiosity possible,” Dylan adds. The group then goes silent waiting for Chase’s response as he looks between them.

“You guys are the best friends that anybody could ask for,” he starts. “When I’m ready to say what happened, Dylan, I’ll gladly tell you. I’m just not ready yet. However, it’s understandable to be curious considering you’re a close friend. And Kyle, don’t shoot him as despite being a dumbass sometimes, Dylan is a pretty cool guy.”

“The first time those words have been spoken,” Ryan states, earning a look from Dylan as Darrell laughs.

“Thanks for the fun day and no, you haven’t ruined it. It was perfectly what I needed after the past couple of months and yes, especially before tomorrow. Like you’ve already said, we have to get back to doing this. We need to do this for our own sane purposes.”

“We should go mini-golfing next week.”

“Are you sure you’re ready to face the clown windmill again?” Darrell questions as Chase laughs, remembering the last time they went mini-golfing. Ryan fought the clown windmill, shooting approximately 30 times before getting the ball in the hole.

“I am ready to master that wind mill this time,” Ryan states with a smile on his face.

“Who wants to bet it takes him 40 shots this time?”
“I’m aiming for 50!” Chase offers as Dylan shakes his head.

“Nah – I’ll give him 10 this time,” Dylan suggests as they look over at Kyle. “Are you available?”

“Someone has to make sure that you boys stay out of trouble,” Kyle offers, casuing the whole group to laugh.

“Right, because it was you who went swimming in the pond after their precious rainbow golf ball despite all the signs that said no swimming.”

“That rainbow golf ball was special, okay? It’s a special collectable.”

“Only Larson would go golfing with a Jeff Gordon rainbow golfball,” Chase teases as they all share a laugh.

“The best friends that anybody could ask for.” I don’t know about you, but it seems that this would be an interesting group to be have as your best friends haha

I can say that I enjoyed writing this comic relief section of the story. With the trial pending and Randy being loose, I figured we all needed a break. However, that can only last for so long. We have business to get to.

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 66 Thru 71


Chapter 66: An Appointment with Caroline Bentley

Angelica, Kyle, Dale, Lindsay and Tony each took their seats inside Caroline’s office as she sat in her chair, eyes focused on Angelica.

“Well, we all know why we’re here,” Caroline starts, not taking her eyes off of Angelica.

“I figured it’d be best to address what happened last night with you,” Dale comments as he looks down the row at Angelica.

“You made a good decision as what happened is very serious.”

“She’s lucky that he was there,” Lindsay adds as she keeps her eyes focused on the individual before them.

“I think we should focus on trying to get better and not what happened,” Kyle comments as he doesn’t want to let the thought cross his mind. He couldn’t believe it when he was told as to what happened.

“To get better, though, we have to address it accordingly,” Caroline advises as Lindsay shakes her head in agreement. “Angelica, do you have anything to say?” She shakes her head no as she lets out a sigh. She honestly didn’t want to be sitting there at that moment.

“She’s been real quiet since last night,” Lindsay says and Caroline shakes her head understanding as she makes a note.

“That’s normal. Did you say anything to you last night about it, Kyle?” Kyle shakes his head no. “So the only ones that have shared the words in question and actions are father and daughter?”

“It happened in the garage and I led her back inside and Kyle has stayed with her since,” Dale explains as Caroline makes a note.

“What else do I have to say than what I said?” Angelica questions, surprising them all.

“Maybe it would help your family if you gave them a reason for what you said,” Caroline suggests as Angelica rolls her eyes.

“It’s obvious, Caroline. You’ve dealt with my family for a couple years now so you know exactly what is going on.”

“Somehow despite everything, I don’t have the thoughts that you do though,” Lindsay retorts.

“We’ve been through this together but do you see us giving up?” Tony adds as he keeps his eyes focused on Angelica. “Each of us keep digging down and getting through the obstacles that life throws our way, hoping that things turn out happy one day and we move past it. Life is tough. Nobody said it was easy. This is just part of the journey.”

“We have each other – we can get through anything,” Kyle says as he places his hand on top of hers.

“You don’t have to deal with this by yourself.”

“Angelica, may I ask what you are thinking as you hear these words from Kyle and Tony?” Caroline questions as Angelica rolls her eyes.

“I’ve heard these words my whole life and yet every day has felt like a battle so what do you think miss?” Angelica questions in return.

“But what about the fun moments like spending time with Kyle and being a champion?” Tony throws out there as Kyle keeps his eyes focused on her.

“What about the dreams that we shared?” Kyle adds.

“You wanted to see the kids race the cars. You wanted to get back behind the wheel because of your love for racing. What about all that? Remember all the things that you said a couple months ago?” She then smiles as he looks down at Tony.

“Guess I should’ve became an actress,” she comments to their surprise.

“So that was just an act when you made those decisions and announcements?” Dale questions and Angelica shakes her head yes.

“I did it all with a plan. I wanted the kids to have the chance to achieve their dream and I knew Kyle had the knowhow to help them with that. I wanted to give Karsyn the chance at the Sprint Cup level so that’s why I helped align the sponsor and everything. I knew it’d be easy to change the number come the time.”

“I can’t believe this,” Kyle comments in shock.

“Neither can I,” Lindsay adds as Angelica sits back.

“I told you guys – I can’t do this anymore and I meant it,” she says quietly as Caroline keeps her eyes focused on Angelica.

“Why are you giving up now?” Caroline questions as Angelica rolls her eyes.

“I’ve been through so much pain and heartache and…” She then sniffs back the tears that are threatening to fall. “I can’t take it. I can’t take the pain anymore. I’m done. I’ve been pulled and pushed to every end that I can be and I can’t take the pain anymore. Nobody understands the pain that I have been through. Nobody understands what I’m going through. It’s too much.”

“That’s why you have us to lean on,” Tony says quietly as she shakes her head.

“It’s not as simple as that…” She lets out.

“Then tell us how we can help you,” Dale questions as she looks over at her dad.

“I don’t have an answer to that because there’s no answer to that,” Angelica answers as Caroline looks on surprised.

“How can you say that when we’ve been able to find ways past everything else that has happened?” Caroline questions, causing Angelica to look at her.

“Because all the other solutions haven’t done it. If they had succeeded as you planned Miss, then I wouldn’t be sitting here. Sometimes there is no cure for the pain that someone is in. Ever heard of a person being pushed to their edge and feeling as if there was no return?”

“There is a retur-” Dale starts and Angelica shakes her head no.

“There isn’t no matter how much you try and say otherwise,” she cuts him off as Caroline looks over at Dale.

“Remember what we talked about?” Caroline questions and Dale shakes his head yes. Before Angelica had shown up with Kyle, the pair had a private meeting to discuss things about her so Caroline knew where they stood. “I think we may have to go down that road.”

“What are you both talking about?” Dale takes a deep breath as he stands up. He then walks over to Angelica, kneeling down before her.

“Listen, there’s a lot of emotions there built up inside of you,” he starts carefully as he remembers the discussions with Caroline. “Some of those are easy to let go, while others aren’t as easy to let go. You’re right. Sometimes it becomes too much to handle; sometimes a person is pushed to their edge. But unlike your words, there are ways to help that. There are people that are there, ready to help you. You have family – in the form of Tony, Lindsay, Kyle and myself. I’m not giving up on you no matter what you say. You also have professionals like Caroline and her staff that can help you with those emotions. They can help bring that pain to the surface and help you get through it, whether it takes letting it go or something else.”

“There is no reason to give up,” Kyle comments as he watches Dale take a careful pause as he stands up.

“Give me the papers.” Caroline hands him a couple pieces of paper as he sits down and focuses his eyes to the bottom.

“What are those for?” Tony wonders as Caroline looks at Tony, before turning her eyes to Angelica.

“Adminstance papers for the nearest mental center,” Caroline answers as shock forms on the faces before her. “Those are basically recommendation papers. I have a set that I will fill out and with them, she will go in for treatment. If she agrees, it makes it much easier on us all. If she doesn’t, the recommendation per myself and Dale can be fulfilled through the courts.” Dale signs them and hands them back to Caroline as he looks down at Angelica.

“Seriously?” Angelica questions and Dale shakes his head yes.

“I told you I wasn’t giving up on you and I’d do whatever it took,” he answers as Caroline looks them over before returing her eyes to Angelica.

“You love your family and you had the biggest dreams of anybody that I know,” Caroline starts. “You’ve been through a lot. I can attest to that based on our visits together – post-cancer and before the cancer. Are you honestly ready to give up? Or are you willing to give this a chance? At least give us 30 days – even a week – please.”


Chapter 67: The Decision

Angelica sat looking between Caroline and Dale in disbelief as she couldn’t believe what they were doing. Was this even fair? She knew even if she answered no to Caroline’s question, she’d get stuck in this situation based on those darn papers. Was this even legal?

“Fine – I’ll accept,” Angelica gives in as a small smile crosses Dale’s face.

“You’re taking an important step Angelica,” Caroline comments as Angelica snickers.

“I’m only doing it since the court would probably say I have to thanks to him.” She then looks over at her dad. “Glad to see that you think I’m crazy like my mother.” The smile that had formed on Dale’s face instantly disappears.

“Angelica, I think you need to take that comment back. Just because we’re recommending you do this for yourself doesn’t mean you’re crazy.”

“You’re nowhere near crazy,” Dale adds as Angelica rolls her eyes.

“See?” Caroline says as she hands Angelica a set of papers.

“He’s just saying that to try to make me happy,” Angelica comments as she signs the papers, handing them back to Caroline.

“It’s not fair for you to hold resentment against your father for this.”

“It’s his fault so why shouldn’t I?”

“He’s doing this to help you, not hurt you. You’ll be thanking him in a couple of months.” Dale smiles as he glances at Tony, remembering those words.

“I was mad at Tony when he told me that I should come see Caroline,” Dale starts as he looks back at his daughter. “Now I know that it was the right decision.”

“Whatever,” Angelica snickers back as Dale stands up and walks over to her.

“Please trust me on this. I’m only doing this to help you because I believe in you.”

“Now with the papers signed, I’ll call down Wayne to escort you over,” Caroline announces as she pages Wayne.

“Everything is going to work out,” Dale continues as he kneels down before her.

“Can you just leave now since you’ve done enough?” Angelica questions before looking over at Kyle. “I’ve always loved you – remember that.”

“I will never give up on our love,” Kyle replies as he blows her a kiss. “I will always love you. I’ll be waiting for you.”

“We’ll all be waiting for you,” Dale adds as Kyle smiles.

“Dale’s right as we all love you – no matter what it looks like.”

“Yeah…sure…,” Angelica comments as Dale sits back in his spot. “I hope this makes you just peachy.”

“It does because I know it’ll work out,” Dale replies as she rolls her eyes.

“You’re going to be okay,” Kyle comments as he rubs her hand.

“Why can’t you all just let me swallow myself whole in my self-pity?” She questions as Dale looks over at her.

“Simple – we love you too much to let you do that,” Dale answers as Caroline smiles.

“You should be thankful to have such wonderful people around you at this time,” Caroline comments as Angelica just shakes her head laughing.

“People who are living in a delusional world thinking that the pain will just go away one day,” she says as Caroline takes a deep breath.

“The pain never goes away totally as we can all attest to that. We just find ways to deal with it and handle it so we can enjoy the lovely moments that life has to offer.” Caroline then looks up when she hears a knock on the door, smiling as Wayne stands there. “Ms. Angelica Larson is requiring an escort as per the papers signed.” Wayne shakes his head as he walks over to her.

“Remember what I said,” Dale reminds her as she rolls her eyes standing up.

“Are you ready to go Mrs. Larson?” Wayne asks and Angelica turns to look at the older man. She shakes her head yes and leaves the room without another word as Dale lies his back, taking a deep breath. It wasn’t supposed to feel as bad as it did.

“Why does it hurt so much to let her go like that?” Dale muses out loud as he keeps his eyes focused on the ceiling.

“It’s going to be okay,” Kyle whispers out loud as he feels his heart breaking as he looks back to see her walking down the long hallway with the man.

“Oh I know it’ll be okay, but it still doesn’t help cure how much that hurt.”

“I know what you mean.”

“She’ll be fine as I can assure you that she’s in good hands,” Caroline assures them as the men turn their eyes on her. “During the process, you are free to check in with me as much as you want. It doesn’t bother me if you call me multiple times a day wanting to see how she is and talk about your own feelings. It’s a tough deal on a whole family to go through so it’s understanding that you will all have your own moments.” She then turns her eyes to Dale, taking a deep breath. “I especially know given what you’ve been through together as a family that it may be heightened.”

“Thank you for your help,” Kyle thanks her quietly as Caroline smiles.

“It’s just my job and I love every minute of it. When I see her eyes sparkle once again and that smile return to her face, I will know that I’ve done what I had to do.” Caroline keeps her eyes focused on Dale as she sees the silence written there as she knows he’s thinking. “Dale, what are you thinking?” He opens his eyes surprised as Tony glances towards him.

