The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 142: Ford EcoBoost 200

“I don’t know if you can judge it off the numbers on a paper at the end of the year. You can’t measure yourself off of someone else’s ruler. – Noah Gragson

Friday, November 16 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

“Are you okay?” Chase questions, rubbing her shoulders, and she simply nods her head yes.

“It’s just another race,” she tells herself. “I just have to do what I’ve done all season long, and we’ll be fine.” Chase just continues to rub her shoulders, knowing that despite her words, the stress was there.

“Sarina!!” Brexton yells as he runs over, wrapping both his arms around her legs.

“Hey buddy.” She then kneels down to his level, accepting the hug immediately.

“Good luck.” He then holds out his fist, getting a fist-pump back in response as she just smiles back in response.

“Thanks buddy.”

“He wouldn’t even finish dinner tonight because he wanted to come say good luck,” Samantha starts as she makes her way over. “He was so excited to come see you.”

“He can always come see me – no matter what time or day he wants,” Sarina comments, earning a chuckle in response from Samantha.

“Don’t be telling him that, or I’ll be coming over to your place at all hours of the day and night.” Sarina could only shrug her shoulders as she looked back at Samantha.

“It wouldn’t bother me, Sam. I love him, I love you, and I even love Kyle.” Chase had to chuckle a little in seeing the look on Kyle’s face. Sarina then stands up, walking over as she wraps her arms around Kyle and Samantha. “Really, I don’t know where I’d be without you both right now. You gave me a chanc-”

“Chase put you in his late model…” Kyle reminds her, and she looks over at him with a smile.

“But you took the chance in trusting your truck in my hands,” she continues. “That meant a lot to me in having your faith in me as a driver despite everybody else saying you should hire that person, or that person. It means a lot to me, Kyle.”

“It paid off, though.” She nodded her head, knowing they’d been successful over the past two years together.

“But also personally, I don’t know if I’d be here where I am today without you both. You guys believed in me when a lot of people were ready to give up on me. You guys held my hands, and told me to weather the storm because it’d be okay. You guys helped me personally with my relationship. Chase and I are ready to get married in two months, and I don’t think we’d be there without you both. You guys helped us so much at times.”

“I can attest to that,” Chase offers with a smile, remembering some of the rougher patches. While he would turn Alan or his parents, she turned to Kyle or Christopher and it paid off each time.

“And Samantha, I don’t know what I would’ve done without you in January,” Sarina continue, feeling a couple tears trickle down her cheeks. “I was ready to throw in the towel, swallow into self-pity. But with you, Chase, and Lindsay, you helped me move forward. You also took it into your own hands to help me find the answers that I didn’t realize I needed, and help me find what I needed to move forward. You also believed in me when I came to you and said, ‘I’m pregnant’. You stood by me, and continued to help me, believe in me. I wouldn’t be at this stage in my life, my love, my pregnancy without you both.” By that time, the tears were trickling down her cheeks steady as she reached up to wipe them away. “It’s got to be the hormones making me tear up…”

“Sweetheart….” was all Samantha could manage, as she wiped her away her own trickle of tears, before pulling Sarina into a hug. “I will always love and cherish the moments we had together.”

“Oh, this is not goodbye by any means.” Sarina then looks straight at Samantha. “I’m sorry, but you’re stuck with me for the rest of your life. You almost feel like an older sister at times, maybe even motherly.”

“Hey, friends forever as I better be seeing you and that little one at my place a lot.” Sarina nods her head in agreement.

“Why do you think I told you to be in my wedding?” She then looks over at Brexton. “And I better see lots of this guy as he gets better.”

“I don’t think you have to worry about that,” Kyle comments as Brexton could only look up at her with a big smile.

“Can we get a group photo?” Sarina questions, earning a series of nods as the group stood together – Chase, herself, Kyle, Samantha, and Brexton. Chase then allowed the car owners to get a photo alone with Sarina, before getting a photo of just them together.

“I want in!” Rudy lets out as he runs over, wrapping his arm around Sarina’s shoulder for a photo as everybody chuckles.

“Maybe Todd was right….” Kyle offers, earning a nod from Sarina in return.

“I’ve gotten so used to seeing you sitting up here that I may actually miss you next year,” Kyle teases as Chase takes his usual seat beside the boss.

“Awww does Kyle need a buddy?” Chase questions, laying his head on Kyle’s shoulder, only for Kyle to give him a little smack.

“Sarina is going to love that one,” Rudy comments while laughing, having taken a photo of Kyle and Chase before Kyle got him to move.

“I think we should have the season finale at Daytona, Rudy,” Kyle offers, earning an immediate head shake from Chase. Kyle could only chuckle at the response. “I will never get over how nervous you were at Daytona and Talladega sitting up here with me. It’s insane.”

“She’s the same way according to Jordan,” Chase comments, having heard the stories from his team. “To think if you would’ve stayed at Hendrick Motorsports. We could’ve been teammates.”

“That would’ve been ridiculous. Instead, it seems Dale has a habit of stealing my drivers.” Chase could only chuckle.

“William drove Late Models for him first, and well, let’s face it – Sarina was always mine.” Kyle just rolls his eyes in response.

Starting up front, Sarina ran second throughout the first stage – to Grant Enfinger, which was fine since he wasn’t in title contention. So far, so good.

Their chances looked to be increasing as when Matt Crafton spun the tires on the restart to start the second stage, Sarina was able to get by on the outside and take the lead. However, the short run speed wasn’t there, causing her to fall back to fourth just two laps later. She would work her way back up to second before the stage was over, finishing there this time behind Brett Moffitt. It was decent, but they couldn’t stay behind him all night if they wanted a title.

“Nice job sweetheart!” Chase let out as she put together another stellar restart, taking the lead to start the third and final stage. Unlike the time before, she was able to stretch it out, holding the advantage despite being closely stalked by Moffitt through the early laps.

As the laps continued to count down and the final pit stops neared, it seemed everything was falling in place just like they needed it too.

“Right rear going down….” She says over the radio, causing an instant panic through Chase. obviously battling as hard as they were, she had abused the tires.

“We’re in the window,” Rudy informs her after watching Moffitt go by to take the lead. “Pit now.”

She brings the No. 18 Toyota Tundra down pit road on Lap 102, with the crew performing the four-tire pit stop. While it was clean without any mistakes, it was a little slower than they wanted due to the flat tire. As a result, it cost her valuable ground on track, cycling out to being four and a half seconds behind Moffitt.

“It’s all on you now,” Kyle tells her over the radio with 20 laps to go. “Go and get it!”

Despite trying both lanes and doing what she could to gain ground, it wasn’t happening. She managed to gain a couple seconds, but a small hang up in traffic was the end of their chances. She’d get within two seconds of the lead, but obviously that wasn’t enough.

She’d ultimately cross the line in the third position, finishing second in the year-end standings with Brett Moffitt winning the race.

As she climbed out of the truck and leaned back against it, letting the defeat soak in, she felt a strong arm wrap around her shoulders to pull her close. She didn’t even need to look up anymore to know whose arms she was in.

“I’m proud of you,” Rudy tells her quietly. “You did what you had to do. He had the stronger truck – end of story. You pushed as hard as you could, and ultimately we came up short. I should’ve given you a bett-”

“No Rudy, you did a great job,” she tells him as she finally looks up to meet his gaze. “You gave me a truck capable of winning tonight. You did everything you could. We just got beat on strategy there.” Rudy nods his head, knowing it was a combination of strategy in when to pit, along with maybe pushing a little hard the run before per his encouragement.

“I’m sorry….” He then goes to walk away, but she holds firm on his arm.

“You don’t need to apologize, Rudy. You did everything that you could. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you for this season. It’s bigger than I could’ve dreamed of.” Rudy could only smile a little in hearing her upbeat attitude in defeat.

“You’re amazing, truly. I wish you the best of luck next year, and please kick Chirstopher’s ass for me.” She had to chuckle back in response before finally letting him go so he could walk away.

She didn’t even need to move before she was locked in another person’s arms, not even needing to look at the face to know who they belonged to.

“Great job all season,” Kyle tells her. “I remember when you started driving for me. I look at the driver that you’ve become now and I’m super proud of you. You’ve soaked up everything that I’ve taught you, Rudy’s taught you, Marcus taught you, and heck even Chase has taught you. Keep doing what you’re doing. I look forward to racing against you one day.” He then holds a fist.

“Deal,” she replies, giving him props back in return, before going for the full fledged hug. “I meant what I said pre-race. Thank you for everything – on the track, and off the track. You and Samantha are truly special.”

Kyle separates from her, heading over to where Rudy was standing by the pit wall with a couple crew members.

Her eyes finally caught the eyes of the one person she had been expecting from the beginning. With all the emotions on the surface, tears came to her eyes as he walked over, with her immediately burying her head into his shoulder.

“You did everything you could,” Chase tells her quietly, rubbing her back. “I’m proud of you, probably more proud than Kyle and Rudy are right now. You did everything that you could all race long to run with Brett, and beat him. Do not hang your head.” He then forces her to lift her head up, and look into his eyes. “Do not hang your head. You did an amazing job all year. I love you, and I’m proud of you.”

“I love you, too,” she replies as she clutches onto his hand tightly. “I’m so happy for what I was able to do this year and Kyle’s right – we’ve come so far from where I star-”

“You just began racing yourself five years ago in late models. Brett has been driving for years. Johnny has been racing for God knows how long. Justin started when he was really little. For you to be where you are with the experience that you have, it says so much. It shows the drive that you have, how much you want to push to get better, how you soak up everything, and where you can go from here. If we can get to here in just that much time, the sky is the limit sweetheart.” She nods her head, easily accepting his vote of confidence.

“You can’t measure yourself off of someone else’s ruler, right?” Chase smiles, knowing that was the perfect explanation. “I burnt my front tires off those final two runs because the truck just got too tight. She then lets out a sigh. “I need to get better at communicating what the truck is doing so Rudy or whoever can make the adjustment.”

“That’ll come with time. I still even struggle with that and look at how long I’ve been racing for, and the fact that I’ve worked with Alan for three years now. You’d think that we would understand each other but we still have issues. It’ll come with practice.” He then pulls her back into a hug. “I’m proud of you. You’re my champion.”

“Thank you.” She then lets him go, taking a deep breath as she tries to get all of her emotions about her. “Banquet, we share the news?”

“Whatever you want to do, sweetheart…” She then glances towards the swarm of media heading their way. She could easily spit it out this week, or she could wait two weeks and say the news everybody wanted to hear.

“My banquet or yo-”

“It’s up to yo-”

“You’re the fath-”

“Your decisi-”

“Figure something out before they get here!” Kyle yells, grabbing both of their attention as the swarm gets closer.

The pair share a simple nod, which Chase couldn’t even figure out what meant, but went with it as he stepped back to let her face the media. Though as she went to step forward, she kept a firm hold on him, not allowing the space to form.

“I’m not going to lie – this is going to sting for awhile,” she starts with a deep breath. “I was driving my ass off there at the end. I was doing whatever I could – trying different lines, looking for debris, just anything. I was soaking up everything Rudy and Kyle were trying to tell me, too. Heck, even the advice from Tony Hirchman. But I just got too tight at the end and burnt the front tires off – it’s simple as that. Communication is critical, and I know what I need to do moving forward as a driver.

“Certainly, it’s not the championship that I envisioned, and it hurts. But, at the end of the day, you have to look at this with perspective. I remember the driver I was when I walked in the door at KBM. I also remember the driver I was at the beginning of this season at Daytona. Now when I look at that mirror, I see how much I’ve grown, learned, improved. I see all those things that we’ve polished from Daytona to now, and I’m proud. I’m proud to see where I am going as a driver and know that given this trek, we’re going to be in for a successful future.

“I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports. I can’t thank Kyle and Samantha enough for these two seasons. They’ve been even more than I could’ve imagined. I also can’t thank them enough, personally, for what they’ve done for me. Rudy and Marcus, each team member, I thank them all so much. I’m grateful for what we were able to accomplish together.

