Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 167: The Teammate Tangle

Friday, November 10 – Phoenix Raceway

After a nice week away, it was just like clockwork as they were back to the daily grind at Phoenix Raceway. So far, the day hadn’t gone that bad. Sarina was fourth in the lone truck practice session, while Chase led the Cup session.

“So I take it those adjustments worked?” Alan questions afterwards as Chase nods his head.

“That was worth taking the time to do,” he comments as Alan glances over the notes, before setting them aside.

“We should qualify well later on today. Then I say we tweak on the car a little more tomorrow, and we’ll be fine for Sunday. We’re going to get this right.” Chase believed in the crew chief’s words as it was now or never to win that weekend.

“We’ve missed out on a couple different opportunities to win these last couple of months. I don’t see why we can’t win this weekend. I mean, I’m going to be disappointed if we don’t make the final four.” Alan could understand that, based on their performance, but he wasn’t quite that far down the radar.

“I wouldn’t say disappointed as we’ve done a lot better this year than we did last year, and we’re starting to find our groove here at the end of the year. If anything, it makes me look that much more forward to next year – not that I’m writing off this season, yet.” Chase understood where the crew chief was coming from, but felt thinking of next year was pointless right now.

“Let’s just stay focused on the task at hand, and get the job done – deal?” Alan nods his head, accepting, but his eyes don’t leave his driver one bit through the whole conversation.

“You’re quieter than normal…” Chase looks over surprised. “I just noticed that you got something else on your mind. Would I be right?” Chase just smiles back in return. It should be obvious what’s going on.

“Well, you do realize my trip got cut short because we had to go to Florida, right?” Alan nods his head, having heard about that minor detail. It was the next stage in the trial against Sarina’s brother Chris for everything that had happened. It was Chris’ turn to testify against the charges laid in his favor. “To be honest, he was smart with what he said. He stated enough words that it would make you believe there’s doubt that he poisoned me and Ryan. Now if the jury sees that, and doesn’t consider the other evidence enough, you know what happens.”

“But okay, let’s say they find him not guilty on those two charges. There are five other counts of poisoning that he pled guilty to, along with two other minor charges. Isn’t that worth enough time in jail?” Chase nods his head, having already done the math as he tried convince Sarina things were going to work out in their favor.

“He’ll be away for at least 60 years, if not 80, depending how the judge sees fit – which is great as you’re right, that is ample time. The problem lies in the fact of parole and making sure that he can’t sneak out under psychological insanity. Both terms need to be clear as day so he can’t sneak around them, or that chance of him doing something again is always there.” Alan could understand the theory behind that, and one look into Chase’s eyes said everything he needed to know.

“And that worries you, right?” Chase looks up at Alan and nods his head.

“It’s not the easiest thing to say, Alan, but he scares the bloody crap out of me. There’s twice now that he almost has gone too far – the plane crash, and the pois-”

“Don’t remind me of Daytona, please…” Alan didn’t need a reminder of what he saw that day, and the panic that set in once he found Chase up in the hauler. He was fine moving forward without any reminders. However, he understood how that played with Chase’s thoughts right now. “I absolutely understand the fear, and trust me – it’s not something to joke about, or realize that it’s not coming from a good place. You have every reason to feel the way that you do. I hope for your sake, and Sarina’s, that it plays out the way you want. I know what it would mean to finally have that peace of mind.” Chase laughs a little. “What?”

“Peace of mind? Please, I don’t think I’m going to get that. It seems Allison is great at showing up at the loveliest of times.” Alan nods his head, having seen her appearance at Texas.

“Well, at least you’ll be one step closer to that if you manage to get Chris where you need to.” Chase could live with that statement. “That makes me wonder. Exploring her family and finding more people that have connections to her, Chris, and Bethany. Do you worry about uncovering something that doesn’t need to be?” Chase shakes his head no right away.

“The potential of closing that chapter for her, and helping her deal with those feelings by finding something, outweighs that entirely. By the way, we are getting closer to the first piece of the puzzle.” Alan looks over surprised.

“Really?” Chase nods his head, remembering the text message he received.

“I think I’ll have it unwrapped and really down that road by Christmas.” Alan smiles, knowing exactly what Chase had in mind already. But still, a tinge of fear was there in knowing what had happened so far.

“Just be careful, okay?” Chase nods his head, accepting.

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

Following qualifying, Christopher Bell made his way down pit road to where Sarina’s pit was, patiently waiting as she discussed things over with Marcus Richmond. He then smiled as he caught her attention, with her walking over right away.

“Hey,” he simply says. “Nice job.” She then crosses her arms, with a smile of her own. Truthfully, she wished it was role reversal but instead, he got the pole with her second.

“I should be telling you nice job there,” she comments as he simply smiles back in return. “We’ve got a pair of good trucks.”

“That doesn’t surprise me, actually. Look, I stopped on my way down here because I just wanted to check on you. Are you okay?” She then looks at him confused.

“Why would I need someone to chec-”

“Yesterday, your brother, and everything that happened.” She then takes a deep breath, as she glances away from Christopher for a moment.

“I was actually trying to put that out of mind, truthfully.” He then glances down at the ground. “But hey, it’s okay. I’m still pissed and upset at what he did. All I care is that he gets locked away so he can’t do it again. He said what he had to say and now we’ll see what happens. If the courts do their job, I won’t have anything to worry about.”

“Do you think they will?” He didn’t mean to press the issue too far, but he couldn’t help but ask. He knew while she wanted to avoid, getting her to talk about it some would help.

“I think so. It’s clear as day that he was behind the other attacks, and he has a past history with Chase. If you add that together, no matter what freaking story he tries to con up to cover the last two, a little kid could put together that he was responsible. I don’t see there being any problems.” She then flashes trademark smile. “Hence why I am focused on this weekend, tonight, and kicking your ass.”

“Oh really?” She nods her head as he could only look back with a grin. “Well, we’ll just have to see what happens tonight. By the way, I’m not going to take it easy on you just because you’re my teammate and having a rough stretch…”

“I wouldn’t expect otherwise. Good luck tonight.”

“Right back at ‘cha.” He then heads off to his pole award photos, while she makes her way up pit road, knowing Cup qualifying was next on the docket.

“Uh oh, someone looks like he’s got something serious on the mind…” Ryan comments as he watches Chase walk by him following the qualifying runs. The session had gone decently, with Chase ending up qualifying fourth. The fun factor was the front row being made up of Ryan and Denny. “Thinking about if you should wreck Hamlin on Lap 1?” Chase laughs and shakes his head no.

“Chase wreck someone on purpose? That’d never happen,” a new voice chimes in as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. walks over to the pair. “Sorry, but I don’t see you doing that ever…”

“Never say never. Danica did tell us she’d never date another driver, and she’s been with you for a couple of years.” Chase grins between them, impressed with those words. “She also said she’d never be one to hang around the dirt tracks and oh wait, isn’t she doing that now?”

“So are you really going to wreck Denny on the first lap?” Chase laughs, enjoying the suspicions about his plans for Sunday.