“She’s going to be okay…” Tony says as Dale lets out a sigh.

“I know she’ll be okay, Tony,” Dale replies.

“Then what’s on your mind?”

“I’m just thinking about everything…”

“Want to talk about it?” Dale shakes his head no as Tony scoots closer. “Dale, it helps to talk about it.”

“I don’t want to talk about it right now so don’t push the issue, Tony.”

“But you’re okay, right?” Kyle asks and Dale shakes his head yes.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got his back,” Tony comments as Caroline clears her throat.

“Kyle and Tony, can you both leave the room?” She requests as Dale looks up at her. “I want to talk to Dale for a minute.” The boys oblige as they both stand up and leave the room, closing the door behind them.

“Caroline, please, not today…” Dale comments out loud as Caroline keeps her eyes locked on his.

“Yes, today, because if you have something on your mind, you have to get it out there,” she replies as he lets out a sigh. These sessions with her were never easy.


Chapter 68: Our Meeting

“Fine,” he states. “Obviously I’m not happy about the way she’s acting.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that you aren’t happy,” Caroline starts. “Anybody could tell by your body language that you weren’t happy. But as Kyle and Tony repeated, you are doing the right thing for her. Do you believe you’re doing the right thing?” He shakes his head yes as he looks across the desk at her.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m doing the right thing. I know that she needs the help based on what’s happened. Anybody can see that. I can also assure that I’d do anything for her. I’ll do whatever it takes to make her see the light. But it doesn’t help how much it hurts to hear her mad at me for it.”

“Talk about that hurt you’re feeling.”

“There’s no way to describe it. When she turned to me with that attitude, it broke my heart totally. I couldn’t believe that she said what she did. I would never put her in that class with Amber. She’s nothing like her mother, Caroline.” Caroline shakes her head, knowing Amber’s history based on previous conversations with Dale and a peak in Amber’s file herself. She also knew more of Amber’s story beyond what had been written and said.

“And you’re saying that line that she said hurt you the most?” Dale shakes his head yes as she lets out a sigh. “You can’t let that hurt you. You know yourself those words are not true. You’ve watched her grow up. You’ve watched the lady she’s become. So why does it bug you so much?”

“Because it hurts to hear her even think that. I thought we were past that and what happened. I didn’t think it’d be an issue. I thought it was dealt with based on her staying with Rick and then growing up with me. I thought that we had gotten past what happened with her. I thought it was just back to us, Tony, Lindsay and Kyle.”

“Whether you want to admit it or not, Amber will always be a part of her life. Amber is her mother and there’s no way to mistake that. There’s also no way to forget what happened that day at Amber’s house. Events like that are what make up the nightmares and fears that we hold. Speaking of nightmares, how are you doing with those?” Dale lets out a sigh as he sits back.

“They’re still there. There’s some nights I wake up in a cold sweat because I think back to what happened. Whether I think about Jeff or Amber, it just makes wake up instantly. There’s no way around that.”

“Then right there you see what I’m saying. Those events are now a couple years done with, yet they still continue to haunt you. Now are we past those moments where you completely freeze up?” Dale shakes his head yes.

“I haven’t had one of those moments for a long time. I think I finally got that comfort back that I had before. Why is this so hard, Caroline?”

“Because these are events that toyed with every emotion in your body. They are events that are unexplainable to the naked eye. The hurt that they cause can’t be comprehended. That’s why the layer is always there. We try to move past it and in most cases do. But sometimes we see the past come back to see us again. Sometimes we also can’t get past it and we need to spend some time getting our emotions out.”

“Just like Angelica, huh?” Caroline shakes her head yes. “I just wish that we’d reach a day when I don’t have to think about the past. I wish we could reach a day where we’re all happy without strings tied.”

“You’ll find that day. It’ll come and when it comes, it mean so much to you. Just remember that I’ve told you many times – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and more thankful for the positives in life. Once Angelica works her way through this and you guys get into next year, racing and enjoying life as a family, you will understand what I mean. Till then, you have to work your way through the tough times. You’re doing a great job and I know that we’ll get your daughter on that track also.” Dale smiles as he listens to Caroline. He had argued tooth and nail with Tony before seeing her about not wanting to see her. He didn’t want to sit and spill his thoughts out for some chick that he didn’t know. However, instead, he was seeing the pay-off as a simple conversation helped put every worry at ease.

“I want to thank you for what you’ve done. Not just for me, but for everybody. You’re an amazing person. I appreciate the patience and understanding. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome Dale. I’m just doing my job. The payoff is seeing you guys all happy together. Why don’t you go get some lunch with them and give me a call later and I’ll let you know how your sweetie is doing?” Dale smiles as he stands up.

“That sounds great. Thanks again.” He then shakes her hand before leaving her office as she sits back in her chair and smiles. It was a work in progress, but they were coming along.


Chapter 69: A Little Check-In

It had been a month and a half. Six weeks. 42 days to be exact. That was the count on the mind of one Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he walked down the hall. 42 days ago, he had made the tough decision to do what he felt was right in having Caroline and her staff take his daughter in. He could only hope that he made the right decision.

Drifting into mid-year now, his schedule was busy as could be. However, when Caroline called and wanted him to come in and see her – along with his daughter – there was no saying no. This was to be a special father-daughter session, sort of a check-in to see whether everything had been worth it.

For the first couple weeks, he was constantly calling Caroline, wanting to hear how things were going. Most of those ended with disappointment in results, but yet she kept assuring him that she’d find what she needed to make it better.

Then slowly, those calls became more hopeful as Caroline began to work at the pieces necessary. He could only hope that he saw the payoff that day.

“Dad!” He heard as he entered the doors and sat in the chair beside the little girl…no, lady, that he called his daughter. “I was beginning to think that you wouldn’t make it.” Dale shakes his head as he sits down.

“I wasn’t going to miss this for anything,” he assures her as he looks over into her eyes. They looked a little brighter than he remembered that night. “I wanted to come see how you were.”

“Well that’s why I arranged this meeting,” Caroline speaks up from behind her desk. “So Angelica, should we tell your dad how things have been?” Angelica lets out a sigh as she knew that this wouldn’t be an easy process. “Obviously, you remember how things were when you dropped her off. Well, we’ve seen some steps towards a better tomorrow. She is beginning to see the hope that you know so well. There’s still room for improvement, but I think we’re a lot closer than we originally were. Now that I’ve said my piece, I think it’s time that you both share some needed conversation.” Angelica looks up from the spot that she had focused on the ground while Caroline was talking.

“I’m sorry for getting mad at you originally as you were just looking out for me,” Angelica comments quietly as Dale smiles. He knew the apology was a big step and it meant that Caroline was doing a good job. “I also want to thank you for what you’ve done. It’s been a big help.”

“Maybe you can discuss some of the things that we talked about with your dad. I know there were some interesting discussions a couple weeks ago about childhood.” Dale looks at her concerned as he could only imagine what type of discussions those were based on her words to him before.

“Only if you’re comfortable to talk about it though,” Dale tells her. “As long as Caroline says things are improving and I can see that by your attitude, then you don’t have to divulge into those emotions.”

“Sometimes its best though if the person effected by those emotions talks to the person who is affecting them,” Caroline comments as Angelica looks down.

“You deserve to hear it, whether it’s fair or not,” Angelica starts as she looks up at him. “Just know that I love you no matter how this comes out.” Dale shakes his head nervously as he thinks about what she has to say.

“Let’s talk about your relationship with your father,” Caroline suggests as she sits back in her chair. “Do you have a good relationship?” Angelica shakes her head as she lets out a sigh.

“We have a great relationship,” Angelica tells Caroline. “I feel bad for the way I got mad at him, though.”

“You were frustrated. It happens. I’m sure he will forgive you if things turn out as we all hope. Now those comments – were they off the cuff or were they fueled by something?”

“They were off the cuff, just frustrated by the current situation due to my emotions.” Caroline makes a note before turning back up to Angelica. She had talked to Dale previously about his relationship with Angelica and knew how things had gone in the past. It was that past that he had discussed that she wanted to bring out in Angelica.

“Have you always had the best relationship with your dad?” Angelica shakes her head as she sits back in the chair.

“I don’t think you’d call not wanting any part of me when I was a baby a good relationship, now would you? I also don’t think a perfect relationship states that you keep your daughter hidden from your family and under the guidance of someone else, either.” As Caroline listened to Angelica, she could sense the tension in your voice.

“That must’ve made you angry with him, on both accounts.”

“The first part didn’t really affect me much since I was just a baby then and he came back into my life when I was five. So from that point on, I remember him being on and as a kid, it doesn’t affect you. However, the second part of it – moving in Rick at the age of 11 – that did bug me. I was old enough to comprehend it all then.”

“So talk about how you felt during that time you stayed at Rick’s.” Angelica looks out away as she lets out a sigh.

“I’d rather not as I’d rather focus on how much I am thankful that Rick took me in and helped me while Dad figured out what he wanted to do.”

“Angelica, part of this relies on you to face your emotions. To heal you must face everything that you faced in your past.”

“I was angry at him. I felt as though as I wasn’t good enough to part of the family.”

“But he had you stay with someone that meant a lot to him. Didn’t that mean anything?”

“Oh that meant a lot – trust me. Like I said, I am thankful for Rick every day. But that didn’t change how I felt about my dad at that time. It was like I wasn’t good enough to meet his mom and sister’s approval. It made me feel like I was the mistake child.”

“Did you ever tell him how you felt during that time?” Angelica shakes her head no as she lets out a sigh.

“I didn’t want to screw up the relationship that I did get to have with him.”

“Have you ever asked yourself how he would’ve reacted if you would’ve said something?” She shakes her head yes.

“I would’ve probably done the right thing sooner and just came out straight with my mom and Kelley about it,” Dale tells her as he keeps his eyes focused on her. He couldn’t believe the words that were spewing from her mouth. It broke his heart to hear how she felt during that time. It never occurred to him. Why hadn’t he thought about that? “I’m so sorry for everything, Angelica.”

“You don’t need to apologize as I understand now and I’ve moved on past it,” Angelica tells him. “It’s in the past and I’m glad that we have that special father-daughter relationship now. I love you, Dad.” She then stands up and walks over and wraps both arms around him as he smiles. This was definitely better.

“I love you too.” Angelica then sits back down in her seat as she looks forward at Caroline.

“See, it’s a good thing to get out your emotions, huh?” Caroline questions and Angelica shakes her head yes. “This is exactly what I hoped that I’d see today.”

“It’s great to see that you’ve made a lot of progress,” Dale comments as he pats Angelica’s hand with a smile.

“It certainly is great to see. Now I don’t think we’re done yet but give it a couple more weeks, or maybe a month and I think she’ll be where I want her to be. At that point, I’d be comfortable with letting her free to live her life. Of course, she’d be welcome to come check in with me as you do often.”

“As I’ve always said – talking to you has helped a lot. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done. From helping me to Angelica, you’ve done so much. Has anyone told you that you’re amazing?” Caroline laughs as she shakes her head yes.

“As I keep saying, I’m just doing my job and seeing the smiles on your faces is what matters to me.” Dale then looks over at Angelica.

“Well I hope to see a smile on this face and I hope to see it stay there. Can you make me a promise that the smile will be there when I see you again?” Angelica shakes her head yes as a smile creeps on her face.

“That’s a start.”

“Maybe the next time you come by we can talk about the plans of you being an awesome car owner next year,” Angelica comments to Dale’s surprise. The thought of her racing next year was far out of his mind based on what happened. However, given the progress and how she was feeling, it was possible.

“So you have a plan for next year?” Caroline asks and Angelica shakes her head yes with certainty. If there was a chance for a happy ending, there was only one way she wanted it.

“I’m going racing for my daddy. And I plan on kicking his butt once again, but yet in his car. Get ready for the fun to return.” Dale smiles as he can’t believe the improvement in her attitude.

“If you were to beat me to win the 500, you probably wouldn’t smile on my face as I’d be as happy as you.”


Chapter 70: A Success of the Time

“How did you beat me again?” Dale questions as he looks over at Lindsay, shaking his head. It was mid-October and in between racing weekends, they were entertaining their themselves with a video game.

“Maybe you should let her drive this weekend,” Tony teases as Dale flips him off. “She’s a better driver than you after all.” They then hear a knock at the door, confusing them. They weren’t expecting guests that day.

“Who’s that?” Everybody shrugs their shoulders.

“I’ll get it.” Tony then stands up and heads for the door.

“Can I try to beat her?” Kyle asks as Tony disappears out of the room. Tony opens the door and immediately his jaw drops to the floor.

“Please tell me you didn’t plan your escape,” he states as the person before him laughs.

“I didn’t escape without permission,” she states as he pulls her close, wrapping both arms around her. She then backs up, handing him the piece of paper from Caroline. “She gave me my release this morning with a promise that I’d come see her every week.”