“I’m also excited for the opportunities ahead in the future with JR Motorsports. I can’t wait for next year already to see what happens. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel, and see how much more I progress, how many races I can win, and what I can do. I can’t thank Dale and Kelley enough for that, along with their understanding on everything.

“I talked about perspective….” She then takes a deep breath as she squeezes a little tighter onto Chase’s hand. “Things could be worse. Everybody knows what’s been going on with Alison. That really forces you to sit back and put your life in perspective. Life may be a bitch at times, but here I am, stronger than ever.

“I finished second in the year-end truck series points with a race win under my belt and lots of other great memories, surrounded by a great team. I have a great opportunity ahead of me for the future. I’m getting ready to get married in January to the love of my life. While I may miss Daytona next year, I also know that I am ready for what the new year comes for me, Chase and our family…” She then takes a deep breath, as Chase keeps hold of her hand. She had debated on what to say, but knew she had to do this a certain way.

“I was told once upon a time that I would not be able to carry a baby to full term due to some scientific uterus research. I also experienced what it’s like to lose a life, and it broke me more than you could’ve imagined.” She then takes a deep breath, feeling a couple tears. “But I pushed forward. They say things happen for a reason, and I believe this happened for a reason. I found out in August that I was pregnant. I could’ve easily terminated the pregnancy because I was told that I wouldn’t able to carry a baby to full term, but I believed it happened for a reason.

“I know I’ve taken a lot of your time and the light should be shining on our new series champion, which congratulations to Brett, so I’m just going to say this straight out. I am pregnant.”

The pair watch the jaws drop on all the media that was surrounding them, certainly not having that on their topic of questions. The reaction even caused a chuckle from Kyle and Rudy.

“How far along are you?” “Who knew about the pregnancy?” “What is everybody’s reaction?” “What was it like racing while pregnant?” “What are your comments to those who feel you did the wrong thing?” “What happens next year at JR Motorsports?” “Does this affect your XFINITY contract?”

The series of questions came one after the other, with some media members even shouting over each other to try and get their question answered by the pair.

“Easy guys….” Chase tries to manage the situation, putting his arm around Sarina’s stomach immediately. “We’ll take the time to answer every question, one by one…”

They were easily standing there for another full half hour, fielding the various questions, followed by Kyle being asked a couple afterwards.

“Well, it doesn’t matter who wins the championship the next two days,” Kyle comments afterwards as he wraps his arms around the pair. “Now the focus for the rest of the weekend is going to be your pregnancy. Are you ready for what the tornado is going to bring?”

“Bring it on,” Sarina replies, as she looks over at Chase. “As long as I have Clyde, I can face whatever is thrown my way.”

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 141: Security Breach

Friday, November 16 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

Smiles were the focus in the No. 9 pit stall following the first practice, as driver had no complaints about the car, having timed in fourth quickest. A fist pump, followed by a quick debrief, and both drivers and crew chief were confident for qualifying later on that day.

“So I hear you’re getting married at Whiskey River,” Alan starts, having received the revised electronic invitation that morning from Sarina. She had sent them out once finished both of her practices, wanting to have everybody on the same page.

“Dale has a really nice small town set-up in his backyard,” Chase comments. “It’s that perfect small size, down to earth feeling that you’d want with enough room in the church and saloon for everybody. Plus, as Sarina added, the security detail would be on point.” Alan nods his head, knowing that Alison would probably be trying to find a way to ruin the wedding.

“I think it’s a beautiful idea, actually. I was surprised that Amy and Dale didn’t get married there themselves.” Chase knew the reason already.

“Dale wanted to go a more traditional route, and they invited a whole lot of people – more than Sarina and I are – to their wedding. Besides, they also did it on New Year’s so there was a celebration aspect to it as well.” Alan easily understood the driver’s points.

“So does that cover all of the plans now?” Chase knew there were still a couple critical pieces, but he wasn’t worried. He had over a month and both of these shouldn’t take that long.

“We both decided to write our own vows, and I haven’t written mine yet. I also haven’t chose our first dance song yet.” Alan had to smile immediately, knowing without a doubt the direction Chase was going to go.

“It’ll be an Eric Church song.” Chase wanted to act shocked in response, but he couldn’t.

“Too predictable?” Alan shakes his head no.

“All that matters when choosing a first dance song is it means something to both of you lyrically, and you both like it. I’m sure there’s a couple of songs that Eric has in his collection that would fit.” Chase nods his head, already having a couple ideas in mind.

“I almost thought of going with a Jake Owen song instead.” Alan had to admit he was a little surprised. “But, the more I thought about it, it just didn’t fit.”

“Just don’t over think it or put too much pressure on yourself. The main thing at the end of the day is having fun, enjoying the love for each other, and the actual wedd-”

“All that matters to me is being able to stand up there and tell her how much I love her, and the fact that I want to spend the rest of my life with her. That’s why I told her the rest of the details didn’t matter.” Alan was glad that Sarina wasn’t one of those to go overboard in hearing that she had free reign from their driver.

“So you’d go for a big all-out insane wedding if she wanted?” Chase slowly shakes his head no as Alan laughs.

“I’d probably go crazy if I walked into something like that. But at the same time, I am not doing the city hall thing like Ryan suggested. I need balance.” Alan smiles, with a nod.

“That explains you perfectly, and that balance on everything is why you’re so easy to get along with and another reason I’m proud of you.”

“Chase!” Chase hears his name called, glancing over at the crew member standing there. “You’ve been called to the media center..” Chase was a little confused, but easily accepted the request as he begins to make his way through the garage.

Chase enters the media center, glancing around with a bit of confusion, which earned a couple glances in response from some of the reporters.

“You were asked to come via our track president Matt Becherer,” an individual walks over to tell Chase. “He’s over there with Elliott Sadler.”

“Thanks,” Chase replies, feeling the confusion still. However, he easily followed the instructions given and headed over to where Elliott and Matt were.

“Are you serious?!?” Elliott questions in response to something Matt said.

“We have a policy, and we always stick to it no matter what,” Matt answers, before noticing Chase had joined the discussion. “Chase, I hope I did not interrupt you, but I want to address something with you in front of Mr. Sadler.” Chase could only glance between the pair, still confused.

“Okay…” He slowly says, almost feeling like he was in the principal’s office with no clue on what he did.

“Mr. Sadler had an issue with our security personnel this morning. Due to not having the right credentials, he was not allowed to enter the area of the garage that he was wishing to do so. He basically called out my staff and our decisions in front of the media today. I was hoping that you could explain the importance of our security measures due to the events involving Ms. Reynol-”

“I am very well aware of what has happened between Chase and Alison,” Elliott quickly cuts the track president off. “I understand that she has attacked him, tormented him, done whatever necess-”

“Then why don’t you comprehend the importance of poli-”

“Because the policy should entail some common sense!” Elliott then takes a deep breath, looking over at Chase. “I showed up at the track today. I had my NASCAR hard card, but I didn’t have the parking pass as it was in the bus. They wouldn’t let me in the garage area despite the security guard saying he knew who I was.”

“Seriously?” Chase questions, and Elliott nods his head as Chase could only shake his head.

“I suggested allowing me to go get the pass, which I’d bring back and show him. I also suggested that he ride with me so I could get but he wouldn’t budge. So even knowing who I was and everything, he wouldn’t let me move due to a simple parking pass. Like, I understand the importance of security and protection. I understand the fears that are going around. It’s wrong of tracks that have let Alison simply slip through the back door and do thin-”

“All I said to them when I was sitting there with a NASCAR Official and my investigator was that they please monitor the situation closely. I just wanted to make sure that everybody credential was being looked at and faces matched names, and nothing slipped under the cracks.” Chase remembered the meeting they had earlier that morning, at the request of the investigator following Alison’s recent security breaches at the tracks and home.

“I get that, I honestly do. But please tell me that common sense should tell you that if the man matches his hard card and is a driver that we don’t need to worry about the other – or at least handle it more maturely than they did.” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“You’re not wrong Elliott….” Elliott was glad to hear that as he looked back towards Matt.

“I’m just saying that it is ridiculous. Racing in NASCAR For 23 years, and this is the first time ever that I’ve ran into an issue.”

“They just wanted to offer you a retirement memory.” Elliott had to chuckle a little. “Matt, I appreciate what you’re doing in listening to my request. But let’s be serious here. This is a little ridiculous.”

“We’re not changing policy, that’s final,” Matt states before walking away as Chase glances at Elliott with a sigh.

“I’m sorry,” Chase apologies as Elliott watches Matt leave the room.

“You can’t fix stupid, right?” Elliott offers, earning a chuckle from Chase. “It’s not your fault as it’s been their policy no matter what – stupid as it is. And hey, as long as you stay safe this weekend, I’ll put up with a small security issue. Just tell that girl of yours to win the championship tonight.”

“That’s the plan.”

Sarina climbs out of the truck, glancing at the board with a smile on her face. She had qualified third quickest showing the speed in her truck, but more importantly quicker than her four title contenders.

“So far, so good,” she tells herself before walking over to where the pit crew was standing. She gives Rudy a high-five, followed by a quick hug. “We just got to stay focused. We’ve got a good truck. We can do this.”

“Just do your thing tonight, don’t get in the wall, and don’t drive it too hard,” Rudy reminds her. “We’re going to be fine.”

“Better than fine, right?” She then gives him a wink as he just smiles back in return.

She then makes her way through the garage area, wanting to grab a quick bite to eat before the driver’s meeting. She hoped that it went quickly tonight as she wanted to the tail end of Cup qualifying. As she reaches the No. 18 hauler, she notices a folded up piece of paper with her name on it.

“Of course…” She quietly says, picking it up as she unfolds the piece of paper.

Sarina,

It’s amazing the fear that courses through your veins when you know there’s a ticking device. It’s amazing how your heart beat quickens in worry about your loved ones. It’s amazing how your hearing is heightened in listening to a small tick. Tick, tick, tick, tick – counting seconds, even milliseconds. It’s amazing in a time of fear how quickly the tears roll down your cheeks as your whole life flashes before you.

It was a beautiful thing to watch a couple weeks ago. I just loved watching you freak out with Rudy. I just loved watching the crew try to solve the pieces, while acting as normal as possible. You could see their skin crawling despite each careful action taken.

It just sucks that the police figured out the disarming steps so quickly, and Alan was able to accomplish them with ease. Like I said before, it’s amazing how many people will do things for you. Guess I should watch where I write the code numbers, huh? Although I admit it’s pretty clever using 918 as the code.

I just wonder how Chase is doing. He’s got the guilt of putting the whole crew in the face of death on his shoulders. He also has the guilt of an innocent life, knowing I killed Britney Teals for my own means. I hope he’s doing alright. It’s too bad that I couldn’t comfort him for you.

I can promise that I will see him soon and he will give me everything that I want. I look forward to exploring our feelings as I can tell that he likes me – probably more than he likes you, sweetheart. I can’t believe you haven’t realized that already either. Why do you think he gives into my sexual impulses every time he sees me? Either way, I look forward to tasting his lips, licking his lollipop, and everything in-between.

By the way, you’re not going to win the championship this weekend.  I just have a gut feeling that no matter what you do, it won’t be enough. Hopefully Johnny and Brett show you stinkin’ kids how it’s done as Justin should be torn apart, too. He should know better to keep his nose out of people’s business.

I wish you could’ve got to know my friend a little more, but it seems that Shelley didn’t know the first rule of business either. Hopefully she remembers the consequences for squealing or else she’ll have to meet a sad fate.

Look forward to you losing tonight while I taste you fiance’s lips, and feel him harden against me at the simplest touch.

See ya soon, Alison Reynolds

Sarina feels the note ripped from her fingers immediately, being folded right before her eyes.

“And they told me that security was in tip top shape,” Chase comments as he takes out his phone, sending out a text message. “Are you okay?” Sarina nods her head.