“I don’t have any plans to wreck Denny on the first lap or at all,” Chase reveals. “I’m actually going to be solely focused on winning so I can be part of the Championship 4. And for your knowledge, Mr. Blaney, Sunday’s race is not even what I am thinking about.” Ryan then looks at him puzzled, but immediately has his suspicions.

“Are you thinking about Chris?” He wonders, though knew if that was the topic at hand they should walk away from Ricky now.

“I heard he had the trial on Thurs-” Ricky starts, having seen something about it in his twitter feed.

“It’s not about Chris, either,” Chase cuts him off, even though he had thought about it a little since his conversation with Alan earlier. He figured he might as well tell the pair, anyway. It’s not like they could spoil the surprise and maybe they’d have advice. “So I’m trying to find Sarina’s family – real family that she ran away from. She had six uncles and an aunt. I had someone looking into the information and he’s located the majority of those people, and they check out to be decent. Now it’s figuring out the best way to reach out to them.”

“What if you just call them one day?” Ryan suggests, not seeing the big deal in this process.

“They may not answer the phone so I say you just show up on their front door,” Ricky adds as Chase rolls his eyes. This wasn’t quite the advice he was looking for.

“What if they’re crazy and attack him?” Chase then looks at Ryan full of complete shock, with Ryan just shrugging his shoulders in response. “What? It could happen.”

“Good point. Bring security with you…” Chase rolls his eyes as he couldn’t believe he had enlisted these two.

“Joshua suggested that the first person we reach out to be someone that Sarina really knew well, trusted, and liked,” Chase continues. “But she doesn’t talk much about her family – except her dad here and there. How do I find out that person?” Ryan and Ricky were caught off-guard by the question, but knew there had to be a solution eventually.

“How about you tell her about what you’re doing?” Ricky questions and Chase shakes his head immediately. He wasn’t ready to ruin the surprise, yet.

“That’d ruin the surprise.” Ricky almost felt like smacking himself in the head.

“What if you bring up some stories, and see if she’ll complement with some of her own?” Ryan suggests. “Or maybe ask about family vacations, and tell a memorable story of your own. Just try to bring it out in casual conversation.”

“Or you could talk to people that have known her longer than you have and see if they know,” Ricky adds. Chase nods his head, accepting the advice. It was certainly somewhere to start.

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

He knew those concerns could be worried about later, as for now, he had a truck race to focus on. Seeing how strong she was through practice and qualifying, there were some high hopes entering the evening.

Chase watched as she pulled ahead early, leading a chunk of the laps, before Christopher got back around her for the top spot, leading the rest of the way in the opening stage. The second stage went smoothly, as well, with Christopher leading the whole thing as she ended up second.

Chase watched the slew of pit stops, small fist pump in the air as the teammates came off pit road together 1-2. Could this go any better?

The start of the third stage worked out perfectly, as she pulled ahead, taking the top spot. A smile formed on his face as he watched her pull further away from Christopher and the rest of the field, destined for smooth sailing from here on out.

Of course, none of these races come that easily as the caution would fly with 27 laps to go for a truck slowing. Marcus immediately made the call for Sarina to stay out, sighting the importance of track position, lack of tire fall off, and having enough fuel to make it to the end.

The ensuing restart did not go smoothly, as a move by Austin Cindric, followed by a block from Ben Rhodes, saw Ben spin around and hit the inside barrier hard, before collecting Matt Crafton in the process.

“Are you kidding me?!?” Chase says out loud, disbelief forming between the late race incident to the fact the pair had collided in their battle for the final transfer spot in that way.

“Same thing that Carl and Joey did last year,” Kyle comments from his vantage point, referring to the wreck at Homestead while battling for the championship. “Ben never should’ve blocked.”  Chase nods his head in agreement.

“He had to know that would happen as soon as he went down. But, does Austin make that move stick with enough room if they get to turn one? We’d probably see a repeat of Kenseth and Bowman here last year.” Kyle smiles, as he thinks back to Martinsville a couple weeks ago.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. Both were desperate to make a statement and get to the next round.” Chase couldn’t help but agree, and began to wonder if the same type of move would be what it would take to transfer tomorrow.

After a lengthy clean-up – including a red flag, everything was set to go for another attempt at the restart. This time, the green lasted a little longer as they were able to at least make a lap – but it didn’t take long for the caution, either. Six-wide through the dog leg on the backstretch resulted in contact in turn three, and several torn up trucks.

“That definitely wasn’t going to work,” Kyle comments after seeing the replay, shaking his head in surprise. “Ridiculous…”

“Are we ever going to finish this race?” Chase wonders, glancing at the lap count. Through the chaos, Sarina had managed to hold the lead with Christopher in second. There wasn’t much left now…

The restart came with 10 laps to go, and all eyes locked on the action in seeing Sarina and Christopher battle alongside each other for the lead. Both Chase and Kyle felt like they were going to jump out of their skin and nerves as they saw both trucks get a little sideways, followed by a little bit of bumping.

Neither driver lifted through the whole process, and finally with five laps to go, everything came to a head. Sarina got loose underneath Christopher off of turn four, truck spinning around, and backing into the outside wall, followed by Christopher slapping the wall with the right side of his truck. The wreck wasn’t over there, yet, as Justin Haley was left nowhere to go, hitting just behind the driver’s door of Sarina’s truck as it rolled across the track.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!?” Kyle asked out loud, standing up in complete disbelief as he looked at the pair of torn up trucks. “They led all the laps to this point…”

Chase had his fair share of anger over the contact, almost set to give Christopher a piece of his mind, but that didn’t matter in that very moment as he sat there, eyes closed, waiting for the familiar words over the radio.

“I’m okay,” he hears after a bit, taking a deep breath to calm his own nerves.

He watches as she climbs out of the truck, taking a breather for a moment as she lays her head on the roof. Chase could feel each part inside of him ripping apart, concern filled in thinking about the pain that she could be in.

He felt somewhat relieved in watching her climb out the rest of the way, followed by walking with the official to the ambulance for the trip back to the care center.

Making his way down the steps and set to join her, he could only wonder as to what’s to come.

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Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 163: Chase vs. Denny

Sunday, October 29 – Martinsville Speedway

She felt her leg tap nervously as she watched the restart with 39 laps to go, seeing him pull away. Taking a deep breath, everything was fine….

She watched as he didn’t get too far out, though, watching the No. 2 Ford close the gap, silently cursing to herself. If there was anybody she didn’t want to see win, it was Brad Keselowski. Her eyes kept focused, seeing him roll the center, watching as he made the move and got by for the lead with 28 laps to go. Letting out a sigh, so much for the dream….

She shakes her head. She couldn’t think like that. There were still 27 laps now and anything was possible. It had to work out….

She had gotten herself into a relaxed state, silently hoping that Chase was able to work his way back to Brad and get around, though also feeling alright about a runner-up finish. It was a good start to this playoff round, right?

Though like everything had gone throughout the day, the whole day changed once again when the caution flew with 10 laps to go for Joey Logano having a flat tire. Taking a deep breath, the butterflies began fluttering immediately, fingers and toes tapping, nerves a flowing. Anything was possible on a late-race restart at Martinsville.