“I’m glad to see that you’re doing better.”

“Now where’s my family?”

“Playing Mariokart. It seems Lindsay has figured out some sort of secret.”

“Oh really?” Tony shakes his head yes as they walk down the hallway.

“She has beat us all multiple times.” Angelica shakes her head as she walks into the front door.

“Surprise!” The controllers in the hands of the pair of people before her drop as another set of eyes just stare at her.

“Don’t worry – she’s here with permission.” Tony then walks into the room, holding up the piece of white paper.

“She let you go today?” Kyle asks and Angelica shakes her head yes.

“So things are fine?” Dale adds and Angelica shakes her head once again.

“It’s great to see you,” Lindsay comments as Tony sits down on the couch.

“I think we should go out for dinner tonight to celebrate,” he says as Lindsay looks back at him.

“You’re always looking for an excuse to eat, aren’t you? You got to watch that belly, Smoke.”

“It’s great to see you,” Kyle says as he walks over to Angelica and pulls her into a hug.

“After we eat, you two can play kum-by-ya,” Tony teases as Kyle looks back, shaking his head.

“Thanks for the permission,” Angelica replies before kissing Kyle’s lips.

“I love you so much,” Kyle says as he keeps hold on her.

“Please don’t get gushy in front of us,” Tony continues teasing as he covers his eyes. “Yucky!”

“Are you happy now?” Dale asks as he walks over to Angelica. She looks at him, smile firmly planted on her face as she shakes her head yes. “No more sadness, right?” She shakes her head yes as she lets go of Kyle to hug her dad. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” she replies as she keeps her arms wrapped around him. “Thank you.”

“Awwww,” Tony coos from his spot on the couch.

“I knew you could do it,” Dale tells her as she smiles.

“I’m sorry for what happened that night and for everything…” she lets out before laying her head against him.

“It’s okay. We all have our breaking point. You’ve been through a lot. I’m just glad that you’re feeling better and you’re back home.” She then backs up from him, smiling.

“I had to get better because I have to bring a Daytona 500 win to JR Motorsports next year.”

“You’re going racing next year?” Tony asks and she looks over at him surprised.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” She question and he shrugs his shoulders. “Racing is in my blood. I can’t live without the adrenaline pumping through me. It’s time to make good on that promise.” Tony smiles as he sees the fire in his eyes that has been missing.

“She’s definitely back. We’re in trouble.” They all then laugh as she stands there smiling.

“Remember those words next year.”

“So when do we start testing?” Dale questions as she smiles.

“Whenever you want to boss,” she replies.

“I hope you know what you’re doing when it comes to this team.”

“Trust me, Dad. Believe in your daughter and life be great.” She then leaves the room, heading to the kitchen to get a drink.


Chapter 71: Daytona 500 Dreams Come True

“Woohooo!” Angelica screams as she stands atop her car in Daytona 500 victory lane while being showered in every liquid imaginable. “Best comeback ever!!” She then hops off the car, grabbing her crew chief by the neck and pulling him close into a hug. “Thanks for the best car….ever!”

“You did amazing,” Ron replies before backing away from her so she can receive the next hug.

“Guess you stayed true to your word, huh?” Dale asks as he looks into her sparkling blue eyes and she shakes her head yes. “I’m proud of you.”

“Can I have a hug?” Kyle asks as he joins the group in victory lane and Dale backs away so the pair of lovers can embrace in a hug, followed by a big kiss. “I love you. Congratulations.”

“I love you too,” she replies before kissing his lips.

“That was some amazing driving out there.”

“She gets it from her father,” Dale brags as Angelica laughs. “I didn’t think she’d get by me there.”

“Neither did I,” Kyle comments as she shrugs her shoulders.

“Guess I’m just that awesome,” she says before turning to do her interview with Marty Snider.

“Thanks for letting her do this boss,” Ron says as he walks over to Dale while Angelica is doing the interview. “How does it feel to be a Daytona 500 winning car owner?” Dale smiles as he looks back at Ron.

“It feels absolutely amazing, especially with that smile on her face,” Dale comments as he turns around and gives Ron a hug. “Great job on the car. You two certainly are a dream combo together.”

“I think you’re even sweeter than Knaus-Johnson,” Kyle adds as Ron laughs.

“That’s some high praise there young man,” Ron comments. “Even if we’re even close to how good those two are together, we can make magic happen.”

“Do you see a second championship in your future?” Dale asks and Ron shakes his head yes. “That’s a good thought to have. I think we’ll be dealing with her all year, Kyle.”

“Bring it on,” Kyle welcomes.


“Damn it – where did you put your sweater, Chelsea?” Dale asks as he looks around the motorcoach for his daughter’s sweater. The celebration for Angelica’s big win was continuing and Chelsea had complained that she was getting cold so Dale offered to go back with her to the motorcoach and get her sweater.

When they got back to the motorcoach, Chelsea insisted on finding and wearing her special new JR Motorsports sweater with her mini sprint on the back of it. Kelley had given the kids one each for Christmas, with a special one done up for Dale and Angelica with all the kids’ sprints on it.

“I don’t know daddy,” Chelsea answers as she looks through her drawer. “I threw it ast night.”

The pair of them then hear a knock at the door, which startles Dale. Who would come looking for them? Everybody knew where the party was.

“You better find it Chelsea,” Dale says as he walks to the front of the bus, wondering who it is. Maybe it’s Lindsay and she forgot her key. Maybe it’s Tony and he’d have to knock due to not having his key with him. Or maybe it’s Angelica or Kyle wondering why they’re taking so long.

“I looking Daddy!” Chelsea yells in response as she opens her bottom drawer.

“Hello?” Dale says as he opens the door, confused when he sees a pair of men standing there.

“You’re not Lindsay,” the man comments and Dale looks at him confused.

“Who are you?” Dale asks.

“Find it Daddy!” Chelsea yells from the back and then pulls it over her head as she runs out of the back room, looking around confused. “Daddy?” She then walks towards the open door and comes face to face with a tall man. “Who are you?” She then looks and notices another man is standing there, holding her dad. “Let daddy go!”

“I can’t do that,” the man says as he looks at Dale. “Now where’s Lindsay?”

“She’s at the party with everyone else,” Dale says as he knows if he could get over there, they’d solve all problems that they were having right now.

“Let daddy go!!” Chelsea yells again as the other man grabs her.

“Let her go!” Dale yells as the taller of the two men keeps his hands on Dale.

“Then help me out, Mr. Earnhardt,” he speaks in a deep voice.

“Help!!” Chelsea yells before the man covers her mouth. She then moves around in his grip, though finally stops as she can’t feel any way to escape.

“There’s someone coming…we got to do something…”

“Let’s take him,” the shorter of the two men speaks as he looks over at his partner.

“You’re right. Once she realizes that he’s missing, she’ll come running.” The pair of men remove a pair of rags from their pockets, putting them over the faces of the individuals they’re holding, feeling them go limp in their arms as they smile. Plan accomplished.

The End…..for now

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 61 Thru 65


Chapter 61: Battles Left Ahead

Some people have been wondering how much is left in this story based on how I’ve written the last three chapters. I can tell you this much – I still have some ideas for this story so expect some more chapters to come for the month of December. Following that, I do have a sequel idea already in my head so this series is nowhere near ending.
“So you haven’t been eating like you should?” Caroline Bentley asks Angelica as they sit in her office.

As suggested by the doctor the day before, Angelica was expected to go see Caroline about her anorexic issues. They stemmed from the chemotherapy and marked the last step to truthfully having everything behind her. As a result, she sat in the office along with Kyle and Dale. She had asked both of them to come so they could hear what was said and make points of their own. Tony was going to come, but got tied up with some business over at SHR.

“That’s correct,” Angelica answers as she sits there. She wanted to finish up and do what it took as she knew that in seven months, she’d be in Daytona testing and getting ready for the new season ahead. She wanted to get this done as quickly as possible so she could get a jump start maybe on testing and preparing for the year ahead.

“That’s normal so don’t be worried about it,” Caroline explains. “It’s one of those symptoms and frankly, it’s one of the worst. Obviously you know the fatigue issues which in time with strength that’ll get back to where you need to be.” Angelica shakes her head as she knew that she had to get her strength back up to par where it was before through working out and letting her body heal from the battle it had faced. She had already spoken to the pit crew coach at Hendrick Motorsports about some ideas. “You also had the hair loss experience, right?” Angelica shakes her head yes as she pulls at the red long-haired wig a little. “And then there’s this issue. Now this issue is one of the hardest just because of what it has done.”

“But it can be dealt with, right?” Dale wonders and Caroline shakes her head yes. Dale was worried about how the next seven months would play out based on the announcements made and what needed to be done.

“It’s going to take commitment and hard work but we can do it.”

“I have faith that she can kick the world’s ass without any problems,” Kyle comments as he squeezes Angelica’s hand.

“If she can kick that cancer’s ass, this is going to seem like child’s play,” Caroline adds as Angelica smiles. “Now the simplest thing I can tell you is this – go home and eat. Get into eating those three meals – or even six small meals – a day. Get yourself in the habit and just start doing it. Don’t hold back.

“I wish it was that easy,” Angelica muses outloud as she looks down.

“It’s not that easy and that’s why we’re meeting. The plan that I have for you is simple. We’ll meet once a week, whether with these two or not, and discuss things. We’ll look at the improvement and maybe why there’s struggles. If each week you can eat a little more and bring yourself to getting to where you need to be, that’s all I ask. If you’re not able to, then bring forth possible reasons and maybe we can figure what is needed. If one of them is that you’re not feeling hungry, then maybe we have to look at ways to bring back those taste buds and want to eat.” Caroline goes into the drawer and pulls outta piece of paper, handing to Angelica. “Read this and try to in cooperate these things into your life. Are there any of those that stand out to you?” Angelica shake her head yes. “Such as?”

“This one looks right,” Kyle comments as he looks over the list. “Staying active. You’re doing that by spending time with the rugrats in building the team. Getting involved in that as much as you can as you get stronger will help as those kids smiles are so easy to pick up.”

“Yeah that’ll be part of it for sure,” Angelica says as Kyle smiles.

“Plus, I’ll help you with that in encouraging you and working out with you as you need to get stronger.”

“Right here, this combination of you helping her Kyle, is perfect,” Caroline interrupts. “This is exactly what she needs. Doing that as you said and having you there to encourage is perfect. That’s a huge step. Having a good support system helps and I know you have a lot of people that love you.” Angelica shakes her head yes a smile forms on her face. “You can muse over that list when you feel that you’re having an issue and want some help in the confidence department. Given your outfit, I think you’re following the need to be comfortable factor.”

“Tesla has beautiful clothes that I am falling in love with,” Angelica comments as she looks over her outfit again.

“It looks amazing on you,” Dale says as he looks to Caroline. “Will this get better over time easily?” Caroline shakes her head yes. “So basically it’s just like working through a slow process?”

“As she said dad, it’s going to be one that will involve working hard and working through the issues that arise. But as long as I stick to my guns, get stronger, keep things happy – baby, we’re going to be fine.” Angelica then looks down as a smile forms on her face. “The more I think about it, the more I feel like lunch.”

“You’re already starting,” Kyle comments as Caroline shakes her head. “Shall we go for a salad once we get out of here?”

“I say whatever she feels like,” Dale adds as Caroline sits back in her chair listening. “Any ideas princess?”

“What about sushi?”

“Mmmm….haven’t had that in a while,” Angelica comments as she licks her lips. “That sounds so good.”

“This is beautiful,” Caroline interrupts. “Just beautiful. I don’t need to say much more except for the fact that you’re doing what’s required. I can see the effect of the news and then your future plans are having a great effect on you.”

“Is there anything else that we should know?” Dale wonders and Caroline shakes her head yes.

“Please take a vitamin pill each day as that’ll help with regaining strength and ability to do all of your big plans. I also would like to make sure each time you come see me that stop in Carl’s office and just get a quick physical look over to know we’re on the right track.” Angelica shakes her head accepting. “Beyond that sweetie, it’s all up to you and the process that we take. Given the success of this meeting and rumbling stomachs, I think you better head off to that sushi restaurant.”

After trading goodbye and thanks, the three of them head out and go to the sushi place.

Later that afternoon, Angelica walks into SHR and goes to Tony’s office, sitting a plate on his desk.

“Eat,” she instructs as Tony looks up surprised. “I can’t have you wasting away on me. I already had some with Kyle and Dale.” She then leaves as Tony sits there smiling. It was fun to have the sparkling personality that they were used to back.

Chapter 62: A Change of Attitude
Over the next couple of months, improvement continued to be seen with Angelica. She was gaining her strength back, eating and getting closer to the year ahead had in store.

Though as they hit the two mark month, a difference was noticed by those around her.

She was eating, but not as much as you would hope for. She was eating enough to keep them at bay, but not the meals that they would really be happy with.