“Her words don’t bother me anymore,” she confesses. “Let her believe whatever she wants as none of it is true. I know what we have together, I know how much we care about each other, and she can live in her delusional bubble.” She then places her hand on his arm.

“Are you okay?” He nods his head as he glances over, giving her a kiss. “Chase…”

“I’m fine, trust me. It just pains me that she can get this close to the trailer, to you and drop this note like it’s nothing. I hate the thought of you being in dang-”

“I can defend myse-”

“I know, but I don’t like taking chances.” He then puts his phone back in his pocket. “I’m heading to pit road to qualify. One of your guys is staying here and making sure to walk you to the driver’s meeting and back. Be careful, okay?” She nods her head.

“Same goes for you…” She then gives him a kiss. “Go get yourself a pole.”

“Go get yourself a championship tonight. I love you.” He then heads off, knowing that the session was about to start and he didn’t want to be late.

The annoyance on his face could be seen a mile away. Here they were another weekend in the books at an intermediate track, set to start in the teens as he had qualified 14th for Sunday’s race.

“We have a good car for Sunday,” Alan tries to improve the mood, earning a glance from the driver.

“I don’t doubt that as it felt amazing that first practice,” Chase comments. “So why can’t we qualify any good?” Alan shrugs his shoulders. “This isn’t the first time this has happened. We haven’t qualified well through the entire playoffs at intermediate tracks = most of the season for that matter. It’s damn frustrating!” Alan couldn’t help but agree with his driver.

“I’m always searching for that comfort that you want in a car. With what we’ve done as a company to this point, and the set-up that seems to find speed in practice, it also doesn’t seem to fire off till you get 15, 20 laps into a run. So we get killed in qualifying and the beginni-”

“Also those late-race short restar-”

“Yes, those too, but yet we can find the speed and put together the fastest car that they’ve seen once you get over that period. Look at Kansas as that’s how we won there.” Chase nods his head, remembering that. “We just have to hope for long runs on Sunday, which I think we’ll get. Then this off-season, all of us crew chiefs need to sit down and see what we’re doing wrong so we can find the balance for the short and long run.”

“Like we said last week, we have a lot of work to do this off-season.” Alan nods his head, remembering those words.

“But for you, I want you to focus on a wedding and a pregnancy.” Chase smiles, knowing that both of those sounded amazing. The recent news that he had received was promising, too.

“I texted the investigator earlier when Sarina found the note. She called me back and told me that she wanted to keep it so she could take procession. She also said that she made progress with Shelley, who had been forthcoming with Alison’s plans and possible locations. They’re checking all of those out.” Alan almost chuckled in response.

“Do you really think Alison is going to be at any of those locations?” Chase shakes his head no. They had been through this before with Alison.

“But it may lead to clues and hopefully, maybe they can catch her soon. I’m not holding my breath, but any opportunity is better than none.” Alan couldn’t argue with that, either. “Would you be surprised if she wants to try and get pregnant once again, however this time guaranteeing it’s my child?”

“Oh really?” Chase had to shiver as he remembered the details spoken to him.

“Shelley said that she was told Alison would do whatever it took. She told Shelley, ‘I’m taking away the possibility this time. It’s going to be his baby, whether he agrees or not.’ She said that would involve either taking semen without consent, or….” Chase takes a deep breath. “She’d actually do it this time.”

“Are you okay?” Chase nods his head as he looks over at Alan.

“I’ve come to grips with what happened. It may have took longer than I wan-”

“Understandable so given what happened…”

“But through doing the therapy, and talking to Sarina, you and my dad, I’ve come to grips with it. That’s why when she went after me at Talladega, I was able to just put in the junk drawer so to speak and move on.” Chase takes a deep breath as he looks out towards the garage area. “I’m not letting her do it again, Alan. If we cross paths again, she’s done. I’m not letting her do anything, and she’s going to finally see how I feel.”

“Just be safe and careful, okay?” Chase then looks back over at Alan.

“I’m not taking any chances this time, Alan, I promise you.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 140: Post Phoenix

Sunday, November 11 – ISM Raceway

Chase climbs out of the NAPA Chevrolet, taking a deep breath before facing the swarm of media that had surrounded with questions.

“You had a fast car and got involved in that crash on the front stretch,” the reporter starts. “Was there any way to avoid it?” Chase knew the answer right away. They had gotten behind due to his mistake.

“Don’t speed before that and you don’t get caught back there in the back,” he answered. “It was completely my fault and when you make mistakes like that, you get put behind and that’s when you get wrecked. So, I had a pretty good NAPA Chevy, especially on the long runs. We could run with those guys. I couldn’t get going quite as good as I wanted to. But if you stay away from that penalty (speeding on pit road) you never know. I hate it, but we’ll try to get a win next week.”

“What do you take from this playoff experience?” The questions came just as easy as the answers in his mind. It was pretty obvious.

“You just have to make the most of opportunities. The whole year counts. Those guys, winning a lot of races throughout the season, is what kept them away from a pressure-filled situation. All the bonus points they built up pretty much got them to Homestead, and that that’s the way that step stone is meant to work. It pays to win. So, we’ll try to win more next year.”

He stands around answering some more questions, before the media members head off to talk to whoever they had to go see.

“Don’t beat yourself up,” Alan starts as he walks over. “We came a long way from where we were this summer, struggling with this car. We put together a heck of a season. It sucks it’s come to this conclusion, but we’re building and progressing, and I guarantee we’ll have something for them next year.” Chase nods his head, but that didn’t erase the pain and frustration.

“I just can’t believe that I sped there,” he offers. “Was I that much over?” Alan shakes his head no as Chase lets out a sigh. “We thought the first pit stall was fool proof, and boom – I make a mistake. It sucks.” Alan places a hand on his shoulder.

“I told you to not beat yourse-”

“I know, but it still keeps running through my mind. It’ll bother me for a bit and then I’ll move forward, focusing on next week, ready to not speed on pit road. It’s simple as that. Thank you for the hard work all season long, and you’re right – we’ve come a long way, but we got a long way to go.” Alan couldn’t help but nod his head in agreement.

“I can promise you that this company as a whole is going to be putting in a lot of work this winter.”

Sunday, November 11 – Charlotte, North Carolina

After a frustrating day like he had, there was no place like home – and he was glad to be there as he and Sarina entered later that night. Slipping their shoes off, he glances back, grabbing a quick kiss from her, before helping her with her coat.

“Are you okay?” She questions, having grown annoyed with the silence most of the way home.

“Yeah,” he answers before heading for the stairs. The shortness of his answer didn’t give her heart much relaxation.

“Chas-”

“I made a mistake, that’s all there is to it. I sped on pit road and put that whole thing in moti-”

“You had worked your way back up fro-”

“But if we don’t have that penalty, we have the track position and maybe we’re further ahead – not running right where Kurt decides to cross the track. I know it’s a matter of circumstance, anything is possible, but I still made the mistake.” He then takes a deep breath as they reach the top of the stairs. “I’ll get over it. Probably by tomorrow morning, I’ll be ready to focus on Homestead. Focus on trying to win a race, and hoping you bring home that championship.”

“That’s the plan, right?” They then walk into the bedsroom, flicking on the light as they enter. “What the hell?”

“Did you touch Miles?” Sarina slowly shakes her head no as Chase walls over, picking up the Monster trophy off of the bed. “How did he get in….” His voice trails off as he sees a white piece of paper.

“I probably don’t even need to say anything, do I?” Chase unfolds the piece of paper, reading the note.

“Change the locks, change the codes, change the security system, but I can still find my way in to see you.” He then scrunches the piece of paper up, before placing the trophy on the dresser. “Stay here…” Sarina could only look on confused as he reached for the baseball bat that he had left lying by the bed.

“What are you doing?”

“Checking to see if she’s still her-”

“By yourself?” Chase then looks over at her as he stands in the doorway.

“I am not taking any chances as she may be somewhere, and you don’t need to take any chances in your condition.” She could only sit there helplessly as she watched him leave the bedsroom, entering the bathroom first, before going through each of the rooms in the house.

“Ugh….” She felt every nerve swirl as she heard him go down the stairs to the main level, counting the seconds, followed by the minutes in her head, that he had been gone for. She had mentally set a time in her head that if he hadn’t returned, she was going to go looking.

“House is clear!” She glances up from the bed to see him re-enter the bedsroom, setting the bat on the dresser only to pick up phone. “I’m calling security to see what’s on the cameras and such. I don’t think it wouldn’t hurt to get somebody to be on-guard, either.”

“If it makes it easier for you, then I’m fully on-board.” She then stands up, kissing his lips, before retreating back to the bed as she watched him on the phone.

Friday, November 16 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

Sarina stood on pit road, sipping on a bottle of water. She had already drank a couple bottles of Gatorade, combined with half a case of water and some grapefruit – per Chase’s direct orders yesterday. However, she knew a long day with constant non-stop action could possibly bring forth dehydration issues, and she wasn’t taking any chances. If her and baby were going to accomplish their dreams, they had to be in tip top shape.

“I thought you’d be keeping your feet up a little longer…” She hears, half-expecting that comment from Chase. Though, that certainly wasn’t his voice as she glances over her shoulder with a smile.

“If you want to be on top, you need to be ready for practice,” she explains. It was odd to see Dale coming to check on her, but she wasn’t about to chase him away. She knew she’d better get used to it with driving for him next year. She could also take advantage of the timing, too. “I came out here to make sure everything was ready to go, and get any last minute advice from Rudy.”

“Well, I just wanted to stop by and say good luck. I hope you have a great night and make some history.” She smiles, nodding her head.

“Thank you. I never set out to be the best girl, but rather to be the best driver and win races. That’s what I’m here to do tonight.” Dale could easily appreciate the determined attitude.

“Just make sure that you’re taking care of yourself.” She holds up the water bottle, taking a sip.

“13th bottle of water in the past two days satisfy the boss?” He looks on a little surprised, but gives her a nod of approval.

“Don’t let having to go pee at the halfway mark distract you.” She had to make a face at the thought. She had never gone to the bathroom in her firesuit in her career, and she certainly didn’t want to do it with her new one. This firesuit was set to only have two races on it, having got it last weekend, and she was ready to hang it up for keeps later.

“While you’re here, I have a question for you…” He then looks at a little puzzled. “Chase and I are in the middle of planning our wedding. We originally were going to get married in Colorado, but there’s been some issues with the venue so we can’t do that. We decided to change it to closer to home, and came up with the perfect spot – if you’re willing. Could we get married in your Whiskey Town?” Dale was taken back by the request, having expected something more traditional from Chase.

“Have you talked to Chas-”

“I thought of the idea last weekend, and we talked about it this week. He approves as he feels it’s perfect for what we’re envisioning. He didn’t ask you yet because I told him I’d handle it, being that you’re my boss.” He glances at the smile on her face, having a chuckle to himself.

“You thought the eyes and smile would charm me better than he would and I would say yes easily?” She then shrugs her shoulders. “No matter which one of you asked me, I would say yes. I think it’ll be beautiful for you both, and will make sure to have everything rea-”

“My wedding party gals and I can handle the decorating. We’ve got everything picked out, and Samantha has already talked to who we need to order everything from. We just need your permission for the property, and promise to have everything in order when we’re done.”  He then warps an arm around her shoulders.

“It’d be my honor, seriously. I may have been a little skeptical when I first met you, and I may have been harsh on Chase for the first couple weeks.” She nods her head, remembering the first meeting at Hendrick Motorsports a couple years ago. “As I’ve gotten to know you, though, I can see why he fell in love with you. I’m happy to see the bond that you’ve both formed, and I’m glad to have you on-board as a driver next year.”

“Even if I’m missing the first couple races?” He had to smile as it may not be the best business position, but that didn’t matter to him.

“I told you originally – that child is going to change yours and Chase’s lives for the better. It’s worth it for the blessing that you’re going to get in return.” She could see the admiration that Dale had for Amy and Isla in hearing him talk about parenthood.

