Sunday, December 3 – Pennsacola, Florida – 5 Flags Speedway
Taking the green flag with 75 laps to go in fifth place, Chase kept bidding his time carefully, hoping their prediction would work out as planned.
“Remember he has fresher tires,” Marcus reminds Chase as Harrison goes by for the spot with 45 laps to go, bumping Chase back to fifth. “Patience. A caution is coming late here…”
“Are you sure about that, honestly?” Sarina had to question as she wasn’t sure she saw the same progress towards that happening as he did. However, she wasn’t about to give up faith yet, or any when she watched Chase pass Bubba Pollard for fourth four laps later. They had a good car; they just needed fortunes to swing in their favor.
Chase was able to gain a little more ground, getting by Ty Majeski for third and as expected, the new tires would take Harrison right to the front as he took the lead with 26 laps to go. However, just as predicted by Marcus with the strategy, the caution would come out five laps later.
“Pitting,” Marcus stated the obvious as Chase came down pit road, along with the rest of the field – except for Harrison, who was out of tires after making the choice to pit earlier. The pit crew would once again deliver the shop they needed to, allowing Chase to get off pit road first.
“Nice job guys,” Chase replies back easily. “Marcus has given me the car to work with. You guys have given me the shops that we needed. Now it’s time for me to get the job done here.”
“Remember he has 50 more laps on his tires than you do so bide your time nicely. Lessard and Pollard make up row two behind you.”
With the new tires, Chase was able to get the jump on the restart to take the lead over Harrison, but the caution immediately waved as Bubba went around due to contact from Ty.
“0 in 13,” Erik simply states as he shakes his head in disgust. “A little more patience there by Ty and they would’ve been fine.” They then watched as the race officials began to get the field in order for the restart, putting Chase in line to restart first ahead of Harrison. “That’s odd..”
“He got the jump,” Christopher reminds him as Erik nods his head, having seen that yet.
“No laps complete should mean a complete restart, giving Harrison the lead once again, though. That’s why Jeff (Burton) is down there talking to the official.” As expected, the call was made to reverse the starting positions, putting Harrison back in front of Chase. “Told you.”
“Are you okay, though?” The boys look towards Sarina, who was sitting there nervously clutching onto the snowball necklace. She just gave the boys a simple nod, before focusing back on the track. “He knows how to get the job done. Relax, it’ll be fine…”
“Does she always get this nervous?” Christopher simply shrugs his shoulders as he reaches over to rub her back a little.
“Harrison is taking the top line here, giving you the bottom,” Marcus states on the radio to Chase. “I think he learned on that restart he’s just going to go backwards and wants it to be a smooth as possible without causing a wreck.”
“10-4,” Chase simply replies. “It sucks as he had a good car, too. Same tire strategy and it would’ve been a great battle.” The green would be held off, with officials instead flagging Chase’s teammate Raphael down pit road.
“Fuel leak on the 51. That puts Majeski and Choquette in the row behind you guys. Watch out for Majeski as he’s being aggressive. He already dumped Pollard.”
The restart would go smoothly, with Chase easily clearing Harrison for the top spot and beginning to pull away. Ty would work his way to second, and began to reel the gap in as the laps closed down.
Coming to the white flag, Ty was able to close the gap right up and find his way to the rear bumper of the 18. However, an attempt through neither corner worked, as Chase held him off for the win.
“Way to go!!” Sarina lets out, fist pump in the air, before wrapping her arms around Marcus’ shoulders. “Hell yeah!”
“I told you I was preparing a special car to bring down here and kick some ass,” Marcus offers with a smile back in return.
After laying down one of the biggest burnouts, Chase climbed out of the car, fist pumps in the air. He then hopped off, immediately catching the brown eyes he knew so well, wrapping his arms around her.
“I love you so much,” he tells Sarina, before giving her a big kiss. “I love you..”
“I told you this was meant to be, every single part of it,” she replies, as their left hands rest against her stomach together. “This just confirms everything for me even more. It also means that I need to come back next year and set the record even on wins.” He just chuckles back in response.
“I’m glad that you convinced me, and Kyle convinced Rick somehow.”
“I wonder how he did that…” Chase wished he knew too as he looked over at Marcus, giving him a high-five.
“I think it’s better working with you than competing against you down here,” Marcus comments, as Chase just smiles back. “Nice smooth driving all race long.”