She was also starting to distance herself from them rather than being right there alongside them.

Each person was starting to notice it, though kept quiet as they didn’t know what to say. Finally, Kyle couldn’t take it anymore as he made his way through the doors at JR Motorsports and straight to Dale’s office.

“We need to talk,” he said as he entered the office, surprising Dale.

“What’s going on?” Dale asked, concerned as he hadn’t seen Kyle this jumpy for a long time. “And you could’ve knocked.”

“That’s not really important right now. We need to talk about Angelica.” Dale looks up at the young man before him, even more concerned.

“What about my daughter? You better tell me what is going on, Kyle. This is ridicu-”

“Have you noticed a change in her attitude lately? Have you noticed that the progress we were making has stopped suddenly?” Kyle plops down in the chair as Dale relaxes.

“I have.”

“I want to why. I want to know what’s going on inside of her head.”

“Have you asked her?” Kyle shakes his head as Dale lets out a sigh. “I’ve asked her as well, but she keeps insisting things are fine. I wasn’t worried about it till I spoke to Kelley and Karsyn the other day.” Kyle sits up, intrigued. What conversation was this?

“What happened? What’d she say to trigger your thoughts?”

“That if she isn’t ready for next year, she wants Karsyn to drive the car.” Kyle’s jaw drops as he shakes his head.

“What happened to all the confidence in the world about being ready for next year? It’s only July! She’s still got time!” Kyle sits back as he takes a deep breath. What was going on in Angelica’s head? “You don’t think….”

“She would’ve openly told us and Caroline would’ve mentioned it. The appointments with Caroline would’ve ceased to exist if that was true. There’s something else that we’re missing.”

“But what?”

“I don’t know!” Dale looks out the window thinking as Kyle thinks it over. What was Angelica thinking about? What were they missing to help her?

“Maybe we should talk to Caroli-”

“I already have.” Kyle looks at Dale, surprised. He wasn’t expecting that already.

“What’d she say?”

“She told me to confront Angelica about it and I told her that I have done that already. She then said she’d question to the topic with her and see if she can help. I’m right now hoping that does it because I don’t know what to do.” Kyle watches as Dale keeps his eyes turned away, tears begin to creep down. “She’s my baby girl. I hate to see her like this. I just wish I could make it like it never happened.” Kyle walks over and puts both hands on Dale’s shoulders.

“They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and if that’s the case, then we’ll find a way to get her through this.”

“I hope you’re right. She’s lucky to have found someone who cares about her like you do.”

“She’s lucky to have a dad that will do anything for her.”

Chapter 63: Angelica
Angelica lets out a sigh as she sits down in the garage. Following dinner, she had gone out there to have some time by herself. She didn’t want to answer to any questions by anyone, consistently discuss eating habits nor talk about the future. It all didn’t matter in her mind.

She couldn’t pin point the reasoning behind it but somewhere between May and July, the hope that was there after hearing the news disappeared. It vanished into thin air as if someone had simply picked it up and walked away with it. Why? Nobody knew but her.

“Thanks for the memories,” she whispers as she runs her hand down the side of her old racecar. When she wanted to think, this was where she would come. She’d come and see her first racecar. It was this car that gave her the first piece of true hope and happiness that she had known in her life. In search for something, this is where she would come.

“You made a lot of special memories with that car,” she hears, catching her off-guard as she recognizes the voice immediately. She lets out a sigh as she would’ve rather been left alone. She continues her walk along the side of the short racecar, smiling as the stars still sparkle in the paint job. It was Rick’s idea to put the stars there as they were supposed to sparkle just as she did.

“So you’ve probably heard. It’s not like you were there to watch it.” Her voice catches the person off-guard as he enters the garage, closing the door behind him.

“What’s going on Ang? What are you thinking about?” She freezes and looks over her shoulder at the person that stands there. “Ang?”

“There’s no need to worry about what I’m thinking about. It doesn’t matter anyway.”

“Why not? It matters to me.” She looks down as she takes a deep breath, knowing where she wants to go with this considering her current attitude.

“If it matters so much to you, then why weren’t you there?”

“I’ve been here for you…”

“Yeah, for the last half of my life. Where were you when I was a little girl? Where were you before I turned into that sweet teenager?” Dale looks down as he thinks about her words. There was no secret that there were regrets over what happened in Angelica’s past. He regretted not wanting to think of having a child. He regretted keeping it hidden even after he welcomed her into his life. There was nothing to replace that regret, ever.

“For what it’s worth, I regret every minute that I missed than and I will continue to apologize for that. I’m sorry, Angelica.” He then takes a couple steps closer to her. “But why does that matter right now?” She then moves away so they’re standing in the garage, either side of the car, staring at each other. He moves slightly, wanting to close the gap and find out what’s on her mind, though just finds himself switching sides with her.

“Don’t think that a hug will ease it all right now.” He then freezes as the words escape her lips, feeling so cold as she keeps her eyes focused on him. “It’s not that simple. A hug gives instant comfort, but doesn’t erase the pain that is buried underneath. It doesn’t erase the heartbreak of learning that a father is ashamed to tell his own mother and sister. It doesn’t ease the heartbreak of being away from that father. It doesn’t erase the heartbreak of knowing that father didn’t want anything to do with her in the beginning. Sure, time eases those wounds and they get pushed deeper and deeper down, but they never go away.” She then looks down as she feels a set of tears coming to her eyes. “They say time is supposed to ease pain but fuck, I don’t get how they say that is the case.”


“I don’t want to hear it, Dad.” She then moves back slightly, leaning against the wall.

“I’m so sorry for the pain that I caused you but just like it hurts you, it hurts me as well. I know the pain that you’re feeling.” He had no idea why this was a topic at this point or why she was saying what she was saying, but could he really stand there and deny it? “I kn-”

“Just stop!” He freezes at her outburst as she pushes herself off of the wall and walks around to the other side of the garage. He keeps his eyes focused on her as he moves himself from where he is standing against the Legend towards the direction that she went. “You should leave…honestly….” She then reaches into pocket, remembering her purpose for what she was doing there. “Just leave, please. I don’t want to do this right now.”

“Then why are we talking about it if you don’t want to touch the topic?”

“Because that’s what happens! Old pain always resurfaces and reminds of what happened before. Old pain is always there to tell you what heartbreak is. Old pain is there to remind you that the fight you’re fighting is not worth it because pain is there – always.”

“Angelica, what are you getting at?” He then takes a couple steps, hoping to close the gap without startling her again as she keeps her hands firmly grasped on the object in her pocket. “Angelica, tell me what’s on your mind. Let me help you.”

“I’m done fighting for everything that I have.”

“What do you mean by that?” He then moves around the Camaro, standing right in front of her. “The fight is over – we both have said that multiple times.”

“This fight may be over, but what does the next chapter hold?” Dale reaches for her hand, though she immediately pulls back away from him.

“We get through one battle and another battle is right there making us continue to fight. From my childhood to you and Jeff to Ashton and I to the cancer – I’m sick of fighting and crawling to try and have the life that I want. Sure, you’ll say that everything is fine now, right? Well that’s where you’re wrong as there’s probably another thing out there ready to ruin our lives once again.”

“That’s not true and even if there is, we’ll make it through it together.”

“But when do you realize that you can’t fight it all and surrender?” She pulls her hand out of her pocket, object firmly grasped in hand. “When do you realize that it isn’t worth it?” As she pops the top off the bottle, he reaches for it, though misses as she backs away from him.

“Angelica, whatever you’re thinking, it’s not worth it.” He then reaches for the bottle, grabbing it out of her hand and throwing it across the garage. “You never stop fighting because when it does work out, it will be worth every bit of it.”

“I…can’t….do….this…” The tears finally fall from her eyes and as she stands there shaking, Dale uses the opportunity to pull her close to him and hold her. “I can’t do it anymore, Dad.” He rubs her back as her sobs soak his shirt.

“You can, Angelica. There is no more battles left to fight. Everything is perfect now. You beat the cancer, both Ashton and Jeff are rotting in some jail, you have Kyle to love you, I have Tony and Lindsay, we both have little Chelsea chasing our asses and nothing is going to break that. From here on out, it’s time for us to live our happy ever after. I’m not letting you go and you’re damn well not giving up. You’ve come way too far to give up.” He then kisses her forehead as he continues to hold her against him, tears continuing to fall from her eyes as she buries her head in his chest.

Chapter 64: Tears
For what seemed like hours, the pair stood there without moving as Dale simply held her and rubbed her back. Finally, he moved back a little bit to see her face as he pushed her hair out of her face. As he looked into her eyes, he was reminded of the little teenager, not the woman that she had become.

“Dad…” she lets out.

“What Ang?” He asks as she lays her head back against his chest.

“How do you do it?”

“I don’t know. I just hope for the best and take each day in stride, hoping it’s better than the day before. It’ll get better for you. You just need to believe.” She shakes her head as he leads her out of the garage, shutting the lights off before returning to the house.

“I don’t know if I can.”

“You will. Trust me.”

“I don’t….” Her voice trails off as they walk inside, eyes glancing over at them from the group sitting at the kitchen table. They can see the tears on Angelica’s face as Dale keeps her held close to him.

“Let’s go upstairs.” He then leads her out of the kitchen, looking back at the group with a reassuring glance. He knew they wanted to know what was up and he wanted to tell them so they knew. But now wasn’t the time. Now was the time to take care of his daughter. He leads her up the stairs and to her bedsroom door. “Go get some sleep and we’ll talk about this in the morning.” She shakes her head, not wanting to face the topic with him any longer as she enters her room. She flops down on the bed and he walks over, grabbing the blanket and throwing it over her as her dog jumps up and lies beside her. “You take care of her, Winnie.” The dog lets out a small bark as Dale smiles. “Good boy.” He then glances back at Angelica. “No trying anything stupid. I love you.” He then kneels down and kisses her cheek.

“Love you, too.”

“See you in the morning.”

“Yeah, sure.” She then buries her head in the pillow as he lets out a sigh, leaving the room. Taking one last glance in the room, he closes the door and then leans against the wall, shaking his head.

“I take it you got through to her?” A voice cuts his thoughts off and he opens his eyes, seeing Kyle standing there before him.

“Easy Kyle…” Tony warns as he joins Kyle at the top of the stairs.

“Yeah, I found out what was on her mind,” Dale comments as he closes his eyes, wanting to erase the words he heard in the garage out of his mind.

“And what did she have to say? What’s been going on?”

“Everything has gotten to be too much for her. She doesn’t want to keep working at it because she says there’s no reason to when things always keep falling apart.” He then opens his eyes, facing the pair of people before him. “It’s a good thing that I went there.” He then throws the bottle that he had put in his pocket after dumping it at the pair of them and Tony catches it, eyes opening in shock.


“Yeah, she was going to.”

“I’m calling Caroline in the morning. We need to do something about this. She can’t be doing this, Dale.” Dale shakes his head understanding as he already had plans himself to take care of it.

“I’ll stay with her and take care of her,” Kyle tells them before entering the bedsroom.

“Are you okay?” Tony asks Dale and Dale shakes his head yes.

“It just hurt seeing her like that, Tony,” he tells him honestly.

“I understand.” Tony then closes the gap between them, holding Dale close to him. “But she’ll be okay.”

“I know she’ll be okay. I’m not letting her give-up. I’m going to do whatever it takes. She’s come too far to give up.”

“We’re both going to do whatever it takes.” The pair of them then walk down the hall to their room.

Chapter 65: Morning
“Good morning,” Lindsay says as she walks into the kitchen. “Chelsea is off to school.” The pair in the kitchen shake their heads in approval.

“I called Caroline,” Dale starts as he takes a deep breath. “I told her what happened last night and she said she wants to see Angelica this morning.”

“Did she say anything else?” Tony asks as he sets a plate with bacon and eggs down in front of Dale, before sitting beside him.

“She’s concerned as we are and has some ideas.” Lindsay then sits down, curious.

“What ideas?” Lindsay questions as Dale starts to eat. “How do you convince someone that is willing to give up to change? How do you make them feel better?” Tony shrugs his shoulders.

“You just got to be hopeful around them, I guess,” Tony comments as he looks up from his plate at Dale. “Are you okay?” Dale shakes his head yes.

“She scared the bloody crap out of me last night,” Dale starts. “I couldn’t believe what she was saying or doing. I didn’t know what to do. She’s always been the strong person, ready to take down whatever. To see her cave like that, it was surprising and it scared me.” He then lets out a sigh as he starts to eat. “Caroline says there’s some options and things to try. We can try to work with her to convince her otherwise or she may have to go in for psychiatric treatment. That’s why Caroline wants to see her this morning and talk to me more about what happened.”

“Do you want us to go with you?” Lindsay asks and Dale shakes his head yes. “Okay, we’ll go with you.”