“I don’t think we need to wait until then. Chase and I are already fully on-board. We both can’t stop talking about it, he can’t stop rubbing my stomach, and I’ve already began planning the nursery.” He had an idea immediately as to the theme.

“Bulldogs or racing?” She laughs, shaking her head to both ideas.

“Jungle themed.” He looks on surprised, but was easily accepting.

“I’ll have to make sure to get you a couple stuffed animals then. I’ll see you later, but like I said – good luck tonight.” She watches Dale head off, smiling as she turned her attention back on the 18 truck.

Tonight was going to be fun, this pregnancy was going to be amazing, the wedding would be magical, and next year was already shaping up to be perfect.

She stands on pit road by the truck, thinking over the first practice session. She was pleased with the handling of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra as she had to admit that they were in the right ball park for where they needed to be. However, ranked 11th on the session behind fellow championship contenders wasn’t the biggest morale boost.

“I got something up our sleeve for the second session,” Rudy tells her, catching a glance as he gives her a wink.

“When you tell me that, it always ends with good results,” she replies. “I hope you’re telling the truth again.”

“When have I lied to you, my princess?” She thinks back through the time they spent together, spending no examples.

“Well, you kind of lied when you said you’d never warm up to Chase and I being together. Remember how upset you were the first couple weeks?” Rudy nods his head, having fond memories of then. He was about to yell at Kyle for partnering them together – that, or pack an extra bottle of Tylenol and ask for a raise for having to deal with her.

“You were also late those first couple of weeks, as well.” She hated the reminder, but it was a fact of life. She remember how Kyle turned the tables immediately on one of those.

“I still want to kill Kyle for having those comments about sex.” Rudy laughs, remembering how red Sarina’s face went then.

“He wasn’t wrong, though.” He then gives her a small pat with a laugh before heading off.

She then lets out a sigh, walking back over the wall. She makes her way through the garage area, knowing a trip to the bathroom before the second session would be welcoming. Maybe there was something to what Dale was saying earlier, after all.

As she walks to the closest bathroom, she signed autographs for the fans along the way, even stopping to take a couple photos. However, she couldn’t help but glance to her right in hearing a group of girls together. Appearing to be around the same age of her, their conversation stemmed to speaking about Sarina’s appearance, including one of them saying that she was fatter.

“Maybe it’s due to Chase’s southern cooking,” the one girl chalked it up too.

Sarina walks into the bathroom, slipping off the firesuit and going pee as she needed to. She couldn’t help but while she sat there rub her breasts, having been sore the past couple of days. It wasn’t no surprise to her that Wednesday involved shopping for a couple new bras, either.

“Is it that obvious?” She asks herself, as she glances down at her stomach, rubbing it. “Are you growing in there, sweetheart?”

After wiping, she does the firesuit back up before glancing at the mirror to give herself a look over. One more week, and it didn’t matter what anyone said. It’d be finally time to reveal to the world that she was pregnant and had been since August.

Taking a deep breath, she knew to be prepared for positive and negative reactions in response – but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was Chase, this baby, and the love between the three of them.

Sarina sat in the care center after finishing the second practice, glancing over at Chase with a smile. She couldn’t complain as whatever Rudy had planned for the second practice had worked out very well, timing in second quickest. With a break before Chase’s Cup practice and now getting to see her baby while hearing the heartbeat, there was nothing to complain about.

“So being 18 weeks pregnant, we have some important things to discuss,” Dr. Grayson tells the pair after the initial examination. “I want you to have a regular ultrasound schedule set in place moving forward for the rest of your pregnancy. Given your risk factor, I would like to see you have one every two weeks.” Sarina and Chase both nod their heads, accepting. They knew a trip to Charlotte could easily be accomplished as needed.

“Do you think we’re going to run into any problems?” Sarina wonders, knowing the possibility that laid ahead as the baby grew more.

“So far, your uterus and the baby are getting along nicely. Everything checks out as to where it’s supposed to be. However, I do understand why you were told those reasons at the beginning from doctors with the shape that you are. I want to always give my patients the best hope possible, and believe me, I want to see this work out for you both. However, I am still highly concerned depending what happens in the growth moving forward. I wouldn’t downplay the risk yet.” Sarina takes a deep breath, nodding her head. She couldn’t let the fear show, or the tears show in being afraid of the worst happening after everything she’d been through so far.

“Okay, I understand. We’ll keep watching for warning signs and follow your orders.”

“With these ultrasounds, you’re going to continue to see the baby grow more and learn more about this baby. Obviously, one of the things that is going to come up is gender. As early as the 20 week mark, we can sometimes tell a couple the gender of their baby. Have you guys discussed if you would like to know ahead of time or not?” They both shake their head no.

“I already know it’s a girl anyway,” Chase comments, earning an eye roll from Sarina.

“He’s been saying that for the past four weeks,” she informs Dr. Grayson as she just smiles back in return.

“Sometimes intuition is right, and sometimes it’s not. I wouldn’t advise buying any clothes based on that feeling, though, as I’ve seen many parents be wrong. I’ll let you guys think about the gender situation, then, and you can let me know if you’re wanting to learn ahead of time.” Chase already knew that he’d once again leave that up to Sarina, once again not focused on the minor details. Besides, despite the warnings, he believed in his own intuition. “The last time you guys saw me, we discussed doing the MSAFP test to screen for birth defects and more. Are we moving forward with that?”

“We’d like to be prepared as much as possible,” Sarina reveals, remembering the conversation they had earlier in the week. “So absolutely, I would like to get the test done.”

“Okay then….” Dr. Grayson stands up, opening the cabinet. “So the results will take a week to two to get. I just need to get some blood from you.” Sarina squirms a little in seeing the needle pulled from the cupboard.

“Lovely….”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 138: Lucas Oil 150

Friday, November 9 – ISM Raceway

Chase stands back, smiling as he watches Sarina take the required photos. She had done her job, laying down a perfect lap to snag the pole for the truck race later on that night. Step one complete. Now it was just up to him to do the same, followed by hopefully a celebration.

“Congratulations,” he says as she walks over once done the last shot, wrapping her arms around him immediately. “Easy….” He then rubs her back as she buries her head in his neck.

“I don’t care about the pole, I don’t care about tonight,” she starts as she looks into his eyes. “All that matters to me right now is that you’re okay.” He then pulls her back close, continuing to rub her back.

“I’m okay. We figured it out in time. Breathe…” She feels a couple tears roll down her cheeks, which immediately Chase reaches over to wipe away as he felt them fall on his shoulder.

“I was so scared. I literally practically fell apart in Rudy’s arms waiting to hear that everything was oka-”

“And it is, Sarina. It would’ve worked out no matter what. We had a plan no matter the situation. I’m okay.” He keeps her held close, debating if he would’ve followed through with Alison’s note. Would he been easily able to accept what she had to offer knowing everybody would be okay? “You don’t need to worr-”

“I can’t help but worry with her crazy ass on the loose. I love you, I care about you, and I want everything to be perfect for us, and…” He caught where she was going immediately, as he kept his hands rubbing her back to resist reaching there again.

“I know, and I love you, too. That’s why I want you to breathe, calm down, and not stress. It’s not good for you.” She smiles a little.

“Look at you, right back to caring for me as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, you just stared a bomb in the face like it was nothing.” It wasn’t quite nothing, but he wasn’t ready to admit that to her in wanting to keep her calm.

“I knew in my heart, I believed that it would work out. it’s meant to be, right?” She nods her head.

“I don’t know what I would’ve done without Rudy, if I’m being honest. I probably would’ve came running and sent everyone into a panic and went completely nuts.” Chase easily nodded his head, remembering when he sent the text message.

“That’s why I wanted you to stay with Rudy so he could keep you calm, and somewhat distracted.” Rudy had certainly accomplished that, as they reviewed over notes while discussing things – ultimately finding the secret to this pole.

“Trust me, he did a good job. He actually gave me some advice that I can really take to heart. I confessed some worries, and I was genuinely surprised but happy about what he said to me in return. Heck, even Todd said that I found the sweet side of him.” Chase had to chuckle, remembering everyone’s reservations at the beginning of the season.

“Kyle doesn’t hire people for stupid reasons.” She nods her head, remembering how everybody offered tips of confidence when she was curious how it’d play out, and ready to ask for Marcus back.

“I wouldn’t change things now. I mean, in some ways, I can’t thank Rudy enough for what he’s done.” Chase was willing to stand there and talk with her all day, but he also knew that the schedule wouldn’t allow that.

“I’ve got to go qualify….” She then slowly lets him go, only to clutch his hand tightly.

“I’m coming with you.” He looks at her a little surprised, but wasn’t ready to argue as the couple walked out to pit road together.

Sarina walks up behind him, wrapping her arms around as she lays her head on his shoulder. She had just gotten back from the truck series driver’s meeting, and was surprised to not see him in her hauler. They had agreed following qualifying, she’d go to the meeting and they’d meet back at her hauler before heading out to pit road for the truck race.

“Are you okay?” She questions, as he lets out a sigh.

“Is it okay to be disappointed in qualifying second?” He offers, and she couldn’t help but smile in response.

“You’re asking a fellow racecar driver, who tries to find the edge even more so than you always do. So what do you think my obvious answer will be, Chase?” Chase had to chuckle as he had seen enough of her frustrated incidents to know better.

“With how we practiced and how the first round felt, I told Alan that we had a good car and he had done everything right. It just felt like a pole winning car that would do what I wanted. But I just missed corner three – or one, or whatever – a little and boom, we’re second.” She had to chuckle at the corner comment, knowing that everybody’s feedback was all over the place with ISM switching the front stretch to the back, and vise versa.

“Second isn’t bad, and at least it’s not Sunday….” He nodded his head, knowing that she had a point.

“Qualifying has never been my strong suit, and I so badly want to get a non-restrictor plate pole. Today was my shot and I blew it..” She rubs his shoulders, knowing the frustration was not only coming from that, but rather the fact it was win or be done this weekend.

“You’ll make up for it on Sunday when you do everything right and end the day in your rightful place. Believe in yourself, believe in Alan, and #di9 hard because this team is behind you all the way.” She then kisses his cheek, causing him to look back over his shoulder at her.

“Look at you dropping the advice….” She knew what he was referencing, as it was certainly a change in attitude compared to the beginning of the year.

“I guess you could say that your influence on me is paying off.” He then turns around to face her, keeping her held close.

“While that may be the case, I want to make sure you’re not losing yourself in the process. I don’t want you to change. I love every  bit of you the way you are.” He then leans in, kissing her lips, which she easily accepts. “Shouldn’t be you getting ready for driver introductions and a race?”

“I couldn’t go out there without my man there for support.” He smiles, taking her hand as they head out of the garage area together.

They made a quick stop at the hauler – allowing him to change and a bathroom trip for her – before heading out to pit road for the truck race.

Starting on the pole, Sarina led the first couple of laps, before falling in line to finish the first stage second. Everything looked to be going smoothly until she headed down pit road, with the crew performing a slow stop, causing her to fall back to 19th for the restart.

“Of course…” Chase comments to himself, knowing that the night couldn’t go smoothly in trying to lock up her Championship 4 chances. It also wasn’t the first mistake by the pit crew this year, either, and it was getting to be a bit of a pain. Why hadn’t Kyle and Rudy addressed this yet?

Taking a deep breath, Chase kept himself calm as while it was a short race, there was still plenty of time for her to get back up there as she had a fast truck underneath her. On top of that, she just needed a decent finish; no heroics were necessary to make the Championship 4.

The climb back through the field would come naturally, with Sarina making her way back up to eighth by the end of the second stage. Now running back in the top-10 and the math looking promising, he could relax a little for the final sprint.

The pit crew redeemed themselves, getting her up to fifth for the restart. She also kept doing her job behind the wheel, moving up to third by the time the caution flew with 22 laps to go for John Hunter Nemechek spinning out of the lead.

“Never change bud,” Rudy comments quietly, earning a chuckle from Chase.