“Nice job on the car,” Chase replies. “She was a rocket.”
The post-race interview then commences with Chase speaking about the race, and how the plan came together for him to drive the car this weekend. They then begin the victory lane photos with the Tom Dawson trophy, with Ms. Snowball Derby making her way over.
“The kiss,” the lead photographer instructs once they were done the first series of photos. She then tries to kiss him right on the lips, but he goes for the quick dodge, placing a quick kiss on her cheek instead.
“That was a little rude,” she offers, catching him by surprise.
“Sorry, but I only kiss my fiancé,” he replies before looking over at Sarina and Marcus with a smile.
“Alison would say otherwise…” She then goes to walk away as Chase looks on confused.
“Excuse me?” She then stops and glances back at him.
“Everybody heard about what happ-”
“Keep saying that if it helps you sleep at night, Chase. besides, you also kissed Erin in Ireland, too.” She then continues walking away as Chase shakes his head, stunned.
“What was that about?” Marcus questions and Chase shrugs his shoulders. “I almost wanted to give her a smack for how rude she was being.”
“I almost wanted to yell at her here and now, but it’s not worth it,” Chase comments, as he takes a deep breath. “The main thing is that we, tonight, are winners of the Snowball Derby together and are taking home that prestigious trophy over there.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure yet…” a voice is heard from a distance as Chase looks over, seeing a crew member from another team. “You still have the room of the doom.”
“No Snowball Derby victory is ever official until you’ve gone to see Ricky Brooks and he’s happy,” Chase states as they push the car into the tech shed.
“Well you can still drive a late model at least,” Ricky comments as he walks over. “But please tell me there’s no tungsten this time.” Chase had to chuckle just a little bit, even if it still stung.
“No tungsten, and I know Marcus made sure the weight percentages were correct. We’re taking home the trophy this year.”
“Is it wrong that I am nervous every time I come to see Ricky Brooks?” Sarina questions Erik, and he shakes his head no.
“He can find the smallest things – even if it’s stupid and doesn’t mean anything,” Erik answers.
“I’m glad you both came, though. It was nice having some company to watch the race with.” Erik and Christopher both smile in return.
“I’m guessing you probably have your dress picked out for next weekend’s banquet?” Christopher asks and Sarina nods her head. “Any clues?”
“Chase doesn’t even know what I am wearing yet,” Sarina answers, causing both jaws to drop beside her.
“Morgan chose a nice ruby red dress as she told me that I have to wear a red tie to match it.” Sarina glances over at Christopher, thinking it over, before giving a nod of approval.
“Red is a good color for you. I bet you’ll look handsome next Saturday. As for Morgan, well, she’s always dashing.”
“Trust me – I know I am quite spoiled with everything she does for me…”
As they waited for the technical inspection to be completed, Chase caught the attention of Ms. Snowball Derby, walking over to her.
“I have a question for you,” he starts, as she looks over a little puzzled. “Can you explain what you said in victory lane?” She then crosses her arms.
“Can you explain how you made me look like a fool in front of the world?” She retorts as he lets out a sigh. He knew it wouldn’t be the best image floating around all the forth coming week, but there were no take-backs.
“Ms. Snowball always kisses on the cheeks, not the lips, so that’s what I was looking for. Also, like I told you, I only kiss my fiancé and not anybody else. You had your opinion and rightfully so, I suppose. I get it; Erin was a drunken mistake. I have apologized to Erin and Sarina for that, and know that I won’t do it again. However, your comments on Alison caught me off-guard…” She then just smirks back in return.
“I know every part of your type, Chase. The guy with all the power does what he can to control the female so she can get what she wants. Hence the metoo movement. In the same respect, there are girls that will do whatever they can to get what they want with you famous rich guys and at some points, you will accept it. However, we both know that you can’t have your fiancé knowing that you had feelings for another woman and you were willing to accept sex-”
“She sexually assaulted me, for your information.” Ms. Snowball just rolls her eyes.
“Like I said, say what you want if it makes you sleep at night and give you the life that you want with Sarina despite your other dealings.” He was almost set to walk away and give this up, but he didn’t budge yet.
“So you think I just made everything up that has happened before and since then?” She nods her head.