“Are you sure it’s okay with your schedule, Tony? If you can’t take the day off, I’d understa-”

“It’s fine,” Tony cuts him off. “This matters more than anything else. I’ll call Zippy and Gene and let them know that something came up. That’s all.”

“Okay,” Dale says quietly as he continues eating.

“Has she come down yet?” Lindsay wonders and Dale shakes his head no.

“Kyle’s with her so she’s alright.”

“What happened to all those positive thoughts that she had of being in love with Kyle and racing next year and a family?” Tony asks. “I can’t grasp all this. It’s not like her at all.”

“Guess it finally became too much for her,” Dale comments. “Everybody can only handle so much.”

“And you’re sure you’re okay?” Lindsay asks as she puts a hand on top of Dale’s.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Dale then stands up and puts his plate in the sink. “Thanks for breakfast.”

“No problem,” Tony comments as he keeps his eyes focused on Dale. Lindsay watches Dale leave the room before plopping down in front of Tony.

“What do you think?” Lindsay questions, surprising Tony. “What’s going through his mind? You could always read him better than I could. Should we be worried?” Tony shakes his head no as he watches Dale walk down the hall and head upstairs.

“He’ll be fine once his daughter is okay. They’ve both been through a lot but as long as she’s okay, they’ll both be fine. Trust me, Linds.” Lindsay shakes her head as she walks away.


Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 56 Thru 60


Chapter 56: The Results

“I can happily say that everything has been worth it,” the doctor tells her as faces of optimism and happiness begin to appear across the room.

“Is it all gone?” Angelica asks, hoping for the best answer that she could receive ever. The doctor shakes his head yes as the smile on her face grows. She looks towards Kyle, instantly wrapping her arms around him and kissing his lips.

“The scans showed no trace of cancer so you’ve done it. Congratulations.”

“Thank you for the good news.” She then wipes the couple of tears that have formed in her eyes away as she towards her dad with a smile on her face. Seeing no movement in him, she gets out of the bed and walks over to where he stands by the window. “You okay?” He shakes his head yes as he looks at her.

“I just can’t believe that it’s over,” he comments before pulling her into a hug and kissing her cheek. “I love you. You’re amazing.”

“Well, it’s not quite over yet,” the doctor then continues, causing Angelica and Dale to face him, fear and shock written over their faces.

“What do you mean?”

“She still has to work at growing her strength with everything that has happened and that will take time. Till that happens, you’re suggested to take it easy.” She shakes her head yes, agreeing. She was fine with doing that in knowing that everything would be okay.

“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of her,” Kyle assures the doctor.

“Also, I understand that we’re having some diet issues, correct?” Angelica shakes her head yes as she looks towards Tony, remembering his earlier pleads.

“I just haven’t felt like eating,” she answers truthfully.

“That’s normal,” the doctor comments as Dale keeps his arms wrapped around Angelica.

“But it can’t be good for her, though,” Dale says and the doctor shakes his head yes.

“You’re right about that. With chemotherapy, it causes the body to slow down to try to help itself – hence the lack of strength that we’re seeing. In the process, it can sometimes cause the person to be anorexic.”

“Will that improve with me getting better and being done treatment?” Angelica wonders out loud as the doctor thinks it over.

“In some patients it does, while in others it doesn’t,” the doctor starts. “That’s why I am arranging that you meet up with Christine Bentley, who is a dietitian here at the hospital. With her, you can work on continuing to get better, improving your eating habits and talking about things.” Angelica shakes her head accepting as she goes back over and sits on the bed.

“We’re all be there for you,” Kyle assures her as he kisses her shoulder. “I’ll be there for you.” He then kisses her cheek.

“Thank you for the news,” Dale says as he keeps his eyes focused on Angelica.

“You’re free to go,” the doctor tells her. “Your appointment is set up for tomorrow at 1 with Christine.” The doctor then leaves the room as everybody focuses their eyes on Angelica.

“I did it,” Angelica says simply as she gets up off the bed, smile planted on her face. “I can’t believe it but I did it.”

“We knew you would,” Kyle says as they walk out of the room together. “I told you that you could do it.”

“Now will you eat this?” Tony asks as he holds her a package of crackers and cheese.

“He’s not going to smile or hug you till you do,” Dale adds as Tony tries to hide his smile. He was happy that the treatment had worked, though also was sticking to his guns of helping her continue to get better and fight everything.

“Please?” She then grabs it from his hands at they step into the elevator and opens it.

“Happy?” Tony shakes his head yes as he lets the smile show through.

“I knew you couldn’t hide that smile much longer,” Angelica comments as she takes a bite of the cracker before hugging Tony.

“I’m glad you’re going to be okay kid,” he replies as he kisses the top of her head. “Now I suggest you eat when you’re told.” She rolls her eyes as she gets out of the elevator. “I mean it!”

“Now that you’re free, what do you want to do?” Kyle asks as they walk outside. A smile comes to Angelica’s face immediately as they get in the car. “I have a bad feeling about this guys.”

“Can we stop by Matt’s house?” Angelica asks and Dale shakes his head yes. If it wasn’t for Matt, they wouldn’t had done this and no doubt he deserved his thanks. “I want to let him know the news.”

“Let’s go see Matt and his trouble makers.”

“Are you eating those crackers?” Tony asks as they pull out of the parking lot. She then holds up the package, smiling.

“Got plans after we see Matt?” Kyle then asks and Angelica smiles. “Should I be scared of these plans?” She shakes her head yes.

“Angelica….” Dale starts as Angelica smiles.

“Yes Daddy?” She asks.

“What are you thinking?” She then winks at Tony and Tony just smiles.

“Don’t worry about it – I’ve got this handled,” Tony comments as Kyle looks towards him confused.

“Love you Smoke,” she says as she reaches over the seat and kisses his cheek. “Trust me Dad – this will be fine.”

“Las time you said that, you scared the crap out of me,” Dale comments as she laughs. “But if Tony knows what’s going on then I trust you.”

“Thank you.” She then looks over at Kyle. “Then we can have the night to ourselves. I think this calls for a special celebration together.”

“Just as long as you take care of yourself and get back to the tough strength filled chica that we know,” Kyle replies before kissing her lips. “I love you.”

“Love you too.” She then lies her head on his shoulder as they continue the drive to Matt’s house.


Chapter 57: Seeing Matt

After a short drive, they had arrived at Matt’s house. As instructed, Matt had joined Angelica on the front porch. She loved Katie and the girls, but she wanted to tell this news to Matt herself.

It was Matt that had suggested the idea. It was Matt that convinced her to go through with the idea. For what it was worth, she had Matt to thank for the life that she now had.

“So what’s up?” Matt asks as he sits on the bench, facing Angelica. She smiles as she thinks about the best way to tell Matt the news that she had just been told minutes prior.

“I have some news for you,” she starts as she looks up to meet his gaze. “I went to see the doctor this morning and they did some new scans to see how progress was. I got the results back already.” Matt felt the butterflies immediately begin to flutter in his stomach as he thought about those words.

“What did the doctor say? Angelica…” She then lets the smile come out and full force as she thinks about the best way to reveal this news to Matt.

“Take a guess.” She then sits back, smile planted on her face as she was seeing a fresh side on things with the news that she had received that morning. “How do you think it went?” Noticing the smile on her face, he knew that it had be good news as he let a smile cross his face.

“You’re in the clear?” She shakes her head yes as she reaches out and hugs him.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you.” She then pulls into a tighter hug as he wraps both his arms around her happy. There were so many thoughts as to whether it would work out. With her there now, saying the words, it sent a feeling of shock through him as in disbelief. She then backs up, smile still firmly planted on her face. “I owe everything to you, Matt.” She then slowly stands up, knowing that she has to get to part two of her plan for the day.

“You don’t owe me anything, Angelica. As long as you live the life that you deserve then I’ll be happy.” She smiles as she remembers the discussion that they had before on life choices and the chance to do whatever she wanted.

“That’s what I plan on doing.”

“That’s great.” He stands up as he looks towards, seeing the happy bunch of men. “So do you plan on fulfilling the first thing that you said you wanted to do once you were in the clear?” Angelica shakes her head yes as Matt looks at her with a worried smile. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” She shakes her head yes as Matt stands there nervous. He hoped that they all knew what they were doing. She then starts down the steps, glancing back at Matt with a smile on her face.

“Wanna join us? I’d like you to be there as you were a big part in this. It’d mean a lot to me.”

“Let me go tell Katie and I’ll make my way over there.”

“Awesome.” Matt then heads inside as she makes her way down the steps and gets back in the car.

“Ready to go?” Tony asks and Angelica shakes her head yes, knowing the plan in mind as she texts Kasey. He had helped her put together her midget program and was the driving force behind Chelsea’s midget program that was to start next month. She knew that he was the perfect person to get involved in this plan as well.

“Yep,” she answers as they head out.

“Now where are we going?” Dale asks as Tony heads down one of the back roads. “Tony?”

“What do you have up your sleeve?” Kyle asks as he looks towards Angelica.

“Just wait and see,” she answers. “Tony, did you giv-”

“It’s done,” he cuts her off as a smile comes to her face. Everything was in place.

“Thank you Smoke.”

“Can you tell us now?” Kyle asks and Angelica shakes her head no. “So this is going to remain a secret till we get there?” She shakes her head yes.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Dale asks. “Are you sure this is a good idea? Are you su-”

“Just trust us, please,” Tony cuts him off as he heads down another road.


Chapter 58: A Surprise

Tony pulls into Rockingham Speedway as Angelica smiles stays firmly on her face while Dale looks back at her concerned. What was she doing?

“Trust me,” she tells him as she pats his arm while Tony drives through the infield. “I’ve got this under control. I know what I am doing.” Tony then stops the car and everyone glances around to see other cars in the parking lot. “Perfect.”

“What are we doing here?” Kyle asks as they get out of the car.

“Trust me.”

“I’m getting sick of those words,” Dale comments as he looks over the roof at Angelica. “What’s going on?”

“Get ready for her two favorite words,” Kyle warns as Angelica sticks her tongue out.

“Trust us,” Tony speaks up as they walk towards the building and inside.

“What are we doing here?” Dale asks as they walk down the short hallway.

“Angelica has called some ‘friends’ to join us for a special announcement.”

“Like I said – trust me,” Angelica adds as Dale stops frozen in the hallway.

“What type of announcement?” He asks as Angelica turns to face him. “Angelica?”

“Please go inside and take your seat at the front of the room – all three of you.”


“Trust me.”

“When are we going to find out why we’re here?” Kyle wonders as Angelica begins walking in the prepared direction.

“Give me 10 minutes and you’ll find out,” she states.

“Why 10 minutes? Why not right now?”

“Because that’s how this is going to work.”

“Let’s go guys,” Tony interrupts them, grabbing both Dale and Kyle’s arms, leading them through the doors. They go to their seats as both Dale and Kyle glance behind them, surprised at the faces that they see in the room.

“Do you know the full plan that she has up her sleeve?” Dale asks and Tony shakes his head yes as Kasey enters the room and sits beside them. “And you know also?”

“Know what?” Kasey asks as he glances over at Dale.

“Angelica hasn’t told these two yet what’s going on today,” Tony answers as Kasey smiles.

“I don’t like that smile,” Dale comments as Kasey just shakes his head. “Please tell me this is a good idea.”

“This is a good idea.”

“For some odd reason, I’m trusting you today.”

“Good because you won’t regret it.”

Tony knew what Angelica had in store was going to be great. SHR had a full house with Tony, Kyle, Danica and Kevin Harvick while HMS was full with Dale, Jimmie, Kasey and Chase. This seemed like the best option going. Though, that was only just a part of the surprise that was about to happen.

Tony’s smile grows as he watches Kelley walk in and join them.

“She ready to go?” She asks and Tony shakes his head yes as Kelley glances down at her brother, smiling. She then turns back to Tony. “You haven’t told him yet?” Tony shakes his head no. “Do you honestly think this is the best idea?”

“It’s the only option we have if she wants this to work,” Tony starts. “If he knew what she had coming today, you know shit would fly. This way, you have the team that you believe you can have and she has what she needs.” Tony glances at Dale before returning his eyes to Kelley. “Once it’s announced, he won’t have any option. Plus, you asked him the other day about doing this and he said he was open to it if the sponsorship and people were there. Both are there so there’s no issue.” Kelley smiles as she sits back in her seat nervous as they watch the door open and Angelica walks in, changed into a nice light blue dress and clear shoes.

“Damn…” Kyle comments as he takes in her appearance.

“Love you,” Angelica simply says as she walks by Kyle. She then walks to the stage, standing before the assembled crowd. She then looks down to her VIP person section, noticing everybody is there that needs to be there – Dale, Kyle, Tony, Lindsay, Kasey, Chelsea, Kelley, L.W., Karsyn, Kennedy, Wyatt, Matt, Katie, Gracie, Kaylin, Rick, Linda, Ron Malec and a couple others.