However, that quickly disappeared to be replaced by nerves. Late race restarts never seemed to go in Sarina’s favor and they couldn’t afford that to happen again. This time, though, she did her job once again as she was able to take the lead and began to cruise away from the field. Everything looked to be in their favor for a victory as she was out to a two-second lead, when the caution came out with eight laps to go for Riley Herbst going around on the frontstretch.

“Are you kidding me?!?” Chase questions, with a long sigh. Things just couldn’t go simply as planned.

The restart would see her get stuck in a side-by-side battle with Grant Enfinger for the lead, including some contact as they leaned on each other. That would allow Brett Moffitt to get the run down the frontstretch, using the dog leg to get by the pair of them.

Sarina was able to hold on, though, finishing second. most importantly, she was qualified for the Championship 4 next weekend at Homestead.

“Nice job,” he tells her after the race, handing her a cold bottle of water, which she immediately drinks. “You did a good job all night, fighting hard and staying focused to get the job done. I was especially proud of how you handled the adversity.”

“We had to do one job tonight and I wasn’t going to fail at that,” she offers, handing him back the empty bottle. He then glances over a little surprised. “It’s warm in the desert.”

“Do you want another one?” She shakes her head no immediately. “Are you sur-”

“What did I tell you about constantly worrying about me?” He then lets out a sigh.

“And what did I say about that as well?”

“Ah, look at the cute couple feuding,” Rudy comments as he walks over, offering a hug for Sarina. “Nice driving all night. You make me proud. Let’s do the same next week.” She nods her head in agreement.

Saturday, November 10 – ISM Raceway

Sarina glances up from her corner in the garage stall, smiling as she watches Chase closely. She could sit there all day and just stare as every butterfly fluttered inside her as she did so each time.

She had caught herself staring at his lips, licking her own in knowing how well they tasted, while he was talking with the crew guys in what they needed to do to be faster during the next session. They weren’t that bad off, though, having timed in sixth quickest.

She also caught herself letting her eyes trail down the full length of him, from those perfectly toned arms that held her strongly, to the perfect shaped ass, as he was looking over the car in-between runs.

Let’s face it – she was one spoiled girl, and she wasn’t going to forget that, or let him out of sight. Certainly sitting in the motorcoach or trailer would be more comfortable, but having a set of eyes locked him was certainly more satisfying.

“What are you doing?” Jordan asks, snapping her out of the thoughts as she looks back down at her Ipad. She couldn’t let on that she was checking him out the entire hour long practice, and half-hour since it was over.

“Figuring out wedding venue plans,” she answers, earning a curious glance from the interior mechanic. With Jordan not having much to do while the rest of the guys worked on the mechanics of the car, it usually left him to spending time with Sarina.

“I thought you had everything plan-”

“The venue called earlier this week, and told us there was a double-booking by accident. They took the first one whom booked, which was not us. So now we need to re-plan the venue.” Jordan was taken back by the news, however didn’t see it as complicated.

“Couldn’t you just choose another cabin in Colorado?” She shakes her head no, which brought another glance of confusion from Jordan.

“Nothing else seems to work, and really, having a chance to re-plan made me reconsider everything. Well, actually, it made Chase reconsider having a wedding in Colorado since that’s our getaway spot, where we go when we want to leave everything behind. Do we want to bring everybody there?” Jordan could understand where they were coming from.

“So what are the options?” She then shows him the Ipad, which had included a rough list that she had drafted over the course of the past couple days. “So you’re doing a home wedding now.”

“It makes sense to do it close to everybody that we love, and obviously we want to be special in how we plan this. It’s also easier on travel since it’s the off-season, and well….” She then pauses, as she couldn’t divulge the final reason in her pregnancy quite yet. What could she use as an excuse instead? “My maid of honor Lindsay is eight months pregnant so I want to make it easy on her, too.”

“I can’t argue with any of those points, to be honest. I was actually surprised originally when the invitation said Colorado so hearing it’s back home is welcoming.” She smiles as she knew there was no way she’d let this wedding go off without key members of Chase’s team there. They had been instrumental in helping the couple during the tough moments, and they deserved to witness the celebration. “Georgia or North Carolina…..”

“They’re both home for us. We spend so much time in both states, almost split if you ask me. We’re in Dawsonville at least two days a week, and then we’re in North Carolina because of team meetings and commitments. Besides, North Carolina is practically home for me since it’s where I started everything over.” Jordan knew her story, so the connection felt special in return. “We also want to keep it simple, like we are. I’m no Cinderella or Bridezilla, so there’s no way I’m doing one of those all-out insane weddings.”

“Thank Gosh because a bridezilla racecar driver would probably drive everybody insane.” She had to chuckle, knowing that was probably already going to happen with pregnancy symptoms and cravings in the midst of it all. “How traditional do you want to go? Do you both need to get married in a chur-”

“Chase told me he doesn’t care how it gets done, as long as he gets to tell me how he feels, and the words that matter. Ryan suggested City Hall, but that got a smack from Chase.” Jordan shakes his head, not surprised in hearing that from Ryan.

“So we want something special, but it better not be so simple like City Hall….” She slowly nods her head, accepting. “I also can understand wanting privacy, too.”

“Privacy and security are very important, given the fact that Alison has been on the loose.” Jordan nods his head, accepting. The close encounter from yesterday gave him enough warning, if that was really even needed with her history.  “Although hopefully she’s arrested before then, but I’m not holding my breath.”

“I’d hope not as you’d probably pass out by then.” Sarina wanted to chuckle, but couldn’t as it was a brutal realization in how things had gone. Instead, though, a glance back at her list gave her an idea.

“What if I ask my future boss a favor?” Jordan then looks over a little confused. “What if we have the wedding in the Whiskey Town?” While he was confused, it actually started to make sense.

“Dale has the security and privacy with the property, and there’s even a church there, plus a saloon for the reception. I would ask him and see because that’d work, if that’s what you and Chase really want.”

“I’ll ask Chase and see.” Jordan then stands up, knowing the second practice was about to start.

“Where are you having the honeymoon, by the way?” She then stops dead in her tracks, as she shakes her head.

“I don’t know. Probably just head up to Colorado to the cabin and spend some quiet time together.” She knew that’d be a good thing to do as their lives would be crazy next year with a baby and both of them racing, combined with the usual chaos.

When were they going to sneak in some sleep?

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 137: Code 918

Friday, November 9 – ISM Raceway

Sarina was standing by the 18 hauler, sipping on a bottle of water, trying to remember the rules of hydration. It was going to be a long day in the desert with both practices, qualifying, and the race all scheduled for one day. She just needed to pace herself accordingly, and do what she needed to do behind the wheel and everything would be set for Miami.

She then glances over towards her left, surprised to see Chase headed back her way. He had told her that he wanted to catch up with Alan and Josh before practice, but yet instead was coming back to her. What was on his mind?

“Would you like to start off your weekend with some good news?” He offers, as she looks back slightly intrigued. “Shelley was arrested trying to come into the garage area this morning.”

“Seriously?” She questions, earning a nod from Chase as he shows her e-mail. “Arrested on allegations and charges of conspiracy to assault, conspiracy of kidnapping, harassment, and conspiracy….of….sexual…” She then glances slowly up at Chase.

“You can say it.” He then takes a deep breath, thinking back to that day at Talladega. “Sexual assault, although I don’t believe that she had anything to do with what happened there personally.” Sarina hoped not as that’d be just another level of sick and disgusting in this mess. “So they told me that they’re going to try and question her as much as they can in hopes of getting her to reveal Alison’s locations, and any future plans. They’re also not publically announcing as they may use her as bait for Alison.”

“And they expect something like to work? I mean, have they not realized already they’re working with a criminal genius?” Chase then gives her a ‘seriously’ glance. “I know you’re going to tell me that she doesn’t deserve that much credit, that she’s just a little wired different in the head and been lucky. However, you do not escape being arrested twice by accident. You do not escape a mental hospital by accident. You do not go on the run for an entire year without being arrested by accident. Let’s face it, Chase – she’s a genius, an evil genius.”

“I know….” Sarina immediately noticed the change in his tone, reaching out for his hand.

“It’s no secret that you were scared of her before; I remember you telling me that. It’s no secret that she twisted your world so much that you couldn’t think straight – and that’s fine as the same would happen to anybody. You can talk to me about it if the feelings are there, again.” He then shakes his head no. “Yes, you ca-”

“I know I can trust you, but I promise those feelings aren’t there. Instead, I’m focused on doing whatever it takes for you, to take care of you and this baby.” She smiles, though makes sure to hold his hand back so it doesn’t reach while keeping her eyes on his. “Take care of yourself today, okay?”

“The same goes for you, too. You don’t need to always be my superman.” Chase knew that, but he also knew he couldn’t just let everything that happened go. He wasn’t about to let this cycle with Alison continue.

“I care about you. That’s why I can’t help but worr-”

“I’m a big girl, Chase. I can take care of myself. You just focus on the number goal one this weekend – winning. You’ve got a good car, a good crew behind you, and we both know that you have the talent to get the job done. Show the world.”  He had to chuckle as her speech was right out of his playbook for her plenty of times.

“Do what you do best. I love you.” He then gives her a kiss, before heading back off into the garage as she lets out a sigh. While he’d constantly worry about her and the baby, she couldn’t help but do the same with his emotions.

The first of the two practices went smoothly, as Sarina was able to time in second quickest – right behind her teammate Harrison – and felt happy with the handling of the truck. The debrief had also gone quickly, with Rudy taking a focus on trying some stuff to see if they could be even faster during the second session.

“Something seems off….” He comments once they’re done, catching her by surprise. “Yeah, something is off..”

“I’m fin-” She starts, having grown used to people with their comments. It seemed everybody was worried about the pregnant lady in the garage.

“No, that’s a lie Sarina.” The conversation got the attention of the teammates who glanced over.

“We can all see it Sarina,” Todd offers, as Sarina feels her stomach do a flip-flop. Was it that obvious that she was pregnant?

“It’s like your demeanor changed as Chase walked away, and then returned to normal for practice, but has changed back again,” Harrison analyzes, as Sarina looks over surprised. Were her young teammates always watching her that intently?

“Ahhh I think our girl is missing her boo right now.” Sarina just rolls her eyes as Harrison chuckles to Todd’s comment. “Are you infected with an Elliott addiction? Do we need to call Chase so he can make you feel better?”  She shakes her head no.

“It’s not that….” Rudy comments, earning a stern glance from Sarina as she was worried that he’d let the truth slip. While she knew she could trust her teammates, she didn’t need anybody else knowing the truth yet – till after next week that was. “What did Chase tell you earlier, anyway? It looked important.”

“Shelley has been arrested,” Sarina confesses, wanting to say anything to take the suspicion off her pregnancy in her mind. To be honest, though, that was still on her mind at this point. “She’s my aunt by the way, but stopped by the motorcoach last night to share some Alison tidbits, as if she knew privileged information. We put out word to the police, and they got her this morning.”

“So does that mean everything is over?” Todd wonders, and Sarina shakes her head no. Until Alison was locked in a maximum security jail cell, she would never admit to it being over.

“They haven’t found Alison yet. They’re thinking of using Shelley as bait to catch her, or at least get information with the slew of charges that they have coming for her.” She then glances down at her lap, with a sigh. “It just drives me insane that my family is so freaking crazy that they continue to torment me. First my brother, then my cousin, and now my own aunt. I thought I left this chaos behind when I started to establish myself, reset my life as I wanted, and yet here we are in the cycle once again.”

“Sarina…..” Rudy says as he wraps an arm around her to comfort her. “It’s not your fault, any of this. You can’t control or decide the decisions that others make. So you better not be blaming yourself one bit for what anybody has done to this point because it is never your fault. I also know, in my heart, that it will work out for both of you because it’s meant to be. You deserve your happy ending, your forever after.”

“Wow, Rudy does have a heart,” Todd comments, earning a slight chuckle from Harrison.