Her eyes focus on the track with five laps to go, watching Chase and Brad go down into the corner. She watches the bump from the No. 24 Chevrolet to the No. 2 Ford, fist pumping in the air as Brad slides up out of the groove and Chase rolls on by.

“All clear, take it…” She hears Eddie on the radio, her thoughts echoing the spotter.

Her eyes didn’t leave the action before her, watching as Denny quickly moved into second with Kyle in toe. Taking a deep breath, there was nowhere over as Denny was right there, set to make a move. She just glanced down for a quick second, hoping whatever came that Chase held off.

4 to go…..3 to go, and so far he had done an impressive job at the helm. He was running the perfect line, diamonding the corner to perfection, rolling the bottom. He was doing what he needed to do….

“Pushing you,” she hears Eddie over the radio as Denny gets into the back of Chase off turn two, though Chase keeps it straight as an arrow. “2 to go at the line..” She watches as Chase goes into turn three, with Denny close behind. It didn’t seem as if Denny let off the gas or anything, though, as his front bumper immediately met Chase’s rear bumper, sending the No. 24 spinning around.

“Fuck!” Sarina lets out immediately in disbelief as he stands up, shaking her head in disgust. Did that just happen? Did he just dump Chase for no bloody reason at all? Denny’s reason had to do with having no brakes or something, right? There was no way that he would just go do that….

“Douchebag!” She had to agree with Eddie’s words as her body filled with anger. She wished she could strangle Denny and each of his crew members one-by-one in that single moment. She also wished Chase wasn’t such a sweetheart and wouldn’t just go ahead and wreck the dumbass under the yellow.

“Yep, he definitely wrecked me,” she hears Chase and knew that wasn’t even up for debate. It wasn’t like Denny tried to do anything else. The replay confirmed it, too, as his bumper was direct as they come, no slowing down at all. Who in their right mind lifts someone wheel’s up entering the corner?

“I feel your pain, bro….” Eddie’s voice rang through her head as she sat back down, shaking her head in disgust. She could see the reflections on each crew member on the pit box. it was immediate disappointment, almost brink of tears for some of the guys. She could only imagine how Chase was feeling, knowing that she’d be a mix of a heartbroken and anger – actually, she was. There was also disbelief there, too. Did that actually happen?

“Did what happen what I think happened, or am I skewed?” She then hears Chase question over the radio. She shakes her head immediately, knowing how he was at times. He was so hard on himself at times, always over-critical of his own actions, obviously right now questioning whether he did the wrong thing. Clearly, he had done nothing wrong….

“Nah, he drove over your bumper and crashed ya,” Eddie replies, which deserved no other explanation.

“That’s what I figured. 10-4. Good to know. Thanks….”

As the field gets ready to start, there was only one thing that mattered in that moment – Denny better not win this race. She didn’t care who won now, even if it was Brad, as there was no way she wanted to see that No. 11 in victory lane.

She watches the restart, instantly cheering her boss as she watches Kyle dive into the corner, tagging Denny off of turn two and sending him up the track a bit as he squeezes on by.

“Thank you Kyle!” She cheers, watching him take the victory. She was happy for him – if Chase couldn’t win, then let it be her boss. However, that didn’t even begin to eliminate the heartbreak and anger that was remained.

“I feel your pain, bro,” Eddie says over the radio as Sarina just lets out a sigh.

All she wanted to do was get down there, hug Chase, hold him, and assure him that win was coming – and then kick Denny’s ass from here to the other side of the world. Her eyes then find their way t to the monitor, seeing the screens focused on the backstretch. She couldn’t help but smile as she watched Chase run into Denny on the cooldown lap – perfectly deserved.

“Screw him!” Eddie cheers on the radio as Sarina could only laugh in agreement. A punch to the head would be fitting right now.

She watches as the pair come to a stop, both starting to climb from their cars, eyes focused on Chase. She knew how he was when he got angry. she knew the feisty side that he could show, if warranted. Anybody who raced him in late models knew that. She couldn’t help but cross her arms with a bit of pride watching.

“Alright, face-to-face guys, outside the car…” Eddie dictates the action over the radio as Sarina’s eyes stay locked on the screen.

How could this happen? Why did this happen? And what the hell was Denny Hamlin thinking?

Chase was in total belief of what had just transpired in a matter of a couple of laps. One minute, he could potentially see his first career victory; next minute, he was turned around backwards.

It was one thing to bump a guy, give them the bump-and-run, rough them up a little. However, the key was that you didn’t totally wipe the guy’s chances of a decent day or result in heavy damage to his car. You also gave him a chance, should he save it and get back to you, to return the favor.

It was another thing in entirely just wipe a guy out no questions asked – and that’s what had him riled up. He wasn’t going to stand for that, no matter who it was that did it to him to begin with.

That’s why following the event, he made sure to go looking for him, set to send a message and tell him he wasn’t happy and wouldn’t put up with that bullshit. Driving into him was satisfaction for the frustration that he was experiencing.

Following the bumps and seeing Denny stop short of pit road, it didn’t change his views at all. Instead, he was set to actually give him word for word what he thought of him. Throwing the steering wheel on the dash, and the belts off whatever direction they’d go, he began to climb out, set to meet him eye to eye. It was time to be a man and face the consequences of what he did…

“That was bullshit running into me after the checkered!” Denny yells to start, not even fully climbed out. Chase had to chuckle to himself and look back in disbelief. Was this guy serious?

“You’re kidding me, right?” Chase questions back in return as he finishes climbing out, watching Denny come walk up to him face-to-face.

“No matter what, that was ridiculous…..” Chase couldn’t believe this at all….

“You wrecked me….”

“I had someone right on my bumper…” Chase almost laughed back in his face, knowing that wasn’t true as he had glanced up in the mirror once Denny had bumped him off of turn two. He knew exactly where they stood entering the corner.

“There was two car lengths between you and the other guy…”

“I just tried to move you….” Chase almost laughed again, really not believing he was hearing this, especially from someone who had been racing as long as Denny had been.

“You wrecked me, plain and simple…”

“I did not mean to wreck you. I just meant to give you a bump….”The intentions of the actions didn’t really matter at this point. Besides, if you’re going to attempt to use the bumper, you have to know it’s a possibility. Why wouldn’t Denny just own up to it already?

“But you just wrecked me!”

“You got into the 2 car. What’s the difference?” Chase really wanted to laugh in his face now. This was unbelievable….

“Come on man….”

“I got into you just like you got into Brad…” Except Brad wasn’t turned around backwards.

“Come on man…..”

“You know it was just hard racing.”

“You had my back wheels lifted up going into the corner!”

“Whatever…” Denny then turns on the heels, heading back to his car at the request of the NASCAR Official as Chase just shakes his head in disgust.

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

Chase rolls up to where he was told to stop on pit road, sitting back in the seat, shaking his head. He almost broke out laughing as he thought about the excuses and reasons that Denny tried to use for his part in what happened. The anger also hadn’t left him at all, either, along with the disappointment. It was another week that he had been mere inches of winning, and come up short again.