Chapter 59: Her Announcement

“Hello everyone,” she says as she stands before the crowd at the podium. “I would like to thank you for being here today and listening to what I have to say. I know this was put together with short notice as per my request so it means a lot that you’re here. I first off want to thank Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne for helping me put this together. I have a lot to cover today so let’s get started.”

She then clears her throat, smiling forming on her face as she thinks about the news from that morning. She had told the people that deserved to know first, so now it was a given right to tell the world. Nothing would make sense without revealing it to them.

“I want to start off the day by stating the best news that I have received in a long time,” she spoke before the crowd that April afternoon. “I am happy to report that after discussions with my doctor this morning, the treatment was a success. The cancer is fully out of my system and I am free to go. I do have to keep tabs with doctors to make sure that we don’t have anything pop up, but we could say that it’s a success without worries.”

She then looks back towards her group, smile firmly planted on her face as she locks eyes with Matt. Their discussion from January stuck in her mind as she thought about the words that she said to him that day. Turning back to the crowd of media before her, she knew that she was doing the right thing.

“Earlier this year, I told someone that means a lot to me that I knew I had to fight for the life that I wanted,” she starts as she turns her eyes to Matt briefly, before turning back to the majority to the crowd. “I told them that I wanted to beat this to be able to have that life that I wanted. Whether that life included racing or not, whether that life was traveling or raising a family – I had to give myself the chance to live it.

“My motto through all of this is you have to take each moment that you have on this planet as your last moment. You can’t take anything for guaranteed. You have to live every moment as if it’s your last, doing whatever you can to fulfill whatever you dream have.” She then looks towards Lindsay with a smile on her face. “Sometimes you have to take those things that they tell you can’t do and try to beat them. Even if someone says you can’t do this, maybe you can; you just need to find that way that’s out there.” Lindsay smiles as she looks down, remembering that discussion that they had a couple weeks ago as Angelica turns back to the crowd. “Always live your life the best way you know how. The motto is – use every moment to make memories for those around you. Make memories that will last a lifetime because you never know when your last moment is here.

“With that said, having a second chance to live my life, I took into thought majorly how I wanted to live that life and that’s why I stand before you. I debated not coming back and racing again. It was a thought. However, I learned something and that lesson came courtesy of my young cousin Wyatt in the form of a trip to the dirt track. Racing is in my blood and no matter what I do, I can’t run away from it. I need it as much as life itself. The feeling of being behind the wheel is second to none. With that said, I’ve called you here to make a thrilling announcement.

“When I thought about coming racing, I knew my options were limited. Hendrick is full thanks to Chase Elliott, my dad, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne. I then turned to my previous boss, Tony Stewart, though realized he filled that house up with my hubby Kyle, himself, Danica and Kevin. Now, I could kick my hubby out since that was originally my ride and team, but I can’t do that to him. Kyle has done so much for me beyond words that I can speak to you that I’d feel terrible for that.”

Kyle smiles as he thinks over those words, though looks at Tony confused as to where Angelica is going with her announcement. Dale also joins in the confused look as he wonders what plan she has thought of.

“About a month ago, I found myself in a meeting with my dad and Aunt Kelley at JR Motorsports,” Angelica smiles as she glance over at her dad. “They were talking about starting up a Sprint Cup team. Though dad stated a key requirement – he wanted a driver that he knew could win, a crew chief that knew what they were doing and sponsorship. Well, let’s just say that I spoke to Kelley and we came up with a plan. I then turned to Rick Hendrick and he agreed to supply chassis and motors.” Dale then looks over at Kelley surprised as Kelley just smiles back.

“What did you do?” Dale questions as Kelley’s smile widens.

“You listed some requirements and you have always said that I need to take a role in making decisions without requiring your input every day,” Kelley whispers. “This is my first decision and you can’t argue because she fulfilled your requests beautifully.” Dale then turns his eyes back to his daughter.

“My first start will come next year at the Daytona 500,” Angelica continues as she looks at the crowd. “And I’m pleased to announce that we have chosen a car number and have a sponsor. I will be going with my original 25 that I have always ran.” Rick smiles as he remembers when she put the number on her legend having used it throughout the years for sports in school. “I am also pleased to announce that Tesla’s Beauty Clique will be sponsoring the car. Tesla Williams is a brand new clothing designer and make-up designer that is launching her line next week. The dress that I am wearing, as well as the make-up, is part of her collection. I want to thank Tesla for sponsoring me, as well as for this beautiful dress. Without further ado, please welcome Tesla Williams to the stage.”

Everyone then claps as a tall girl with long brown hair makes her way to the stage and stands by the car that is covered by a grey sheet.

“Part one complete,” Kelley whispers as Dale rolls his eyes. How did they do this under his nose?

“At the end of my series of announcements, everybody involved will be allowed to comment and answer questions for you because I know you have some,” Angelica speaks up. “Now with team, sponsor and car number locked down – there was one piece missing. I needed to find that perfect crew chief. Kelley laid out some good options, but I shook my head at them. If I was going to make a comeback, there was only one person that I was doing it with.” She then glances towards Tony and Kyle with a smile on her face. “This took some careful steps because I didn’t want to reveal to Kyle what I had planned. I met with Tony in private and discussed options. He told me that he would try his best to make it work. He was able to get in contact with Jimmy Elledge, who has previously worked with Kyle. The pair got along really well and Tony thought pairing Kyle with Jimmy could produce some serious success. Luckily, it worked out as to that Jimmy agreed, Tony agreed, and Kyle, well, we kept this secret from him.”

She then takes a deep breath as she looks over at Kyle. She knew this was the big moment.

“You told me when I wanted that I could have my team back,” she starts. “Well, I’m holding you to your word, but also not leaving you stranded. Ron came to you and said that he was leaving SHR without stating more terms because of what Tony and I had worked out. I’m glad that you accepted Jimmy Elledge for next year and I look forward to battling you for the championship.”

Kyle smiles and shakes his head, now realizing that all the meetings made sense. She was right though as he didn’t mind being paired with Jimmy and he knew that could equal huge success. It also kept it in the family given the relationships across the board.

“So without further ado, please welcome my crew chief for next year to the front of the room – Ron Malec,” she announces as Ron stands up from the group and joins Tesla by the car.

It felt good to get everything out in the open as he hated having to keep things secret from everyone. As he caught Angelica’s eyes, he couldn’t help but think back to last season when they won the championship together. He knew they could repeat that success if they found that old magic that they had together.

“Part two complete,” Kelley whispers as she looks over at her brother. “Are you willing to accept doing a Cup team now?” Dale shakes his head yes as he smiles.

“I can’t believe you hid this from me though,” Dale adds as Kelley laughs.

“You can blame your daughter. She wanted this to be a surprise.”

“Welcome back Ronnie,” Angelica says as she locks eyes with Ron before returning to face the crowd. “With the help of Tony, we took one of the SHR showcars to wrap up with the paint scheme for next year. Like I said, this took a lot of work to put together. So without any more fancy words from me, why don’t we display my favourite new car?”

She then walks over to the car and looks towards Ron and Tesla. The three of them then pull the sheet back slowly, revealing a bright pink No. 25 Tesla Beauty Clique Camaro underneath. Rick smiled immediately as he notice the small silver stars amongst the pink, realizing that it matched that of her Legend car. They then pose for photos together as Angelica motions for Dale and Kelley to join her. They then join her as the flash bulbs go off, taking photos of the car.

“Are you okay with this?” Angelica whispers to her dad as they pose for photos.

“You’re amazing to put this together yourself,” Dale whispers in return. “But I have no reason to be mad at you. It’s amazing.” He then kisses her cheek.

“I love you. Thank you for being the most amazing dad ever.” She then walks over to the podium as Ron, Tesla, Dale and Kelley take their seats. “Okay, now that we’ve gotten the biggest surprise out of the way, let’s reveal the rest of my plans.”


Chapter 60: Her Announcement Part 2

“To go with my return to the Sprint Cup Series, we’re going to do a special promotion,” Angelica continues as she stands there, facing the crowd. As she gets ready to speak of the promotion, Kelley just smiles as she remembers discussing the plans for doing this. “That beautiful bright pink sparkly paint scheme that you saw there will not be running in the Daytona 500. Instead, we have another special surprise.

“Given the fight that I went through, I wanted to give back and help inspire others, while raising money knowing from experience myself. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about showing love for each other. To show love, you use your heart and for your heart to live, you need lungs. In part of a cross-promotion, the No. 25 Tesla Beauty Clique Camaro will be going red for Daytona Speedweeks with a special hood. The hood and full red paint scheme will be unveiled in Speedweeks. It is meant to honor those battling heart and lung diseases, while raising money.

“Tesla Williams have graciously stepped up to the plate and will be donating 25% of her sales during the Speedweeks time period towards research for treatment of lung cancer. On top of that, we’ve teamed up with Lionel Racing and 25% of proceeds from sales of the diecast will also go towards research. Lastly, special t-shirts will be done up via JR Motorsports to also help collect donations. Once we have a total at the end of the month of February, I will take that total and double it using my own money and present it to three different foundations that I choose at that time.”

Angelica feels tears threaten to fall as she clears her throat. She glances over at her support group, seeing the mixed emotions on their faces. Everybody looks happy about the idea, though she notices the tears in the eyes of some.

“I know the pain that someone goes through,” she starts. “I know the battles those diagnosed faced. After going through the experience myself, I knew that I had to do something to help improve it for other people.”

“Did you know about this?” Dale whispers and Kelley shakes her head yes.

“It was all her idea,” Kelley replies. “She thought of it and went forth with asking permission from everybody to do it.”

“My mother died due to lung cancer so I can relate to what she has been through and when she asked, there was no second guessing doing something to help,” Tesla explains as both Dale and Kelley smile.

“Thank you for sponsoring her and thank you for helping in this promotion. I look forward to working with you and bringing you success on track.” Dale then sits back as he watches Angelica get set for another announcement that she had up her sleeve. “I can’t believe that she’s my daughter.”

“You raised an angel,” Rick comments from his seat behind Dale as he pats Dale on the shoulder.

“I owe you huge for your help,” Dale replies. “I couldn’t had done it without you and Linda.”

“I told you I’d always be there for you and I was glad to help. I’m just glad that everything has worked out for her in every respect.”

“Alright, I got my notes in order,” Angelica breaks the silence in the room as all eyes draw back on her. “This is what happens when I’m excited, nervous and pulling a whole bunch of things together at once.” She then glances over at her family, smile on her face. “Family means the world to me. I was given the opportunity to grow as a racer thanks to Rick Hendrick and Kasey Kahne. For that, I am ready to give back in that respect and help the next generation of racers in our family.

“Karsyn, you’re amazing darling and I look forward to being your sort of unofficial teammate at JR Motorsports. You’re amazing racecar driver and I was proud to say that you’re my cousin when you won your first Nationwide Series race at Atlanta.

“Kennedy, you’ve also grown into an amazing racer. As I was standing with you at Millbridge earlier this year, I couldn’t think of how well you handled that night. From the struggles to working it out to finishing upfront, that showed the trade of a good racer.”

She then motions for Kasey Kahne to join her on stage as Kelley looks towards L.W., Jimmy and Dale with a simple smile on her face. She knew that Kennedy was in for a surprise. Angelica had spoken to Kelley about this a couple weeks ago in asking for a mother’s permission.

“In partnership with Kasey Kahne Racing, I am starting my own sprint team underneath the JR Motorsports banner,” Angelica reveals as Dale’s eyes open in shock as he glances at Kelley before returning his eyes back to his daughter. “The sprint team will be solely my project and ran by myself and my husband Kyle Larson.” Kyle smiles as he stands up and walks to the front, remembering the discussion with Angelica three weeks ago. No matter what happens with her, there were plans to put this team together. “KKR will be supplying chassis and motors, as well as having a technical alliance to help myself and Kyle get up off the ground.

“Kyle will be racing some races in the car when he isn’t running Sprint Cup Series races. Though beyond that, we’re kicking off a quarter midget team.” Angelica then looks over to the little ones of the family as a big smile forms on Chelsea’s face.

“It gives us both great honor to announce that we’ll be running a three-car team,” Kyle continues as Angelica keeps her eyes focused on the three kids. “Kennedy Elledge, Wyatt Miller and Chelsea Earnhardt – congratulations kiddos. Kyle is going to teach you how to race while Angelica is boss!” The three kids look at each other shocked, face their parents shocked before looking at Angelica, Kyle and Kasey shocked. Wyatt is the first one to stand up and walk to the front, standing before Angelica.

“I’m going to race for you?” Wyatt asks and Angelica shakes her head yes. “You’re going to own my car?” Angelica shakes her head yes once again with a smile on her face. “Yay!” The little boy hugs her tightly as Angelica hugs him back.

“Do you want to see your car?” Angelica asks and Wyatt shakes his head yes excited. “Kasey, shall we unveil them?” Kasey shakes his head yes. They then walk over to the big tarp, pulling it off to reveal three quarter midgets.