“With every person in my family seeming to have this, though, it worries me,” Sarina confesses as she looks up at the crew chief. “What if I am a bad mother?” The timing of the question brought shock over the room – Rudy with her mentioning that while trying to keep a secret, and the teammates wondering how that fit into her schedule. However, Harrison and Todd knew that question was really not important right now in seeing how upset Sarina appeared.

“I think you’ll make a wonderful mother when the time is right,” Rudy starts. “You have a very sweet heart. You’re always looking out caring for people, whether it’s Chase and what he’s going through, or your cousin Lindsay. You’re also sweet, and adorable with the fans. Look at how you spend time with the children in the garage, speaking at their level, and giving them extra time. Remember how you handled the situation at media day? Those are all examples that prove to me that you, Sarina Ott, will be an amazing mother. I know you’ll show that child the love that it deserves, and I know he or she will be glad to have you as their mother.”

“Thank you Rudy,” she comments as he gives her a squeeze closer. “I can’t believe I am saying this considering we started the year ready to bite each other’s head off, but I have really enjoyed working with you. I’ve enjoyed each weekend together, and I am going to miss your guidance every week. Thank you for the lessons and advice, on and off the track.” Rudy smiles as he had to admit – working with her was certainly making him a little softer at times.

“Marcus told me that you were special, and I sort of half believed hi-”

“I can understand that after working with Christopher and Eri-”

“But he was right, though. I still say that Christopher has more natural talent behind the wheel in what we’ve seen. However, you’re special in every other sense of the way in who you are, the young lady you’ve become, and everything moving forward. I admire your strength sometimes.” He then gives her a quick wink, knowing what that was in relation to, as she just smiles back in response.

“Good luck with those two next year.” Rudy looks over at the pair, before letting out a long sigh.

“I am going to have my hands full….”

Sarina climbs from the truck, smile firmly planted on her face as she walks over to where Rudy was standing. The changes had worked as they were able to gain speed over the session, giving her even more confidence heading into the night, despite once again being second to Harrison.

“I think we can beat him toni-” She starts, as she grabs a cold bottle of water from the cooler.

“There was a bomb found in the Cup Series garage,” Rudy cuts her off, which causes her to drop the bottle of water immediately, spilling it all down herself as she had loosened the cap.

“A…bomb….” Rudy slowly nods his head as he places a hand on her shoulder.

“It was foun-”

“You don’t need to tell me where it was found because we know who obviously planted it and why!” Rudy then reaches out, placing his other hand on her other shoulder. “Rudy….”

“You need to stay here wit-”

“Spit it out!” He then takes a deep breath, glancing over at the crew members, who scurry back to work rather than staring. “Rudy!”

“The timer is set to a full two hours. They haven’t found a way to deactivate it yet.” Sarina takes a deep breath, trying to remain calm as possible. The fact that there was a timer and they were still looking for a way to turn it off, it meant that it hadn’t gone off to cause any damage.

“So why are we still standing here? Isn’t the obvious to just clear the gara-”

“There’s a camera above with a note. Do something different than normal, and she’ll set it off earlier than scheduled.” Sarina takes a calming deep breath, resisting the urge to run right away as she knew Rudy would grab her anyway. Besides, risking tripping while pregnant wasn’t in the cards, either. “Alan texted me as soon as he found out and told me to keep you here so Chase isn’t worrying about you while trying to focus on practice like normal as they try and figure it out.”

“So we’re just going to pretend nothing is ticking in the garage stall right now?” Rudy slowly nods his head yes.

“They figure they’ll follow the instructions of the note for the duration of practice. If no answer is figured out by the end, they’re going to work with NASCAR on some sort of plan.” Sarina then glances towards the garage area, trying to maintain her composure. “Sarina….”

“Rudy, I’m scared….” A couple tears roll down her cheeks as Rudy pulls her closer, rubbing her back. “I can’t do this. I can’t los-”

“They’re going to figure something out, sweetheart. Everything is going to be okay…”

Chase knew what the note said – follow everything accordingly, or else it’d be activated earlier than scheduled. That meant it was left up to the experts to figure out the defuse process before then while he was supposed to practice as if nothing was going on.

Thankfully, the session had gone smoother than he expected as Alan and the guys had brought a real fast No. 9 Chevrolet, which made his job easy. Despite obviously being distracted, he had managed to post the third quickest lap.

With the session done, he tried to focus on the debrief in the garage stall with the engineers and team, though couldn’t help but glance up from the computer to see what the timer said. Taking a deep breath, time was running short quickly and having heard nothing from the bomb squad wasn’t encouraging.

“What the hell?!?” Tom Gray lets out as the laptop screen goes blank. “Josh!”

“I didn’t do it this time!” Josh confesses, raising both hands in the air innocently.

“I had just about finished putting everything in and it went off. Seriously?!?”

The screen then comes back on, but does not include the notes as Tom originally intended. Instead, it was a blank white screen with typed text in the middle.

“Chase….” Tom slowly says as he backs away from the computer. He knew the IT department would be intrigued and confused to hear what happened today. However, given the familiar ticking sound, the answer to the problem was also obvious.

“Did this just pop up?” Chase asks, and Tom nods his head.

“I was trying to do my not-”

“Please….” Tom takes the sign immediately, backing away to leave the driver with the message that was left on the screen. “Of course you’d do this to me, Alison.”

He then clicks the ‘accept’ box at the bottom of the note, which loaded a map on the screen. He follows the lines, figuring out what each picture meant, trying to figure out everything as quick as possible. He didn’t need to look up to figure out time was running out quickly.

“Bomb squad just called,” Alan states as he walks over with his phone in hand. “I have a series of deactivation instructions. There’s certain wires that need to be cut, and a code that needs to be entered. We only get one chance at the cod-”

“918,” Chase cuts him off immediately. “Look at the bottom of the map. She has that number written in tiny letters at the bottom. It’s got to be the code, and it makes sense. My car number, and then Sarina’s truck number.”

“We only get one chance at thi-”

“We have two chances.” Alan then looks over at him confused. “We have two chances to save all of our lives. I just need to do what she wants.”

“Hell no.” Chase was confused as he looked over at Alan. “That’s what she wants, Chase. Think about it. It’s the same thing that she did to you before. She’s manipulating your feelings, triggering your fears so that she gets what she wan-”

“It’s better than us being dead, though.” Alan knew that, but he also didn’t feel any comfort in having Chase anywhere close to her.

“I’m sticking with the first plan.” Chase shakes his head, feeling all kinds of worry as he watched the crew chief climb up onto the box, reaching the bomb on top. “Read me the instructions, please…”

“I don’t feel comforta-”

“Start reading!” Chase takes a deep breath as he picks up the phone.

“Cut the red wire, followed by the blue wire.” Snatching the wire cutters from his pocket, Alan follows both instructions as requested. “You’re going to cut the orange wire, and then will have 10 seconds to enter the three digit code.”

“Everyone hold your breath.” Alan then snaps the wire, followed by quickly punching in the three-digit code – 9 1 8. Everybody stands frozen around the garage stall, glancing up as they wait to see the result. “Breathe…” Alan then holds up the box, hearing not a single sound from it as he slowly sets it down on the pit cart.

“Nice job.” Chase gives him a quick hug, before Alan carries it out to the officers awaiting outside of the stall. Chase then leans back against the pit cart, letting out a long sigh of relief before taking out his phone to text Sarina.

“Can I go back to my not-” Tom starts and Chase shakes his head no.

“You’re getting a new laptop,” Chase tells him. “Alison just took procession of your screen. Do you think we’re going to let you continue to use that?” Tom slowly shakes his head no. “The police are taking that into evidence, as well. We’ll get you a new lapt-”

“He can use mine,” Josh instructs, opening it up immediately and typing in his password.

“Report the incident to Hendrick’s IT department. Security being compromised is no joke.” Tom nods his head in agreement, having already filed a phone call, as he watches his driver leave the garage stall.

“That was too close to comfort,” Tom offers as Josh takes a step back to let Tom get to work.

“She needs to be caught before it’s too late because I have a feeling it’s only going to get worse from here on out,” Josh comments, causing a glance of fear in return from Tom. “She’s getting impatient and upping her game each weekend. She also knows how to kill-”

“We don’t need a reminder, Josh.” Josh then grabs his checklist off the pit box, ready to get back to work.

Unfortunately, these incidents were becoming a part of the job, and he knew that they couldn’t use the incident as an excuse for not winning Sunday.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 134: AAA Texas 500

Friday, November 2 – Texas Motor Speedway

Ryan was standing there posing for photos, forcing a smile the whole way as his heart was set on one thing – Lindsay. Where was she? Could he trust Chase’s words? When would they find her?

“I’ve got something!” A voice interrupts everything, catching Ryan’s attention immediately. He looks over, watching Chase walk over and unfold a note. “It was left by my hauler, probably during qualifying. But it has the coordinates.”

“Let’s go,” Ryan states, ignoring all the hustle around them as he follows Chase back out of victory lane.

“You’re going to bring that?” Ryan knew the rifle was in his hands for winning the pole, and it remained there for good reason.

“There was a good motivation for winning the pole. We can take care of business.” Chase wanted to be caught off-guard by the attitude, but totally understood it as they climbed in the rental car together.

“Buckle up and hold on children,” were the instructions from the front seat as the drivers did as instructed, while Alan peeled out of the parking lot, following the instructions in the GPS.

“Should we trust his driving?” Ryan questions, and Chase could only shrug his shoulders.

It didn’t take them long to reach their destination, which only earned a couple glances of confusion. The three climbed out of the car, Ryan still clutching tightly onto the rifle, as they walked closer to the building.

“Unit 9 – surprise surprise,” Chase states, looking back over the note.

They worked their way down the warehouse units, finally reaching the ninth. The pair glanced at each other, before Chase reached the door knob. It easily turned, as another glance was traded.

“Hello?!?” Chase called out as he entered first, slowly, hands in the air, half-expecting Alison to come out of nowhere and grab him. However, not a single voice could be heard. “Hello?”

“Lindsay!!” Ryan lets out as he followed Chase through the door, flicking on the light switch, seeing her tied up in the middle of the room. Ryan immediately runs over, undoing the mouth, followed by working on the ropes. “Are you okay?”

“My… stomach….” Lindsay slowly says as she takes a deep breath. As soon as her hands were loose, they found their way there immediately. “It hurts…” Ryan places his hands on top of hers.

“You’re going to be okay…” He then runs his hands down her shoulders, before resting back once again on top of hers. “You’re going to be okay, and the baby will be okay”

“She ran as soon as I complained of stomach pain, saying she never meant to hurt the baby….” Chase closes his eyes, remembering the notes that were left.

“She lost her own baby and regretted that pain,” Chase tells them. “She may be twisted, insane, and willing to do whatever it takes to get to me, but she will not harm a baby to do so. I am going to call for help, okay?” Ryan simply nods his head as he keeps his eyes locked on Lindsay’s, praying for the best.

Chase climbs the steps of the pit box, letting out a sigh as he grabs his headset from Rudy.

“Is Lindsay is okay?” Rudy asks, having heard from Sarina that was where Chase was.

“Yeah, her and the baby are fine,” Chase answers. “Go ahead and tell Sarina, please…” Rudy nods his head, accepting, before relaying the message over the radio.

“You’re not lyi-” Kyle starts, earning a glance from the young driver, who shakes his head no.

“She was in some pain, but the doctor says that she’ll be okay. The pain came from stress, and a bit of Braxton hicks.” Kyle nods his head, remembering when Samantha went through her first round of those. “She needs to be strictly on bed rest for a couple days, but everything will be fine, thankfully.” Kyle then palces a hand on his shoulders.

“And you’re okay, right?” Chase simply nods his head as he takes a deep breath.

“I’m just glad that she’s okay…..”

Starting second, Sarina put together a solid opening stage, running up front en route to a sixth-place finish. However, the race was set to go down the tube over the next several laps. She would lose several positions on pit road due to a fueling issue, followed by contact on track with Johnny Sauter.