“I want you to be smart here,” he hears, glancing out the window to see Jimmie standing there. “Be smart, watch your words, and don’t lose your true self. Don’t stoop to his level because he’s an ass. You did a great job, and you will win.” He gives Jimmie a simple nod, used to receiving the odd tip of advice here and there.

He climbs out of the car, giving the couple of crew guys a quick hand-shake and nod as he turns around, crossing his arms. There was no way he was just letting this go and moving on as anger was certainly not leaving him no matter what he tried. There was also that sense of disbelief.

His eyes wandered over to where the TV cameras had stopped, getting Denny’s side of the coin first. He actually brought himself to laugh in hearing the amount of boos that were being let out by the crowd. You know you royally messed up when your own home track is mad at you…

He patiently stand there, set to give his take on the action, knowing it was going to be kept simple and to the point.

“My mom always said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. He’s not worth my time,” he tells NBC.

Sarina couldn’t help but smile off to the side at the comment, as her heart remained torn in pieces at what had transpired. It was taking every urge to stop herself from going over and kicking Denny’s ass.

After the interviews were done, she walked over and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, just holding him, as the crew joined her.

“Hey, if he wants to race that way, you know what to do next time,” Alan tells him. “I’m sure he’ll be fine when you lift his back wheels going into the corner at Texas.” Chase lets back a small smile, knowing what Alan was thinking.

However, that wasn’t his style. Revenge and anger and dirty driving were not morals that he had grown to know. Instead, it was focus and driving as hard as you could to put what happened in the rearview.

“Hey, I just wanted to say I hate what happened to you guys,” a new voice pops in from Denny’s crew chief Mike Wheeler. “That was bad…”

“Go tell your smartass driver that,” Sarina spits out, keeping her arms around Chase.

“Excuse me?” Chase then wraps an arm around her in return.

“You heard her,” he starts. “All Denny could do was give me 20 million excuses. Go…” He then turns around, facing away from Mike, but letting his eyes land on Sarina right away.

“I’m so sorry,” she simply says, pulling him close as she puts her head against his chest. “Denny is an asshole. You’ll get that win soon…”

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

“That was utterly insane!” Ryan comments from his seat in the plane.

Following the race, it was a short flight back to North Carolina from Virginia with Ryan, Chase and Sarina all boarding together. For all of them, it was great to just get out of Martinsville as soon as possible.

“But I got to say, I’m proud of you,” Ryan continues as Chase keeps his eyes focused ahead.

“Why is that?” He questions as Ryan smiles, reading over the various tweets on twitter.

“You made the world proud, too. You did a great job from your interview to standing up to him. That’s what you need to do. I’m impressed…” He then glances up from his phone. “Although, you should’ve punched him on behalf of the whole field. He freaking turned down across me and Kurt!”

“So why did you punch Kevin?” Sarina asks, referring to Ryan’s visit with Kevin Harvick. She had been scrolling through twitter herself before they left, and saw a clip of Ryan giving Kevin a small punch. “Well according to him, I brake-checked his ass off the corner earlier in the race and fucked him over at the end of the day. I proudly told him that I wasn’t doing that at all during the race, and it was all freaking Denny’s fault at the end. Needless to say, we disagreed and had a small punch fest.”

“Crazy….” Ryan didn’t care about his deal with Kevin, though. He knew that was going to be forgotten within days. On the other hand, that wouldn’t be the case with Denny….

“So what are you going to do about Denny there, Mr. Pilot?” Chase had been toying with a bunch of thoughts since the conclusion of the race. He wasn’t a dirty racer, but payback was certainly entering his mind big time for what had happened. He wouldn’t mind something happening at Texas….

“I don’t know,” Chase answers. “We’ll just have to wait and see….”

“How about we just forget about it for one night and have some fun?” Sarina suggests, knowing that she could use a good distraction after the chaos.

“Isn’t that why we’re going to Blaney’s epic Halloween party?”

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

Chase glances at himself in the mirror at Ryan’s house, shaking his head. How did he get himself into this mess wearing this costume? He had seen Ryan’s Woody costume and Jordan’s Buzz Lightyear costume and both felt more comfortable than this.

He had totally forgotten about the party, and had not gone costume shopping. So prior the weekend, he informed Ryan in hopes his best friend would help him out. Certainly, Ryan did as he had an extra costume and would allow Chase to borrow it. He didn’t expect it to be this, though.

He almost felt scandalous, a little ridiculous, and knew for sure there was too much skin showing below the waist. Feeling a little shy, he knew every person would probably be analyzing his package.

“Damn….” He hears, recognizing Sarina’s voice and smiling. “I know you bike a lot, but holy damn tone in those legs…” He had to laugh to himself, as he spun to face her. An immediate smile formed, liking her voice – Batgirl. They’d be Batgirl and Robin that night.

“You look just as sexy right now,” he answers back in response. The black leather of the outfit clang to every sweet dear curve on her body, with the skirt long enough to cover but short enough to tease everything below.

“As soon as I heard Ryan had a Robin costume for you, I got Samantha to run a small errand for me. I figured we could match.” She then walks over closer, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. “You make one amazing superhero, but damn, I didn’t expect you to show off as much….”

“Is it too much? I almost feel like chang-”

“No, it’s fine; it’s absolutely fine. Besides, everybody down there will be too caught up in the party to realize. Now, are you ready to go have some fun?”

“Absolutely…” He then takes her by the hand, leading her out of the room and to the stirs with a smile.

It was time to leave behind the Martinsville disappointment and frustration for a night…..

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 152: Family

Thursday, September 21

Sarina glanced at herself in the car mirror once again, before letting out a sigh as she looked over at Chase.

“Are you sure we should be doing this?” She questions, causing a small laugh to escape Chase.

“Are you kidding me?” He replies as she looks over, surprised. “We’ve been going together for a couple years now. Starr and Brittney have been begging me for you to meet them. I can’t keep ignoring them.” Sarina lets out a sigh as she glances towards the house. “It’s just lunch, and we have an excuse to get out of there timely….” She smiles, knowing their plans for tonight.

“Let’s go….”

The pair of them gets out of the car, walking up to the house, knocking on the door. It wasn’t before long that the door swung open and their eyes were locked on a little girl.

“Chase!” Kennedy yells out as she leaps up into her uncle’s arms. “I miss you!”

“I missed you too,” he replies as he hugs her tightly, before letting her down. “Do you know who my friend is?” Kennedy looks over at her, shaking her head. “That’s my girlfriend Sarina.”

“You’re pretty.” Sarina immediately smiles.

“Aw thank you,” Sarina replies. “I like your dress. It looks great on you.”

“Thank you,” Kennedy says as she looks between the pair. “Are you going to marry? Are you going to have babies? Do I get a cousin?” Sarina immediately goes into full shock mode as Chase just shakes his head.