Kennedy smiles immediately as she sees the No. 8 quarter midget done up to look identical to her boxstock car. She then thanks both Angelica and Kyle as she checks it out.

“Do you know which is yours?” Angelica asks Wyatt and he shakes his head yes as he sets his eyes on the No. 31 quarter midget. It was interesting number choice, though the young child had his reasons. When he started watching tapes of sprint races with L.W. and Jimmy, he immediately fell in love with the number. When he wanted the number on his car, it brought a tear to Jimmy’s eye as he remembered working with Jason Leftler in the Nationwide Series using the same number.

“This one is mine?” Chelsea then questions and Kyle shakes his head yes. The four-year-old walks around the car a couple times, smile forming on her face. Angelica had chosen the No. 25 for the car and did a paint scheme to match that of her Sprint Cup racecar, which in return matched her Legend.

“Remember how you said that you wanted to drive my Legend?” Chelsea shakes her head yes. “Well, you can’t drive it quite yet but I thought that if you had a car identical to it that you’d love it.”

“I do love it!” Chelsea then wraps both arms around her older sister. “Thanks sissy.”

As the family stood together posing for photos and talking, everything seemed perfect in the world. Taking a deep breath, Angelica knew if she finished off the final battle of road to recovery that she’d finally get the life that she had dreamed of for a long time.

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 51 Thru 55


Chapter 51: Visits Upon Visits

Dale peeks into Steve’s office, smile locked on his face as Steve looks up from his meeting with Chad, Alan (who was now crew chief for Chase Elliott) and Kenny.

“Who’s there?” Chad asks as he notices the direction that Steve is focused on. He then looks back to see Dale standing there, smiling.

“You never come to my office unless you have something important to say so speak,” Steve instructs as Dale laughs, walking into the office. “What do I owe this honor to?” Dale then drops a piece of paper on Steve’s desk as Steve reads it, also now smiling.

“You’re cleared for Atlanta?” Kenny asks and Dale shakes his head yes. “Welcome back hot shot.”

“Thanks,” Dale says as he leans against Steve’s desk. “Looking forward to kicking some butt this weekend?” Steve shakes his head yes as Kenny kicks back a bit.

“That’s if you two can catch Kasey. If he is anywhere close to where he was last year, it’s gonna be a wonderful day.”

“Bring it on as we’re ready to get back to winning,” Steve comments as he hands Dale back the piece of paper.

“Have you told Tony yet?” Kenny asks and Dale shakes his head yes. Tony was the first person that he called once he received the news. “And let me guess – you have a very happy boyfriend?” The smile widens on Dale’s face as he shakes his head yes once again.

“He said that he missed racing with me each week and it wasn’t the same,” Dale comments as Kenny just shakes his head in disbelief.

“Of course, because there’s probably rewards when he beats you right?” Kenny then ducks as Dale goes to smack him. “Hey! I was just stating the truth. When is that a crime? You know it’s true; it’s okay to admit it.”

“Watch your back because I’ll be getting you back for this one. I’ll see you later, Steve.” Steve shakes his head yes as he watches Dale leave the office and the crew chiefs return back to their meeting.


Kyle walks up to Angelica, handing her a glass of gingerale before sitting in the chair beside her.

“Is it okay?” Kyle asks as he watches her take a sip and she shakes her head yes. “I didn’t know how much ice to put in it.”

“You put enough,” she informs him as she continues to sip on it. She then sets the glass on the table beside her before lying back and letting out a sigh.

“Are you okay?” Angelica shakes her head yes as Kyle grabs her hand with his own.

“I just want this over with. I don’t want to deal with this any longer.” Kyle shakes his head understanding as he rubs her hand.

“I know how you feel, but it’ll be worth it in the end. You just have to be patient and deal with it. I believe in you, your family believes in you, your friends believe in you so now it’s time for you to believe in yourself.” She smiles as she closes her eyes.

“I do, but it’s just hard at times. Going through it all, it takes its toll on you.” Kyle shakes his head, understanding once again, as he glances over to see her sleeping. He then stands up, reaching over and kissing her cheek.

“Love you sweetheart. Everything will be okay. I’m not going anywhere.” He then sits back in the chair as he puts his feet up. “Please let my words be true. I’m not ready to let my angel go.”


“What are you doing?” Tony asks as he looks over Lindsay’s shoulder while she’s on the computer. She then smiles as she looks back at him, before resuming what she was doing. He watches the websites as she looks at them, quickly realizing what she is looking up.

“I can’t let it go…” Lindsay comments, surprising Tony. “I still can’t believe the words that I heard that day.” Tony knows immediately what she means as he rubs her shoulders. It was no doubt in any of their minds that she was still upset about the news about not being able to get pregnant again. “How do you let that sink in? How do you accept that?” She then flips to another website. “I just figured looking some things up it would make it easier to accept.”

“Give it time, Lindsay.” She then looks over her shoulder, looking into Tony’s eyes.

“How much time?” He then reaches down, kissing her cheek as he continues to rub her shoulder. “It’s been three weeks and it still hurts like it did in Daytona. What will change that feeling? What will make it okay?”

“You’ll find your way to feeling better about the news, Lindsay. Just give it time.”

“I’m sick of waiting.”

“Then let the pain go and stop burying it inside.” He then walks away, going to check on the roast that was cooking for dinner that night. “Once you let it go, you’ll feel better.”


Chapter 52: Hotlanta

“Ready to get back to driving?” Steve asks as he glances at his driver before the first practice.

“Of course,” Dale answers with a smile on his face.

“Just double checking.”

“You don’t need to do that, Steve.” Dale then puts both legs in the car, sitting on the edge as he watches Tony walk by and give him a smirk. “Watch that sexy ass Smoke!” Tony then stops and glances into the garage stall, smile showing immediately.

“Why is that Earnhardt?” Tony questions as Dale just smiles.

“Because someone may come up behind and pinch it.”

“Oh please. Nobody wants me – all the girls want you.”

“Can you please not distract my driver?” Steve interrupts them as they both laugh. Steve then walks over to the side of the car. “You’re as bad as a pair of toddlers. Don’t you have work to do Tony?”

“Yeah – aren’t you supposed to be making laps right now instead of showing off your ass?” Dale adds as he watches Delana sneak up behind Tony and pinch his butt. Tony jumps and spins around, shock written over his face as Dale and Steve both laugh. “Told you to watch your ass.”

“Better watch yours cause its next on the list if Kevin doesn’t run good this weekend,” Delana advises Dale as Dale looks at her surprised. She knew of their game together, but never thought he’d get roped in.

“Don’t you have a husband to bug instead of my driver?” Steve questions as Danica looks towards him surprised. “I was trying to get him to get his ass back to work this weekend.”

“Are you turning into Chad Knaus, Steve?” Tony questions as both Dale and Delana laugh.

“Are you feeling okay?” Delana adds as Steve rolls his eyes.

“Tony get to work and Delana, go find your son and husband,” Steve instructs as Tony just rolls his eyes.

“See ya later prince,” he says to Dale before continuing to walk down the garage area.
“Now can we get started with this weekend?” Dale shakes his head yes. “Finally.”

“Are you sure you’re feeling okay?” Dale questions with a smirk on his face. He laughs as Steve walks away and then slips into the car, ready for practice.


“Are you sure you’re feeling okay?” Kelley asks as she walks into the spare bedsroom, checking on Angelica. While Lindsay and Chelsea joined the boys in Atlanta, Angelica was staying at Kelley and L.W.’s place so they could both take care of her.

“I’m fine Kel,” Angelica tells Kelley for what seems like the millionth time already in the day. She knew she’d be annoyed if Kelley was like this the whole weekend. “Shouldn’t you be in Atlanta?” For Angelica, she was surprised that Kelley wasn’t in Atlanta with her oldest daughter Karsyn. This year marked Karsyn’s first year in the Nationwide Series after winning the championship last year in the trucks. Kelley seemed like the type that’d be there for each of her daughter’s races so this surprised her.

“Jimmy (Elledge, Karsyn’s father), your father, Tony, Lindsay, Tony Jr., T.J – everybody that needs to be in Atlanta with her is with her. I have two other darlings to take care of, each with dirt races of their own on Saturday night.” Kelley, of course, was referring to both Kennedy and Wyatt. The pair had taken the racing trade into their hands as well and were both successful in their own right. It wouldn’t surprise anybody if they weren’t racing in the top tier NASCAR ranks in the next couple of years.

Angelica shook her head understanding as she hadn’t thought about that originally. She wondered what would happen when Chelsea began racing for KKR next year in the quarter midgets. Would Lindsay go to Chelsea’s events or stay with Dale? What races would Tony and Dale be able to see within their own schedules? How would responsibility be sorted there?

“Can I come with you on Saturday to watch them?” Angelica asks as Kelley goes to leave the room. “It’s been forever since I’ve hit up the dirt track.” Kelley shakes her head yes, smiling. That had been the plan anyway as she knew that Angelica needed her racing fix as well.

“Call me if you need anythi-” Kelley starts.

“I’m fine Kelley!” Kelley just rolls her eyes as she heads down the stairs to check on the kids. There was no questioning who Angelica’s father was.


Dale shakes his head as he looks up at the scoring pylon, seeing that he had qualified 23rd. That was nowhere near where he wanted to be at this point.

“You can make your way through the field easy here babes,” he hears as he feels arms rap around him, recognizing the voice immediately. “Qualifying doesn’t matter here. Stevie and you will figure the car out. I have belief in you.”

“I hope you’re right Smoke,” Dale comments as he glances back and gives Tony a quick kiss.

“I know I’m right.” Tony then walks away to go meet up with his crew chief.


Chapter 53: Hotlanta Success

Lindsay, Chelsea, Dale and Tony sat on the pit box with Tony Jr. and Karsyn’s team watching the Nationwide Series race together. They each wanted to see how well she would do given that Atlanta was one of her best tracks. The year before, it was the sight of her first truck win. They were hoping that history would repeat itself.

“She’s doing pretty well,” Lindsay comments as she watches Karsyn make a pass on Kevin Harvick for fourth. She had come off pit road in the sixth position with 30 laps to go.

“She just may have the right set-up under it to win,” Dale adds as he looks to the front of the field to see it’s the Kyle-and-Kyle show with Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch. If Karsyn couldn’t win the race, then he was all for Larson picking the win to make Angelica happy.

“Come on Karsyn!” Dale then turns his eyes back to Karsyn, watching her move into third with a pass on Sam Hornish Jr. “Two more spots….20 laps…”

“She’s going to catch them before it is over,” Tony comments as he looks over Tony Jr.’s shoulder at the lap times.

“The question is – will they all stay out of trouble?” Dale questions as he points to the pair of leaders, noticing how hard they are racing each other.

“She’ll past them both so she doesn’t have to worry about it,” Lindsay points out as Karsyn began to close the gap between herself and the pair of Kyles.

“She’s there,” Tony announces, five laps later, as Karsyn is riding in third right behind Larson and Busch. “She just has to play it smart.”

“She’s got a quicker car than both of them,” Dale adds as he sits there nervously.

With 10 laps to go, Busch got alongside Larson once again and grabbed the lead down the backstretch. Karsyn used it to her advantage as she got under Larson heading into turn three and came off the corner ahead in second spot.

“And Kelley said she’d be fine with missing this race…” Tony comments as he looks towards Dale, knowing that Karsyn had a good chance to win it with nine laps to go. “She’s gonna get herself a win.”

“Don’t. Jinx. It,” Karsyn’s father Jimmy then speaks up as he keeps his eyes focused forward as he watches the ticker go down to eight laps to go.


“If she doesn’t win, it’s your fault Tony,” Lindsay adds with a smile on her face. “Go Karsyn Go!”

“Go Karsyn!!” Chelsea yells as the lap ticker goes down to seven laps to go.

Six to go.

Five to go.

Four to go.

Three to go.

Two to go.

Final lap.

It seemed like it’d take forever for the race to end as they watched Karsyn keep tightly tucked behind Kyle Busch, ready to strike.

As they watched the pair head down the backstretch, they waited for Karsyn to make her move. As the pair headed into turn three, Kyle Busch took his normal high lane while Karsyn went for the low lane, drawing alongside him in the middle of the corner. The whole team stood up as they watched the pair come off the corner, cheering as they waited to see what would happen….

“Did she get him?” Lindsay asks as she watches the pair cross the finish line side-by-side.

“Congratulations baby girl – you’re a Nationwide Series race winner!!” Jimmy yells over the radio as the whole team and family erupts in cheers.

“Nice job calling that race,” Dale congratulates his cousin Tony Jr. with a hug. “I didn’t know if you made the right call putting the four tires on there.”

“I knew what she needed to do it,” Tony Jr. replies before they head to victory lane.