“Are you flipping serious?” She questions on the radio, immediately growing frustrated, as the damage was significant.

Rudy got her to bring the truck down pit road a couple different times, continuing to make repairs to the damage, sending her back out to restart 21st. She would make her way back up to 10th by the end of the second stage, but was unable to make anymore ground up through the final stage.

Climbing out of the truck post-race, she was admittedly frustrated with how the night played out. However, that wasn’t the only thing on her mind as she was rather concerned about her best friend.

“Are you sure her and the baby are okay?” She questions Chase once she is done interviews.

“As long as she stays on bed rest and doesn’t stress out anymore, she’ll be fine,” Chase answers. “Ryan texted me that the pains have already died down, and she’s been chilling comfortably all night in his arms in the motorcoach.” Sarina nods her head, accepting.

“I can’t imagine going through something like that. I mean, what if something happ-”

“Stop right now.” He then places a finger on her lips. “Let’s just be thankful that she and the baby are alright, okay? Just like we’re thankful that your pregnancy has gone smoothly so far. Alison isn’t going to touch you, or Lindsay for that matter again.”

“How can you be so sure of that?” Chase wasn’t quite certain, but he knew he was going to do whatever it took.

“We’re putting the right protective measures in place. We’ll be fine….”

Saturday, November 3 – Texas Motor Speedway

The first of the two practices hadn’t gone as planned, with Chase once again timing in only 19th quickest. The lack of speed brought forth a lengthy debrief for driver, crew chief, and the rest of the team in the hauler as they tried to figure out what was missing on the No. 9 Chevrolet.

“Where’s Sarina, anyway?” Alan questions as they finish up, ready to leave the hauler and get set for the second practice.

“She’s back with Lindsay,” Chase offers. “Lindsay is stuck on bed rest, and Sarina didn’t want her to be by herself so they’re having some girl time. Personally, I can’t complain….” Alan nodded his head, remembering their discussion about Sarina possibly pushing herself too much sometimes last week.

“Was she mad that you let her sleep in last week?” Chase shakes his head no. “That’s progress.”

“She’s understanding that she needs to take care of herself for the baby.” Chase and Alan then walk through the garage area, only freezing to glance up at the BIG HOSS television screen on the infield. “Of course….”

“Chase….” Alan places a hand on his shoulder, as the video had caught his attention as well. Alison had managed to hack the Texas Motor Speedway system, turning off coverage of XFINITY Series qualifying to instead show a video reel that included stuff from the motorcoach camera hacking at Talladega, along with videos that she had saved of previous attacks.

“How does she continually get away with crap like that? You’re telling me that she snuck around their security and all that to do that?” Alan could only shake his head, feeling disgusted. “Someone had to have seen her. Someone had to have wondered what she was doing.”

“She was working with someone on the inside, before…” Chase didn’t even want to think about the possibility, knowing the access that could grant depending who it was. However, it made sense with what she was able to do on a weekly basis.

“I just want to get in the car and focus on making it better.” Chase then walks into the garage stall, fixing his firesuit as he goes to climb in the car.

“Chase, are you sure that you’re in the right fra-”

“Let’s just focus on our job, please.” Alan takes a careful deep breath. He hated turning moments into preaching like this with Chase.

“I’m just worried about how you’re fee-”

“To tell you the truth, I’m not surprised anymore. She has done everything in the play book pretty much, Alan. I’m done letting her run my life and my feelings. I’m done letting her get away with everything. Can we please just focus?” Alan takes another deep breath, giving a nod of the head in return. “Thank you.”

“Ugh….” Sarina lets out as the second practice finishes with Chase ranked 17th on the board. “I know I shouldn’t read much into the score sheet, but with no speed, how the heck are we supposed to run up front tomorrow and win?”

“What do you always tell me?” Lindsay questions as she glances over at her best friend.

“Have faith as he’ll di9 his away out of this hole.” Lindsay then just simply smiles in return as Sarina lets out a sigh. “I’m trying, but it’s so hard when you see that the team is struggling in practice, on top of everything that is going on.”

“Did they catch anything with her video deal?” Sarina lets out a sigh, shaking her head no. “I just don’t get how she can sneak around.”

“Alan says she may have someone helping her again.” Lindsay then made a disgusted face.

“Who in their right mind would help a freako like her?” Sarina could only chuckle in response, shrugging her shoulders. “I will say something felt weird about yesterday, though. Like there was some familiarity to her.”

“But yet you never crossed paths with Alison before, did you?” Lindsay shakes her head no, having avoided everything the first time around. She could attribute that to just having started dating Ryan then.

“But it still almost felt like I knew the person as I really almost recognized the voice.” Sarina already had an explanation in her mind.

“You were in the court room when she pled her cas-”

“I know, and it didn’t sound like that, but yet different and familiar.” Sarina was now getting a little confused herself.

“Were you standing on pit road when Britney Teals, or fake Britney bitch as I call her, was there?” Lindsay shakes her head no. “So it can’t be the fact that she’s using that voice…”

“No, I’m talking real familiar. Like family familiar, Sarina.” The confusion only grew more for Sarina – until she was hit with a realization.

“Shelley?” Lindsay’s jaw slowly dropped as she nodded her head. “She wasn’t happy about our last meeting, or the fact that I have blocked her. But do you think she’d go as far as helping Alison because of that?”

“We do have a strange family, even if Shelley never got involved before. If you’re looking for loose ends, I would have that checked out.” Sarina was ready to pass this by as another dead-on, but knew she owed it to Lindsay to follow through.

“I’ll make mention of it to the investigator..” Sarina then sends a text message, making sure it went to both Chase and the investigator. Perhaps they were finally getting a step ahead of Alison.

Sunday, November 3 – Texas Motor Speedway

Despite concerns about the car before the race, Chase was able to make his way forward once the race started. However, it wasn’t the progress they wanted as once he hit the top-10 at the start of the second stage, he was unable to go much further, stuck there for the rest of the day. Thankfully, he got a good restart at the end, able to make up some ground to finish sixth. But still, it wasn’t the win they needed now.

“Can you talk about your day?” The reporter asks as Chase takes a deep breath.

“Yeah, just a really frustrating race track ever since they ruined it two years ago,” he answers. “I hate that.”

“You pretty much have to win at Phoenix now.” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that more than anyone else. It’s why it made today that much more frustrating despite the comeback to finish strong. “Do you feel pretty confident going in there having that one goal in mind?”

“I mean, yeah, I feel better about Phoenix than I did about today, for sure. Yeah, we’ll see. I mean, I don’t know till we get there. Yeah, tough spot to be in. But ultimately you got to be in a must‑win situation at Homestead if you ever make it down there, so you might as well get used to it and like it.”

“It looked like it was hard to pass out there for everybody. Was it as hard as it looked?” Chase nods his head.

“Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I don’t know what genius decided to pave this place or take the banking out of one and two. Not a good move for the entertainment factor, in my opinion.”

He then makes his way over to where Sarina was waiting on pit road, with Bill.

“Can we get out of here?” He questions, earning a nod of approval from both parties.

“We’re just waiting on Ryan,” Bill answers, as Chase lets out a sigh. The sooner he was out of Texas, the better.

Sunday, November 3 – Colorado

Chase wraps his arms around Sarina, kissing her cheek, before laying back on the couch. She easily got snuggled up against him, only trading a smile with Lindsay as she curled up with Ryan.

“Mom could’ve come….” Chase reasons with his dad as Bill shakes his head no.

“She didn’t want to come on this little escape this time,” Bill tells him.

“I just feel bad as we’re all cuddling and you….well….” Max then hops up in Bill’s lap.

“I’ve got the dog. That should matter….” Chase could only chuckle back in response.

“This was a really good idea,” Sarina comments, only to earn another quick kiss from Chase. He couldn’t deny that it was nice to get away from everybody and the chaos for a bit, and get some of the pressure that he was feeling right off of his back.

“I told you that we could always come here if you needed to get away,” he recalls, as she smirks.

“I just can’t wait to come back here in December and marry you….” He smiles as he had to admit that he was getting more excited with the date looming that much more closer.

“I can’t wait to call you Ms. Sarina Elliott.” She had to smile, and swoon a little at hearing the mere mention of the name.

“I thought we could stop by the spot, and make sure everything is good to go while we’re here.” Chase nods his head, easily accepting. That’d be a good distraction rather than thinking about Alison or everything on track right now.

“Oh, so you’re finally going to let your friends in on the details?” Ryan questions, with Bill looking over his way.

“Try also sharing with the parents of the groom finally, too,” Bill adds, earning a laugh from Chase and Sarina. They had been quiet about a lot of details, wanting to keep the planning as private as possible. They wanted to make sure everything was done the way they wanted, without everybody trying to throw in their sense.

“All the planning is done so I guess we could share,” Sarina quietly reveals as she looks back at Chase. “I mean, I think it’s beyond perfect.”

“Only the best for my princess,” he tells her, giving her another kiss. Max then barks, catching their attention. “Is there a problem, sir?”

“I think the dog is jealous,” Bill comments as Max lets out another bark.

“How did you manage to get him away from Mom, by the way?” Bill then looks down at the puppy.

“Do you want to go tell Chase what you did?” Max then jumps off the chair, burying his head in the blanket by the fire. “He decided that Bella was a chew toy, and ripped her head off.” Chase then looks over surprised, knowing that was one of Cindy’s special bears. “Needless to say, it was come with daddy or be stuck in the dog house all week.”

“I bet she would’ve let him out by mid-week….” Bill chuckles, nodding his head in agreement.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 125: Fr8Auctions.com 250

Saturday, October 13 – Talladega Superspeedway

Sarina walks out of the bathroom after grabbing a quick shower, walking up behind Chase in the small kitchen, wrapping her arms around him. He slightly jumps at her initial touch, though takes a deep breath calming immediately.

“Sorry,” she apologizes right away as he turns around to face her.

“It’s okay,” he tells her, as he wipes a piece of wet hair out of her face. “I was just caught off-guard.” She felt herself lost in his eyes, letting her mind wander to every thought possible.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” He nods his head, accepting. “If it’s still bugging you, it wouldn’t hurt to talk to Ala-”

“I told you that I’m fine.” He then takes a deep breath, remembering his thoughts from the night before, remembering how getting to sleep had been more challenging than normal. “There’s one thought that leaves me puzzled, though. Every other time we’ve met together, she wanted me to see her face, her expressions, and feel everything; that was part of her psychological twisted self.  She was wearing a black mask on Friday, on top of the dyed hair.”

“Do you think that’s how she’s getting around?” Chase shrugs his shoulders, unsure. It would make sense as to why nobody would recognize her, but yet wouldn’t someone walking around masked catch everybody off-guard? “We’ve seen stranger things here at Dega.” He had to chuckle, remembering one of their trips through the campground another year that left them wandering. “Either way, they’re going to find her.”

“I hope you’re right…” Chase then gave her a quick kiss, before retreating to the back to grab a t-shirt and jeans, before taking his turn in the shower.

Sarina was set on focusing on the race ahead that day, along with taking care of Chase, but she couldn’t help but think back to what he said. Something about blond hair didn’t sit right with her. Sarina also felt stumped on the usage of the mask, as she remembered how Alison never hid who it was before, using that to her twisted advantage at times.

Though as quick as the thoughts flooded through, they immediately escaped without any trace as there was no way to describe it other than the fact that Alison was crazy.

Sarina focused back on getting ready, drying and putting her hair up on a pony tail, as she watched Chase come out of the bathroom shortly after dressed.

“Are you sure about today?” She asks, as she begins to slip her firesuit on. She knew she might as well change now, given that she’d have to qualify as soon as they got to pit road.

“Absolutely,” he answers as he walks over, placing his hands on her shoulders. “I’ll be fine. I know you can take care of yourself, and the baby. We’ll be fine. Do your thing.” He then gives her another kiss, taking a deep breath as he wished the butterflies would quit.