“Kennedy oh Kennedy, what have I said about asking too many questions?” They hear a voice rang through the house as Starr walks up to the door, pulling the child back. “One step at a time. I’m sure if they love each other, maybe that’ll happen one day. Why don’t you go play with your dolls? I heard Grandpa was trying to undress one….” Chase looks on shocked.

“Oh no!” Kennedy then hurries through the house as Starr takes a couple steps back, letting the pair of them inside.

“I am so sorry about that,” Starr starts. “She’s at the stage where she has so many questions about everything. I really didn’t want that to be the first meeting.”

“It’s okay,” Chase replies as he slips his shoes off, followed by giving Starr a hug. “It’s nice to see you, and see you’re doing well.” Starr smiles, nodding her head.

“You look great as ever…” Her eyes then glance over at Sarina, followed by a smile. “And you must be the light of his life.” Sarina just laughs. “You think I’m joking? This boy can’t stop talking about how much he loves you. So hence why both Brittany and I insisted that we have a lunch with Dad while she’s in town and you come.”

“Oh boy….” Sarina lets out as she simply smiles. “Well, I’m glad to be here….”

“Come sit down…” Starr then motions towards the living room, which Sarina easily enters. Chase holds back, placing a hand on Starr’s shoulder.

“Easy on her now,” Chase warns as Starr laughs.

“You don’t got to worry about me,” she replies. “I’ve never been protective about your ass and you know that. Now your sister on the other hand….” Chase rolls his eyes, knowing how Brittney was even with just being half-siblings.

“Please tell me you warned her….” Starr shakes her head.

“Do you really think that would work, Chase?” Chase lets out a sigh. “Relax, it’ll be fine…” The pair then enter the room, joining the rest of the siblings as Brittney went ahead and introduced herself and her husband to Sarina without hesitation.

“Where’s the little guy?” Brittney glances over, knowing how much Chase loved seeing him.

“He’s staying at Robert’s parents since we’re going out tonight,” Brittney answers as Chase nods his head, accepting. “He wants to come to another race, by the way. Afraid to say it, but you damn well have him hooked.”

“It’s in his blood, sweetheart,” Bill comments. “Just like flying in your blood.”

“You’re a pilot, too?” Sarina questions and Brittney nods her head.

“She actually went away on a mission with the US Air Force,” Chase adds, causing Sarina’s jaw to drop.

“Wow….”

Through the afternoon, it was simple casual conversation as everybody traded stories and caught up with each other. Sarina was even able to relax, sharing some stories of her own, and feeling like she was one of them.

It all seemed to be going perfectly without a hitch, as she made her way out to the kitchen to set her glass down.

“I was wondering when we’d get a chance to talk,” Brittney states as she follows her into the kitchen. Chase had noticed this and gone to follow, but Starr held him back. He could only let out a sigh as he glanced their way.

“Oh really?” Sarina questions as she turns around to face her.

“Yeah.” Brittney then crosses her arms as she keeps her eyes locked on Sarina. “I wanted to make something clear to you. Since you’ve entered my brother’s world, you’ve turned it completely upside down. Do you realize how worried you’ve made his father? Do you know much that irks at me? I mean, I can’t believe the amount of things that my dad has shared with me because of you. Then of course, there’s the media articles, too. I mean, I literally can’t stomach it at times…” Sarina takes a deep breath, knowing someone was going to say something eventually.

“Look, I never meant for any of this happen. I wish I could make it go away and never happen in the quickest blink of an eye. I never thought my brother would do what he did, nor did I think Bethany would actually do something. I even tried to warn Chase that there could be trouble due to my past, but he kept fighting against it. None of this was never my intention, Brittney.” Brittney nods her head, accepting, having heard the same thing hours earlier.

“That’s what my dad and Cindy told me, too. I just don’t know if I fully believe that yet – but maybe that’ll take some time. I just want you to promise me one thing. Promise me that you truly love him, promise me that you really want to make everything right, and promise me you’ll never break his heart.” Sarina takes a deep breath, knowing that promise didn’t take much to say yes, too.

“I promise, fully and completely. I love him so much, and I would do anything…” Brittney nods her head, accepting.

“Good, I’m glad. Because if you dare ever do something so as much to hurt him just a little, I have friends and we can take care of you in a flash of a second. I’m sure you’ve heard about how military works for…” Sarina swallows the lump in her throat, nodding her head. “Awesome. It was nice to meet you.”

Brittney then turns and walks back in the room, taking her previous seat. After some calming deep breathes, Sarina followed, taking the same spot that she had held before beside Chase.

“Are you okay?” Chase questions and Sarina nods her head. “She didn’t grill you too hard, did she?” Sarina shakes her head no as she glances over towards Brittney.

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

“Do you want to talk about what she said?” Chase asks as they park in the parking lot later on that night.

“It was nothing, Chase,” Sarina answers for what seemed like the millionth time. “Typical big sister who will protect you no matter what. She made sure my intentions were clear, and swore she’d kick my ass if I ever did hurt you.”

“She don’t fool around, either,” Ryan adds, having heard some of the stories about Brittney.

“Do you know from experience?” Ryan shakes his head no with a smile.

“I knew to never piss either of them off, or Cindy for that matter.” Chase smiles, remembering some of their times growing up together.

“We had a deal – never piss off the ladies in each other’s lives because we didn’t know if we could handle the consequences,” Chase offers as Ryan nods his head. “As long as you’re fine with what she said, then it’s fine…”

“You don’t need to worry,” Sarina assures him as they pull their tickets out, showing them, before heading inside for the Eric Church concert that night.

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

Friday September 22 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Sarina sat up on top of the Kyle Busch Motorsports hauler, eyes focused on the track. She didn’t have practice till later that day so it was nice to take in some of the views, see what line everybody was running, and obviously watch her man in practice.

“You seem quiet today,” Sarina hears, turning as she notices Christopher had joined her.

“How long have you been up here?” She wonders and Christopher shrugs his shoulders. “Well, I’m sorry I’ve been quiet but I didn’t notice you…”

“Right, because you’re off in your own little world.” He then scoots closer. “What’s on that mind of yours?”

“Family.” He then looks at her puzzled. “I went to an Elliott family lunch yesterday afternoon and met Chase’s sisters.”

“He has sisters?” Sarina nods her head.

“Half-sisters from his dad’s first marriage.” Christopher nods his head, now understanding. He remembered hearing somewhere that Chase was the only child between Cindy and Bill, so now it made sense.

“Let me guess – you got the overprotective speech from them both?” Sarina laughs.

“How did you know?” Christopher shrugs his shoulders.

“That’s what you always hear about siblings.” Sarina nods her head, accepting that. She had been protective about her brother at times before.

“Starr is alright. She’s a little different than you’d expect coming from them, but she’s pretty cool. We actually hit it off. Now Brittney on the other hand, that’s overprotective to a key. She watched me all day, keeping an eye on everything I said or did, and watched how I behaved with Chase. Then the first moment that she could get me alone, she took full advantage….and laid it on pretty thick, if I do say.” Christopher crosses his arms, certain where this was going.