In victory lane, many hugs are shared between everybody as they celebrate with their favourite little girl. She hugs each of them, shedding tears of her own and made a special call to her mother. She told her mom that she wished she could’ve been there, but was happy to be bringing the trophy as well. She then told her siblings good luck that night and hoped that they could keep the winning going.

“One day, I am going to win just like you!” Chelsea yells after Karsyn gets off the phone. Karsyn smiles, picking up her cousin and sitting her on the roof of the racecar.

“I have no doubt that you will Chelsea,” Karsyn replies as Chelsea smiles.

“I get to race soon!” Karsyn shakes her head, remembering that Chelsea would begin racing in a month, running quarter midgets for Kasey Kahne’s team. After some light persuading, Angelica had convinced everybody that it was a good idea as it was a way for Chelsea to start young and learn some valuable racing lessons. “I going to win! I want a big trophy like you!” Karsyn just smiles as she leans against the car.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll win many races princess.”


Chapter 54: Playing in the Dirt

“I am so happy you get to see me race!” Wyatt said excited as he slipped his firesuit on as they got ready for the race that night. The youngest of Kelley’s children had been so excited that his favourite cousin ‘Angie’ was going to be at the track with them that night to watch him race. He wanted to show her that he could drive a car just as quick as she could and be just like her. While most children looked up to the men in their lives, Wyatt had always kept his eyes focused on Angelica from when he met her and knew she raced in amazement. She was everything that he wanted to be. “I am going to win just for you!”

“I wish I could say the same,” Kennedy commented as she walked into the hauler, plopping down on a box. She had just gotten done her final practice before racing that night and the sprint was far from working to her favor. If things kept like they were, she was going to be in for a long night. “The thing is slipping and sliding all over!”

“Daddy will fix it.” Kennedy looks over at Wyatt, eyes full of surprise as her little brother shakes his head yes. “Daddy always fix it.”

“I don’t know if he can fix this one. It’s the worst it’s been all year.”

“Daddy will fix.” Wyatt then puts his helmet on and hops in the sprint, putting his seat belt on.

“Are you running the bottom or the top?” Angelica asks Kennedy as they watch Kelley help Wyatt get strapped in.

“She was running the bottom because she heard that was the quick groove from Ryan,” L.W. comments before walking over to join Kelley with Wyatt.

“The bottom has always been the quick line here,” Kennedy points out as Angelica shakes her head in disbelief. She had remembered hearing those words herself one night at the same track with Kale when she was running quarter midgets.

“Wyatt is ready to go.”

“Go up and watch me!” Wyatt yells as he keeps his eyes focused on Angelica.

“You better come with us,” L.W. instructs and Angelica shakes her head yes as she walks out of the trailer.

“Try running the cushion in your heat as sometimes it can be a better line,” Angelica suggests to Kennedy as Kennedy looks at her like she’s gone crazy. “I mean it. The bottom gets slippery with everybody running it and packing the dirt down so the loose dirt up top can sometimes be to your benefit.”

“Good luck Wyatt!” Kelley yells before Wyatt heads out to line up with his group.

“I guess it’s worth a shot,” Kennedy says to Angelica’s suggestion as Angelica smiles. “I mean, it can’t make it any worse right?” Kelley then wraps an arm around Kennedy as they head up to watch Wyatt’s race.

“Have some faith; you’ll figure it out. You always do.”

“Yeah, that’s when the problem makes sense.” They then turns their eyes on to the track as they watch Wyatt head out for his qualifying heat.

Wyatt didn’t do as well as he would’ve hoped as a late race spin saw him near the back of the pack. He pulled the midget in, slowly climbing out as he shook his head, looking at the ground.

“Sorry I no win,” he comments quietly as Angelica and the group return to the pit. “I tried my best. It just got loose.” He then looks up at Angelica, sadness written on his face. “I wanted to win for you. I sorry.”

“It’s okay – you tried your best,” Angelica tells him as she pulls him into a hug. “You’ll win the big race later tonight.”

“Here goes nothing,” Kennedy comments as she climbs in her midget, ready to head out.

“Try what Angelica said the first couple laps and if it doesn’t, try the bottom again,” L.W. advises as he looks over at Angelica. He wasn’t sure about her being at the track with them that night as he didn’t want her to be up to too much. He walks over to her. “Are you okay?” Angelica shakes her head yes.

“Are you sure?” Kelley asks, also concerned and Angelica once again shakes her head yes. “If you start to feel really tired or anything, just let us know.”

“I take care of Angie,” Wyatt speaks up as he walks his arms around her as both Kelley and L.W. smile.

“Seems like someone has it under control already,” L.W. comments as he wraps an arm around Kelley as they head up to watch Kennedy’s race.

“I can’t believe how much that kid loves her,” Kelley replies as L.W. smiles. It had surprised him also, though it didn’t bug him. He was glad that his son had chosen someone like Angelica to look up to instead of someone that caused problems.

They then watch as Kennedy heads out for her qualifying race and it didn’t go as planned as she would finish mid-pack. Though L.W. smiled as he looked at the lap times, noticing an improvement from the earlier practice.
“Now my turn to win!” Wyatt cheered as he went to get in his car.

“Good luck buddy,” Angelica says as she helps him do up the belts once he is in it.

“Be careful,” Kelley adds as Wyatt shakes his head yes before heading out.

With them returned to the hill, they were ready to watch the feature. With Wyatt starting at the rear, expectations were set at finishing top five at least by the parents. They felt that’d be good considering the traffic that he had to deal with and the number of laps that night. However, it went better than that as he was able to work his way to second with a couple laps left and made a last lap pass to grab the win. They all cheered, immediately joining him in victory lane with hugs.

“I told you I’d win for you!” Wyatt yells as he hugs Angelica and she just smiles.

“Way to go!” Kelley cheers as they set up for a picture together. Once the picture is over, Wyatt picks up the little trophy and hands it to Angelica. She looks at him puzzled as a smile forms on his face.

“It’s yours ‘cause the win was for you.”

“Awww thank you little buddy,” she replies as she hugs him again. “I’ll put it right beside my championship trophy, okay?” He shakes his head yes with pride as he hops back in the car to drive it back to the parts.

“1 more win tonight and this momma will be a super happy one,” Kelley comments as it’d be perfect to have all three kids win in a day.

“Kennedy will do fine if she remembers what I told her, what L.W. told her and the adjustments work.”

“So in other words, I should have a storybook ending to my day?” Angelica shakes her head yes as they head back up to watch the next race.

“Let’s hope.”

As L.W. and Wyatt joined them – Wyatt sitting in Angelica’s lap – they were set to watch the final race of the evening. Kennedy drove a hard and strong race, carefully making her way to the front. However, she would run out of laps as she finished a solid second. They all smiled as it meant a solid finish on the day and Kennedy was happy with it considering where she had started the night.

“I win – you no win!” Wyatt teased as they started to pack up.

“Wyatt!!” Kelley yelled from her spot with Angelica. Wyatt then turned on a sad face, looking at his old sister.

“Sorry Kennedy.” He then hugged her, smiling afterwards. “You did great tonight.”

“I’ll meet you girls at home,” L.W. says as he gives Kelley a kiss. Kelley and Angelica head off as L.W. and the kids finish packing up.

“Hey Kel?” Angelica starts as they get in Kelley’s car.

“Yea?” Kelley asks as she looks over at her niece.

“Thanks for the night of fun. I needed a night like that.” Kelley smiles as she turns the car on, pulling out of the parking lot.

“Anytime girl. I think both kids enjoyed your company as well.”

The smile on Angelica’s face didn’t seem like it’d ever disappear as it stemmed right across her mouth. Well it was just a simple night of racing at the local dirt track, it had done wonders for her mood. It gave her a chance to get away from everything for a couple hours. It reminded her why she worked hard for everything that she had. It reminded her why she had to continue to fight to get back to the fun that she had before. most of all, it reminded her of the family that she had by her side – even out of her own house. Being at Kelley’s for the weekend wasn’t a bad thing one bit as it meant special times with Wyatt and Kennedy.


Chapter 55: Down The Road

At the present time, the Atlanta weekend seemed like it had happened forever ago. But in reality, it was only a month ago.

For a month and a half, Angelica had gone through going in each week, getting the dosage and returning back home. She spent days at home, doing what she could, and weekends at the Earnhardt-Elledge household. Some weekends it was a welcome gift as it meant special time with Kennedy and Wyatt. Wyatt was like a breath of air. Though other times, it felt more tiring than anything.

It was certainly taking its toll on her as her energy level was down, fatigue setting in. she could spend five or six hours awake, but other times, she would sleep. It wasn’t to wash it all away, but because she couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer. That one day a week was eating up every bit of energy that she had.

As she lies there, thinking everything over from what she’s been through to how she was feeling, she couldn’t think that it’d be worth nothing if she was told bad news that day.

“Can you please eat something?” Tony asks as they sit in a hospital room waiting. On top of feeling tired, her appetite had shrunken big time over the past couple of weeks. Instead of eating three meals, she went down to two and now at most a meal a day. Breakfast may be a piece of toast while dinner, you’d be lucky to get her to eat a piece of toast. Conversations with the doctors led to learning that it is just part of it and to not fuss. As long as she was getting something, continuing to drink and had some vitamins in her system, they weren’t overly concerned. However, they’d keep a watch on it if it became worst and insert a feeding tube if necessary. “You haven’t eaten anything today!”

“I’m not hungry,” she replies as she looks over at Tony. She felt if she put anything in her stomach that it would just come back up. Worry shot through her. Today was a big day. They had done scans earlier that morning to see how she was doing. Today they’d find out whether the treatment had been working or whether this had been all done for no reason at all. As the thought crossed her mind not once, not twice, but multiple times, it had her twisting and turning in worry.

“Just relax Tony…please…” Kyle begged as he sat beside her, holding her in his arms. Even though she had been tired, really tired the night before, she hadn’t slept at all. She kept waking up every 20 to 30 minutes wondering how the day would go. She had asked Kyle what seemed a million questions and thought of every type of reaction they could get that day. He kept assuring her it’d work out and that she needed sleep for strength.

“She needs to eat something though,” Tony reminds Kyle as Kyle looks over at Tony.

“We’ll worry about it after the doctor comes back,” Dale tells them both, as he leans against the wall thinking. Seeing his baby girl go through this was like torture to him. He had asked himself many times why this was happening. What did she do to deserve this? Why couldn’t it be over soon enough? He could only hope that they were told good news when the doctor returned. He couldn’t tell them bad news. That just wouldn’t be fair. “Let’s just focus on that right now.” Tony then stands up and walks over to where Dale is standing, looking into the younger male’s eyes. He could see the tiredness written in Dale’s eyes from the lack of sleep that he had. He had also not slept, worried about his daughter himself. If it was up to Tony, he wished that he could have everything over that minute of the day.

“Are you okay?” Dale then looks back at Angelica before returning his eyes back out the window.

“I’m not the one lying there am I?” Tony then rubs Dale’s back as he takes a deep breath.

“You need to look out for yourself as well.” Dale takes a deep breath as he knows Tony is right. But how could he sleep and be calm with this going on? The only good thing was that life on track was going well as he had been clicking off solid runs.

“I’m fine, Tony. Just leave her be about the food issue for now and let’s just get through today.” Tony shakes his head understanding. He then goes to walk away, knowing Dale is in his own world, though is surprised when he feels fingers grab his hand. “Thank you.”

“You don’t need to say thank you.” Dale then looks back at Tony.

“Yes, I do. Thank you for being here with me during this time.”

“I love her a lot as well so you don’t have to thank me.”

“Oh will you just accept the thank you Tony?” Angelica questions, overhearing their conversation. In her thoughts, she wanted to thank Tony as well. She wanted to thank Tony for being there for her. She wanted to thank Tony for taking care of her dad. There was no way that she could erase her teenage years from her mind and it was Tony had that made the pain that she saw then disappear. “Because I damn well want to say thank you to you as well.”

“It’s not a duty – it’s because of love,” Tony tells her as she smiles.

“But still, you deserve it for what you’ve done for us, for Dale, for Lindsay,” Kyle adds. “You’ve been their rock, you’ve helped them through tough times and you saved them all. A hero deserves to be thanked. So thank you.”

“Do you finally accept it?” Lindsay asks and Tony shakes his head yes.

“Where is that damn doctor?”

“He’s taking longer than I thought he would,” Dale comments as he looks towards the doorway, hoping the doctor would magically walk through the doors.

“He probably wants to double check it first,” Kyle suggests as Angelica focuses her eyes back down on the bed.

“That could be a good thing….or a bad thing…” She muses out loud. As if their question had been answered, all the eyes looked up in the room when they heard footsteps and watched the doctor return to the room, scans in hand. “Moment of truth.”

“I have the results from the scans for you,” the doctor starts as he looks at the faces in the room, and then focuses on Angelica.

“Then tell me what they are. I’ve been waiting long enough. Has all this pain and suffering been worth it?”