“You probably paid some person off to do it for yo-”
“So you think I paid someone off to rig my plane to crash, or crashed it on purpose with my best friend on-board? So you think I paid someone to write all the notes? So you think I paid someone to lay down all the clues? So you think that I paid someone off to take a shot at my crew chief? So you think I paid someone off to threaten everybody that I know and love, including rigging a bomb in the garage area?” She then crosses her arms once again.
“It’s simple – you knew it wasn’t going to go because you knew the password all along. Have you not noticed that no matter what happens, it always seems to work out perfec-”
“So you think I drugged myself not only once, but three times? When she drugged me at Indianapolis and made me wait days before going to see someone, I could’ve…” He then takes a deep breath, having not ever said it out loud to someone yet. “I could’ve died right then and there. You don’t realize just how close we’ve came to dancing the razor’s edge with what she’s done to me. You don’t realize just how threatening and evil she is, and the fact that two innocent people are dead because of what she is trying to do to me. But oh no, let yourself believe that I set it up for whatever reason.” Ms. Snowball takes a deep breath.
“News flash princess – just like woman can be, men can also be psychologically threatened, mentally scared, and sexually assaulted. So stop judging by what you think you know and look at the damn facts. Alison is nothing to be joking about. The minute you joke about her or turn an eye is the minute that she strikes.” Ms. Snowball then glances away from them, before turning her head back to him.
“Okay, so maybe I had the wrong take on the situation. I’m sorry, okay?” Chase just shakes his head.
“That’s not going to make up for turning an eye. Here’s some advice for you – smarten up or you won’t last long in the business.” He then turns around to walk away.
“Is that a threat, Chase?” Chase then stops and glances back.
“Nope, that’s a promise. Track promoters and sponsors aren’t going to accept people with that kind of attitude, nor are the drivers you will work with. That word is going to travel fast and you will be out of the garage area before you can dig your claws into whatever you want.” He then continues walking, rejoining the crew by the car.
While other things weren’t going accordingly to plan, the technical inspection did with Ricky Brooks officially giving the nod of approval that Chase was legal and giving him the Snowball Derby victory.
Tuesday, December 4 – Charlotte, North Carolina
Chase was getting ready to leave for Hendrick Motorsports, making sure he had his new helmet and firesuit all packed in the truck, along with any other essentials.
However, he wasn’t set to leave the house yet – making his way back inside after getting everything situated.
“Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” He questions causing Sarina to roll her eyes for the millionth time.
“Chase, I’m fine,” she offers as he lets out a sigh, leaning back against the wall.
“I’m just worried about you. I don’t like when you’re feeling dizzy like this at tim-”
“Just like Dr. Grayson told you, it’s part of the pregnancy. It’s all about the blood flow changing with the baby growing. All I need to do is making sure I am drinking plenty of fluids…” She holds up the bottle of water she had been sipping on all morning. “…while lying on my side to improve circulation, and taking it slow. We’re only supposed to worry if it starts happening too close together. Go and do your photo shoot. I’ll probably just lay here curled up on the couch binge watching sappy Christmas movies.”
“I wish Lindsay could come stay with you..” Sarina almost wished for the same thing herself.
“Instead, her and Ryan decided to jet off to Hawaii with Darrell and Amanda. I can’t blame them as Hawaii is nice and obviously she’d want to squeeze in another vacation before having the baby.” Chase nods his head in agreement. He remembered their discussion about a possible off-season vacation, however they both agreed that it’d better to stay home and relax with the baby and wedding planning already.
“Could you imagine if her water broke and she had the baby there?” Sarina shakes her head.
“That’d be crazy, and there’s no way that I’d be allowing that to happen as I want to see their baby shortly after he or she is born.” Chase nods his head in agreement. “And no, you’re not calling Samantha to come sit with me.”
“I wouldn’t even think about that as her, Kyle, and Brexton need to spend time together right now. I think Kyle said he was going to go out to the dunes as they always find peace out there, just like we do at our cabin.” He then lets out a sigh as he walks over to her. “Are you sure you’re going to be okay by yourself?”
“Trust me, I’ll be fine. If I run into any problems at all, I will text you immediately.” He lets out another sigh, hating every bit of this.
“I love you…” He then leans in, giving her a kiss.
“I love you, too. Go and look sexy today, okay?” He then chuckles, giving her a small butt wiggle as he leaves the room. “Damn sexy boy…”