“Because of the trail of events, I’m going to guess that you’re a danger, a threat, worried the family too much, ruined the perfect life that Chase had – should I go on?” Sarina laughs and shakes her head. “So what threat did she lay on you after telling you about how she didn’t trust you and all the bad reasons?”

“She’s a member of the Air Force so she has friends. I dare hurt him just a touch, and those friends along with her will make sure I disappear.” Christopher looks on shocked.

“Seriously?” Sarina nods her head. “Welp, that’s taking it to the extreme. Please tell me you tried to calm off the army.”

“What more could I say? I assured her that I loved him dearly, would withhold the promise, never hurt him. There’s not much more I can do, Christopher.”  Christopher nods his head, accepting.

“Did she leave open a window for the surrender flag one day?” Sarina thinks back, eventually nodding her head. “Well, that’s progress. At least you’re not totally written out of the family.”

“You think that’s what I’m concerned about? You think I’m worried about what she said to me? Oh hell no! I have no reason to worry about her because you’re damn right, she will lift that flag one day. For me, my worry surrounds Cindy and Bill. As long as they believe in me, and what Chase and I have doesn’t hurt their relationship as a group, then I’m fine. And for once, I believe I’m making progress as Cindy was fully opening all doors of conversation yesterday.” Christopher smiles as it was nice to hear progress.

“See, that’s what I like to hear….” Sarina’s eyes glance back to the track, though she knew they couldn’t end the conversation there.

“So have you had any of the same dealings with Morgan’s family?” Christopher thinks it over, remembering the meetings.

“Can’t say it’s been all rose…..Oh shit!” Sarina’s jaw drops immediately as she watches Chase slide up the track, making significant contact with the wall.

“Crap!” She immediately lets full attention turn to the headset, hearing the words that she knew he was going to say. After all, he didn’t hit too hard. “He’s okay. He just got out of the groove and lost it.”

“That stuff is supposed to be really slippery if you get outside of it….” Sarina nods her head.

“And if you combine the fact that Alan and Josh aren’t here, you can bet that car wasn’t handling perfect, either….” Sarina was still in a mood to kill Alan and Josh for what they pulled last week with the stupid tape. Great way to start the playoffs…..  “Listen, I’ll talk to you lat-”

“Go!!” She immediately makes her way down the steps, hurrying over to the 24 garage stall as she wanted to see him amongst the chaos.

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

The pair walk into the motorcoach together, shutting the door behind them.

Sarina was in a decent mood herself, having posted the second and fifth quickest speeds in truck practice. But her concern was more towards Chase following the practice crash, and qualifying 14th for Sunday.

“Are you okay?” She questions after he emerges out of the shower.

“Absolutely,” he answers as he flops down on the bed beside her. “You saw the wreck. Barely hit it, but enough to go to a backup.” She nods her head, remembering.

“I meant confidence level, and how you’re feeling that way…” He lets out a sigh as he rolls over onto his back.

“I’d prefer not to be working with Kenny this weekend as I’d rather both Alan and Josh here – or at least Alan. But I can’t blame them for trying. We’ve done dumb stuff like that, too.” Sarina nods her head, remembering her Snowball Derby disqualification clearly.

“So are you still set for a good day Sunday?” Chase nods his head.

“I think Kenny and I can get the car handling a bit better tomorrow and we’ll be fine. We just need a solid points day – nothing special, just solid. Then we can move onto next week, another solid day, and we’re off to round two.” He then rolls back over onto his stomach close to her. “Now on the other hand, you have a very fast truck and nothing to lose….”

“I’m going for that win tomorrow, no doubt about it.” He smiles, leaning in for a kiss.

“Do me a favor – learn from my mistakes and don’t jump the cushion.” She could only smile in return.

“Gotcha.”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 148: “Guilty.”

Friday, September 8 – Richmond International Raceway

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, Richmond

Chase lets out a sigh as he leans back against the tool chest in the garage stall, having just checked his phone for what seemed like the millionth time that day. All he wanted was the perfect update, and a decent result from where Sarina was, and he would be pleased. It was supposed to be a simple process, anyway.

“What crawled up your ass?” Chad Avrit comments, noticing the glance on Chase’s face. “I mean, we weren’t that bad in practice…” Alan glances over, picking up the same vibe from Chase – which just didn’t seem right in how well he knew him. However, he also knew boundaries, too.

“Chad….” Alan says quietly, catching a look from Chad. Alan turns his glance back even sterner, before looking towards Chase with a look of concern. He knew that Chase knew he could bring any concerns to him, no matter what.

“Hey, where’s Sarina anyway?” Travis questions as he climbs out from underneath the car. Chase just rolls his eyes, preferring to not talk about it with the crew guys.

“Oh gosh….” Jared Seate lets out, having caught the eye roll. “You guys better not be fighting again. I will scream. I mean, what is it gonna take for you both to realiz-”

“We’re not fighting or anything like that!” Chase lets out as he takes another glance at his phone. He then takes a deep breath, as he sees no updates yet, putting it back up.

“Dude, I didn’t mean to tick you off,” Travis starts. “I just was asking casual question wise. I mean, I would expect her to be here. I mean, it’s not like her to miss a weekend when she’s off….” Chase nods his head, understanding that, relaxing himself. Perhaps he should’ve given the guys a benefit of doubt.

“It’s fine – I’m sorry I snapped. She’s not here because she has court today.” Travis nods his head, understanding. The guys could all get behind the frustration with that after what they witnessed together. “Bethany is filing her plead today for charges of conspiracy and forcing Allison. Sarina went to witness it so at least one of us were there. Christopher and Marcus went with her.”

“So why aren’t you there?” Josh questions as Chase looks his way.

“Cause I’m here,” Chase answers and it was Josh’s turn to roll his eyes.

“Obviously, smartass. But I mean, you should be there, too….” Chase knew that, but that wasn’t in the cards.

“I couldn’t miss practice and qualifying for tomorrow.  I did even bring up missing one of the practices and let’s just say – never again. Sarina about cut my head off. She told me my focus should be here making the playoffs.” The crew nods their head in response, split in what they would’ve done.

“So instead you’re here, nervous about what’s happening, waiting for updates, hoping she’s okay?” Chad wonders and Chase nods his head as he glances back over at him. “I totally get that, and I apologize for my comment. It wasn’t my business…” Chase smiles, as it was nice to have the crew all on his side.

“It’s fine,” he tells them.

“We’ve got your back, by the way,” Travis adds as he pats Chase’s shoulder.

“Chase!” They hear, causing them to look straight at Morgan. “Media availability now…” He lets out a sigh, walking out of the garage to follow her to the media center.

“Don’t push him to give an update later or on how he is feeling, got it?” Alan questions, looking at the various crew members. They all nod their heads accepting in response, before focusing back on their jobs.

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

Friday, September 8 – Indiana Court Room

Sarina sat there watching as Bethany Adams stood up before the judge, full eye stare turned on as she wished she could get up and slap her across the face. It was ridiculous to be even here right now.

When did this things go chaotic like this?

“Are you okay?” Christopher whispers and Sarina nods her head.