Sarina makes her way down pit road, surprised that the session hadn’t started yet with all of the trucks still on pit road. A glance at the time told her the session should’ve started at least a half hour ago.

“What’s the delay?” She questions as she walks up to Rudy Fugle, who stood there with his arms crossed.

“Officials are busy in the garage area,” he answers. “Something about a mysterious package, possible bomb.” Sarina immediately felt her stomach flip upside down, if possible. “What’s wrong?”

“Alison is running around…” She then pulls out her phone, wasting no time in sending Chase a text message as the pair had separated once reaching the garage area, with Chase going to see the team for a pre-practice team.

“Do you really think that she’s walking around here?” Sarina slowly glances up, nodding her head. She wanted to keep the promise to Chase, but also didn’t want to make the current worry any less apparent. “Everybody has an eye out for her. Do you really think that she wou-”

“Chase was late coming back yesterday after practice because he saw her.” Rudy slowly takes a deep breath, thousands of theories on the mind as he knew of the past there.

“Is everyth-”

“Nothing to worry about.” Rudy was caught off-guard by how quickly she answered, but wasn’t going to dwell on that. There was already enough on the line with today’s race. “Chase texted back that everyone is fine. Package left in the middle of the garage contained the bomb, but it was set to time out or anything.”

“So in other words, she was set to plant it, but something scared her off?” Sarina nods her head, as she texts Chase back. “Probably Jimmie and Matt going for their early morning bike ride.”

“Maybe…” She then places her phone in her pocket as she walks up to the truck, taking a deep breath.

“Are you okay?” She nods her head as Rudy places a hand on her shoulder. “I normally let you deal with your own stuff by yourself, but I want to say this to you right now. You don’t need to always be this strong perfect individual on the outside. It’s okay to show what you may deem weakness. It’s okay to give up on that championship dream. The team would understand. I would understand. You’ll have many chances in the future to get another title.”

“I appreciate that, but trust me, I’m fine. I’m committed to this, and that includes today at Talladega.”

While they had hoped to qualify up in the top-five with their teammates, she’d ultimately end the session ranked 13th on the board.

Alison walks through the garage area, flicking her hair around, almost giggling to herself. It was amazing to be the most wanted person in the country, but yet not even one person stopping you as you walked from place to place. The plan to change everything had worked out perfectly as she had been able to stare at Chase in close range, without any fear of something being said. She even stood back and admired as he broke down the practice session – which he ended 23rd on the charts – with his crew chief.

However, she couldn’t remain there all day. She had another plan up her sleeve before the day was over. She makes her way through the garage area, only stopping when someone called her name.

“You’re one of the Hooters calendar girls, right?” She heard and she simply nodded her head.

“Yeah, that’s me, Britney Teals,” she replies with a smile. “What’s your name?”

“Alexis.” She then glanced down the little girl, realizing that she couldn’t be no more than 15 years old. “I was wondering if I could get your autograph. I missed it a couple weeks ago at the signing.” Even better than not being locked up was the fame that she had found herself.

“Absolutely.” She takes the marker from the little girl, signing her name on the calendar page that now adorned her face and body, before handing it back to her. “Thank you for coming out this weekend, and make sure to cheer our man Chase.”

“Even though my brother teases me all the time that I should cheer Ryan instead, I won’t stop cheering for him.” She then gives the little girl a high-five before continuing her walk through the garage area.

“Ryan isn’t too shabby of a guy at all, but he’s nothing like Chase….”

She then flashes her hard card, making her way into the driver motorcoach lot. She could tell which was his from a mile away, and couldn’t help but smirk at her plan that she was about to endeavor upon.

Taking another glance around to make sure nobody was watching, she types the passcode in that she remembered him entering while at Richmond a couple weeks ago. Her smirk only widened when the door clicked open.

Making her way inside, bag in hand, she sets it on the table before glancing around. Nodding her head, approving of her own plan, she then took the box out of the bag.

Slowly opening it, she had to admire the tech who was able to build these cameras, keeping them as minimal in size – just small hockey pucks – but with the ability to watch 24/7 from afar.

She then slowly plants a total of four around the motorcoach in different places, carefully choosing her locations to get the views that she craved so badly of him.

Pleased with her work, she emerges from the motorcoach, bag in hand, closing the door and entering the passcode to re-lock the motorcoach.

“Sarina?” She hears, immediately freezing, as she glances around the corner. She quickly runs a series of driver names and faces through her mind, having seen that person before.

“Justin Haley, right?” She questions, and the young man simply nods his head in return.

“You’re not Sarina….” She could almost already see the grin forming on Justin’s face. Ah yes, she remembered his comments from victory lane at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park after Sarina had wrecked with Todd; needless to say, he wasn’t much of her fan. So obviously seeing another woman hanging with Chase gave the man some ideas – probably.

“I definitely wish that I was her some days as she’s got life made right now. But no, I’m a close friends of theirs, though. Chase forgot a couple things back here so I offered to come get them before the truck race started. Wait – don’t you have to be out there?” Justin gives her a small chuckle in response.

“Hence why I’m heading to driver introductions now. Shall I walk you out?” While it was tempting to accept the offer as he seemed nice, she didn’t need to do anything that’d gain more suspicion.

“I got to stop in the Cup garage on the way and see – shoot, I can’t remember which crew member Chase said it was. probably Jordan, but anyway, I need to see him. We’ll catch up another time, okay?” Justin nods his head, watching her head the other direction.

He was almost set to believe something was odd about her appearance in the motorcoach lot and that conversation, and he knew there were some things going on there with some chick named Alison on the loose from the police. However, it wasn’t the first time a friend of a driver had ran back to get something or seemed strange, so why should he worry? It wasn’t his time or place to get involved in Sarina’s life, anyway.

With his nerves peaked in all directions, Chase even debated taking a seat on the No. 18 pit box for the truck race that afternoon. However, he didn’t need any more questions from others so he took his usual spot behind Rudy. He also watched Kyle come up and join him, surprised that he wasn’t sitting on David’s pit box considering the Gillilands were both starting up front.

“You can’t hide your nerves, Chase…” Kyle comments, as he picks up his headset. “Take a deep breath. She’s smart, and she knows how to run these races. Rudy also knows what’s at stake. We’ll be fine…”

“I know,” Chase replies, having ran that thought through his head numerous times that afternoon already. “I just want this afternoon over with already.”

With starting mid-pack and knowing what was on the line – more so points wise, Rudy Fugle had decided pre-race to go with a conservative strategy. He talked about with Sarina on pit road before the event, and so far, she was following suit with the plan. She ran mid-pack through the first two stages, high enough that the points worked in their favor but not to be right in the middle of the storm.

Entering the final stage, the crew chief planned to stick to the same strategy, reminding her of that over the radio as they got it started. She followed the instructions given, watching her gap to those in front of her, while making sure to choose her lines carefully.

With 42 laps to go, a pair of trucks would get together further ahead of her, and from there on, all hell broke loose. Their strategy worked, though, as she was able to duck to the bottom, escaping without a single scratch on the No. 18 truck.

With the field under the red flag, Rudy immediately began looking over the data with the engineers. No matter what they played out, everything came up with a big plus sign.

“We’re in no matter what,” he tells Kyle and Chase, who still sat behind him.

The news was an instant relief to them both, especially Chase, as it made the next set of laps possibly less of worry in knowing that Sarina didn’t need to push it if necessary. They could just get out there, take whatever they got, and challenge the next round like they knew how.

“So with that wreck taking out several guys, I am happy to say our strategy has worked,” Rudy starts over the radio as the red remained out. “You’re into the next round. Way to go. Round of 6, here we come!”

“Nice call on the strategy Rudy,” Sarina offers in return, obviously sharing the excitement that the team experienced with the news. It was nice to see their hard work pay off.

“So with me not needing you to hit a number or anything, these next 35 laps or so will be all up to you and what you want to do. Less trucks that can actually do something mean your chances may be better, but…” Rudy took a deep breath, careful how he worded it with everyone listening. “It’s your call in what you choose to do. We accomplished our goal and that’s what matters today.” Sarina understood where he was going with the comment, but she also knew that she couldn’t just ride around any longer as it’d driven her nuts.

“Let’s go snag a win, Rudy!” As soon as the words escaped her lips, Chase’s nerves picked up with the leg beginning to tap involuntarily on the pit box.

With a focus purely on winning, it didn’t take her long to begin weaving her way through traffic after the restart, gaining spots easily. Moving into second with five laps to go, she’d make her move to the bottom down the backstretch, taking the top spot.

“Three to go,” Tony Hirchman tells her over the radio. “Double wide behind you.”

The nerves only seemingly increased helplessly on the pit box in watching the countdown begin as it was two to go, followed by the field coming around for the white flag. Chase could only bite his tongue, in knowing that both Justin and Timothy would try anything for the win.

Down the backstretch, the jostling of the lines continued, with Sarina trying to balance holding off both of them in her mirror. As she made her way back to the bottom lane, Timothy Peters caught the edge of the 18 truck, sending her around, across Haley’s bumper, into the outside wall.

“Fuck!” Kyle let out as he watched the incident on the monitor.

“Seriously?” Chase questions out-loud, anger coming out immediately in the move that Timothy attempted to make with no room there. However, the next feeling was concern as he ran his hands over his face. “No…” Kyle sits down, wrapping both arms around for comfort, knowing what Chase was thinking immediately.

“It’s going to be okay….”

Sarina sat in the truck, taking a deep breath as she tried to keep herself calm as possible. She could hear the question over the radio from Rudy, though her mind wasn’t anywhere near that.

“I’m….okay,” she managed to let out as her hand found its way to the button, with the words barely squeaking out of her mouth. She then reached over, letting the window net down.

Her hands then immediately fell on her stomach, as she continued to focus on deep breaths.

All she could think about was the worst case scenario as she knew the force of the hit, having felt the full blunt impact of the front of the truck into the wall. However, there was no cramping to be felt. She then slowly undid her firesuit, reaching inside to feel if she was bleeding, but hand came back out clean as ever.

That still didn’t give her the comfort she desired, as the tears began to fall, figuring in her mind that she certainly had caused the worst happen. Her greed over wanting that win at Talladega, her drive through the field, rather than sticking to Rudy’s original strategy, had now cost her everything.

Tears continue to stream down her cheeks as she zips her firesuit back up, then taking off the belts, followed by the helmet and HANs.

“Sarina?” She hears the medical worker as he walks over, peaking his head into the window of the truck. “Are you okay?” She simply nods her head, biting her tongue in all her might to not scream out her worries. “Are you absolu-”

“I’m fine, trust me,” she tells him, before pulling herself out of the truck. Even with trying to put on a pretty face and hide everything, the tears streamed down her face continuously.

“If you’re in pain, you can tell us so we can help you. I can see you’re cryin-”

“I’m upset at the fact that I just got fucking dumped on the last lap for no God damn reason. Wouldn’t you be upset about that?” She then walks past the medical official, climbing in the back of the ambulance, hoping it was a short ride back.

Once they were back at the care center, she got out of the ambulance, walking inside the care center, and heading into the third cubicle as instructed by the medical officer. As she took her seat up on the bed, she watched as he walked over to where the doctors were, hoping Dr. Grayson was the one to come to see her.

“Sarina Ott,” the medical official states, placing her helmet and HANs on the table. “She said that she was fine and no pain. However, there were some tears.” Dr. Grayson immediately perked up, taking a deep breath. She knew what was at stake.

“How would you feel if you hit a wall at full speed like she did?” Dr. Grayson questions, reaching into the drawer of files. She then pulls out the file, walking past the medical official into the cubicle. She closes the curtain behind her as she walks up to Sarina, who was trying to keep as calm as possible on the bed. “How are you fee-”

“Save the usual bullshit that you ask everybody and tell me if my baby is okay, please,” Sarina practically begs as she pulls the zipper down on the firesuit, yanking it off, before pulling up her t-shirt underneath. “I don’t care about me right now. All I care about is my baby.”