“Just resisting the urge to kick her ass,” Sarina answers and Christopher smiles. He wouldn’t blame her if she did, truthfully.

“I’ll pay your bail if you do.” Sarina laughs as that was a nice offer – and tempting enough.

“Don’t give her ideas,” Marcus joins in. “We already got enough anger management going on with Kyle…” Christopher and Sarina both smile, knowing the boss’ reputation.

“In fairness, he has chilled out some since Brexton was born,” Sarina comments, causing a surprised glance from both Marcus and Christopher. Though admittedly – Kyle hadn’t been any face-to-face confrontations lately. “And I’d have an excuse because I could say I learned from the best, too.”

“But how are you supposed to win next weekend if you’re sitting in jail?” Sarina nodded, knowing that the crew chief had a point.

“I am going to ask you on each the charges whether you’re guilty or innocent, and simply want a picture perfect answer,” Judge Mansions states, causing all attention to focus forward. They could plan how to kick Bethany’s ass later. “On the charge of coercion against Allison Reynolds, how do you plead?”

“Guilty,” Bethany answers, causing jaws to drop throughout the whole court room. Maybe their luck was turning around.

“On the charge of attempted murder in a public place including over 100 people through coercion, how do you plead?” Sarina knew if Bethany pled guilty to this, she would ultimately laugh. Truthfully, she hadn’t planted the bomb and just wanted Allison to do something to Chase. It was Allison who took these other steps.

“Not guilty.” Marcus wraps an arm around Sarina, knowing the case wasn’t a slam dunk and there were more dates to come. He could only imagine how it was tearing at her through the days she attended for her brother.

“On the charge of poisoning Mr. Elliott through your coercion, how do you plead?” Now this one Sarina expected the guilty plea to come out immediately – and it made sense. Bethany was determined to split up Sarina and Chase due to her own anger.

“Guilty.”  Christopher smiles as he knew that’d be comforting to both Chase and Bethany moving forward.

“Thank you,” the judge states. “A date will be set for Ms. Adams to state her reasoning behind the guilty pleas and how she went about her crimes. It will then be determined whether the prosecution will proceed on the not guilty charge or move forward to sentencing. The defendant will be held without bail. Court adjourned!”

The threesome quickly filed out of the court room together, pleased with the outcome.

“So what happens now moving forward?” Christopher wonders as they get in the car to drive to the airport. They all owed an extra thank you to Kyle for sending his plane down to fly them there, and back up to Richmond once complete.

“Bethany will state how she went about the steps of her actions,” Marcus starts, knowing Sarina was in the process of texting Chase. “A sentence length will be determined based on what she did, and like the judge stated, they can choose to chase the last charge or not.” Christopher nods his head, as that was obvious.

“What about Allison?” Marcus takes a deep breath, knowing there was a lot left there.

“She has to go up on her trial and state what happened. It is then the prosecution’s decision whether more testimony needs to be heard, like Chase. The jury will then decide if she should be found guilty and serve some time in jail – even if very minor at that, or if she should be let off on every single char-”

“I’ll kill her if that happens,” Sarina interrupts, even more angry at Allison than she was at Bethany. She understood that Allison was forced in some way, but it didn’t make up for how far she had taken the events. To suggest those ideas on Chase, followed by what she did, there was no way she could just be forgiven like that – no matter what.

“My offer about bail still stands,” Christopher comments from the backseat, causing Sarina to simply smile. It was nice to see the pair able to get along solidly now without issues as Christopher’s friendship was nice at times.

“Are you sure you got enough in the bank account to cover these offers?” Marcus wonders and Christopher shrugs his shoulders.

“Guess I gotta start winning some more races then….”

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

Friday, September 8 – Richmond International Raceway

“Wow….” Chase lets out as he reads the text message while standing on pit road. He had just gotten done qualifying ninth for Saturday night’s race.

“What’s up?” Alan questions, knowing Chase wouldn’t mind him being intrigued. They had a close enough relationship to where Alan, Josh, Jordan and Chase shared everything. Beyond that, it was hit and miss with the crew guys.

“She pled guilty to coercion and poisoning me through that coercion.” Alan’s jaw drops in shock as he hadn’t expected that no matter what anybody else said. “So they’re going to convene later, hear her story, and then decide the next step.”

“And that means Allison was telling the truth?” Chase nods his head as he lets out a sigh. “What are you thinking, Chase?”

“Depending on how Bethany went about this – and we know Bethany is just as bad as Chris, maybe Allison had no other choice. Maybe what she did was totally forced and no way around it, and maybe….” He shakes his head, knowing it was a bad idea immediately. They had already tried to play forgive and forget with Chris.

“You think that maybe she shouldn’t go to jail? With all due respect, there’s a way out of anything. Heck, if you would’ve just kissed her, you wouldn’t had gotten the need-”

“There is no way I could’ve cheated on Sarina.” Alan nods his head, knowing Chase was very strong about his morals, and respected that.

“I’m just saying that she could’ve done it differently. She could’ve confessed to you that she was being forced and got you to play along. She didn’t have to plant the bomb in the garage. That’s why I feel she should get at least something for what she did….” Chase nods his head, understanding. Perhaps the crew chief was right – just to air on the side of caution.

“Yeah, you’re probably right….” Chase then thinks it over some more, as he texts Sarina back. “Alan, I just thought of something…”

“Does this deal with Bethany and Allison?” Chase nods his head as Alan crosses his arms.

“What if Bethany didn’t force Allison? What if they’re all working together – like a great conspiracy? What if this is perfectly being set-up so Allison gets off easy?” Alan thinks it over, knowing they could be something worth mentioning here.

“Allison gets off without much jail time, and then she can fulfill the plan that Bethany has in stor-”

“Bethany did mention to Sarina that she was going to complete the plan, one way or another, and to the full extent. That basically meant either splitting us up or….” By the sounds of Chase’s voice trailing off, Alan knew there was only one thing to do – before warning the crew and stepping up security moving forward. There was no way they could be too safe.

“Mention something to the lawyers so they can explore the chance.” Chase nods his head, as he makes a note.

“Lawyers? Should I be worried?” Ryan questions as he walks over, and Chase just shakes his head no.

“I’ll see you later,” Alan states, patting Chase on the shoulder. “Text me if you need me…” Alan then walks off as Ryan crosses his arms.

“Are you sure that I shouldn’t be worried?” Chase looks up from his phone, already knowing why Ryan was there.

“It’s just a note regarding the trial,” Chase offers as Ryan nods his head, accepting. He heard things continued to be hectic in Chase’s world.

“Are you absolutely certain you don’t want to come tonight?” Ryan questions and Chase rolls his eyes. This was the same question that he heard all week from Ryan.

“There is no way under any circumstance that I am going to see IT with you.  I don’t care what you try to bribe me with or say. I will never, ever watch that movie in this lifetime.” Ryan lets out a sigh as he had hoped Chase would’ve said yes out of feeling sorry for Ryan going alone.

“I got nobody to go with me….” Chase shrugs his shoulders. He knew if Ryan really wanted someone to come, he could ask one of his crew guys or a couple other drivers.

“You know that I don’t do scary movies. I’ve told you that from the beginning. Heck, you convinced me to watch Saw that night. Do you remember the nightmares and how I could barely sleep?” Ryan chuckles at the memory.

“That was good….” Chase could punch Ryan right now.

“Still, I’m not going – I don’t care. You can have fun with the clowns…” Chase then walks away as Ryan lets out a sigh.

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

Saturday, September 9 – Richmond International Raceway

Chase makes his way through the garage area and out to pit road.

It was almost time to start the race that night, and he just wanted to buckle in the car and get going. It was the last race before the playoffs and the goal was simply to make sure he qualified. They were in a good position, just needing a good solid night and they’d make it on points. However, that didn’t mean he wasn’t nervous as anything was possible at a short track.

“So how’s our driver tonight?” Chad Avrit questions as he walks over, leaning against the car with him.

“Alan told us to not bug, remember?” John questions as Chad lets out a sigh. He couldn’t help but worry about Chase at times.

“I just want to get this started tonight,” Chase says as he looks over at Chad. “I just want to get the race started, put in a solid 400 miles, get in the playoffs, and kick this thing off.” Chad nods his head, reading through the nerves.

“Well you can relax because the lady is here to take care of you,” Jared Seate offers as he motions for Sarina to join her man beside the car.

“Has he been annoying you?” Sarina laughs and shakes her head. “I know how he can be at times. If he ever gets a little crazy, just let me know and I’ll kick his ass.” Jared just flips the bird quickly as Sarina and Chase both laugh.

“I’d actually pay to see that sometimes,” Chad adds, causing a glance from Jared. “What? He’s right….”

“But we still love ya, somehow,” Nick joins in with a smile. “We’re going to do great tonight – don’t worry.”

Nick’s prediction was close to right as while they didn’t contend for the win, they managed to stay out of trouble all night, getting up inside the top-10 early and staying up there throughout. In the end, Chase crossed the finish line with a decent 10th place finish – which was alright. Though more importantly, he was one of the 16 drivers in the playoffs.

It was now time to chase a championship!

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 146: Belgium Grand Prix

Sunday, August 27

“Is this really happening?” Sarina asks as she spins around in excitement as they walk up to the admission gates.

“Are you going to be this crazy all day?” Ryan wonders, having heard her excitement all morning as Chase laughs.

“Do you have a problem with that, Mr. Blaney?” Ryan shakes his head as she spins around once again. Ryan then glances over at Chase, wondering if he worked out the bonus piece. Chase just nods his head as he goes into the package for the credentials.

“So according to Jeff, we have to keep these in our precious hands all day,” Chase starts as he pulls out everybody’s card. “This one gets you in the grounds, this one gives you garage access, this one gives you pre-race pit road access, and this one gives you access to certain roped off watching areas.” Ryan and Sarina shift through the credentials as they put on their lanyards.

“Crazy how many they have,” Ryan comments as he adjusts the lanyard.

“What’s this silver thing?” Sarina questions, noticing it on the one card.

“Beats me,” Chase answers as they keep walking towards the admission gates. They all soon realized just how tight security was as each of them was checked throughout, before the ‘silver thing’ was scanned before entry.

“That was unique, different, and almost surreal…” Chase and Ryan both nod in agreement.

“Could you imagine if we dealt with that every week?” Ryan rolls his eyes as he knew he’d grow annoyed quickly.

“Admit it, though. It’d stop people like Aliso-”

“Just stop it right there. We are not mentioning her name, or any other negative name we can think of. We’re going to have as much fun as possible today.” As they walked into the grounds, they all glance around in amazement, intrigued by the layout, along with the different activities and how hospitalities were put together.

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

“Alright, we need to head this way and now…” Chase randomly perks up after a couple hours of random exploring, catching his playmate’s attention. “Like now…”

“Why?” Sarina wonders, as Ryan smiles as he could only think of one reason for Chase’s random anticipation.

“Because if we don’t do this, we’re going to miss something important.” Sarina rushes behind the boys as she glances at the schedule for the day.

“There’s nothing for another coup-”

“This isn’t on the schedule! Come on!” She then lets out a sigh, glad she wore running shoes, as she follows the boys through the busy pit road. They hurry along, before stopping at the Haas F1 garage stall. “Wait here…” Chase steps forward, feeling a series of nerves as he taps the shoulder of the first crew member he could see.

“You’re not supposed to be behind the white line, sir,” the crew member sternly states, almost set to call security as Chase searches for his voice.

“I’m here to see Mike Arning,” Chase spits out. “He told me to meet him here precisely at this time.” The crew member initially looks confused, before Mike is sifting his way through the sea of members.

“This young man says he is supposed to see you…” Mike nods his head, as he looks at him with a smile.

“Yes, he is,” Mike states before walking up to Chase, shaking his head. “My oh my, you’ve grown up quite a bit since I last saw you walking around in the NASCAR garage with your dad. It’s almost shocking. How are you, though?”

“Who is that?” Sarina whispers as Ryan smiles, knowing exactly what was going on.

“Mike Arning,” Ryan answers, still leaving a puzzled look on Sarina’s face. “He did Stewart’s PR for a number of years. With his knowhow, it’s no wonder why he’s working the F1 team now.”

“I was surprised when Tony texted me that you guys would be here,” Mike starts and Chase nods his head.

“I’ve wanted to see an F1 race for a long time,” Chase starts. “So when Ryan and I were planning our trip to Amsterdam, followed by Germany, it just worked out nice with the schedule to cap off the week here.” Mike nods his head, seeing how that’d work out perfectly.

“And I’m betting it’s been an amazing trip?” Chase nods his head, having no complaints from the whole week. “So Tony says you have a special guest that has always dreamed of sitting in a F1 car, but never thought they’d get the chance. Now, please tell me that isn’t you since you know you could just stop by Tony’s shop.” Chase chuckles, having heard the option a couple times in discussion with him. It was why when Sarina spit the wish outloud, he immediately sent Tony the message. Although a stop by the shop would’ve worked later on, he knew being able to do it at the race would make it extra special.

“I’m good, actually. The offer more so goes for my girlfriend, Sarina.” Mike glances over at Chase’s shoulder at Sarina and Ryan standing together, before glancing back at the young man before him.

“Considering how shy and quiet you are, I’m surprised you got a girlfriend, but very happy for you as she seems like a great girl from what I’ve seen. So this is a surprise for her, right?” Chase nods his head. “Well, Romain Grosjean has a bit of love for you NASCAR boys so he said he wouldn’t mind. Besides, it may bring him some luck….”

“That means the world, honestly.” Chase then motions for Ryan and Sarina to join them over with Mike. “Guys, this is Mike Arning. He does all the public relations for Haas F1 after spending years with Tony.”

“Nice to meet you both…” Mike shakes their hands, before focusing his eyes on Sarina. “So unannounced to you, your sweet boyfriend here sent a casual text message to my boss, who then messaged me to see if I could be a dream maker. Luckily for you, the stars have aligned today. How would you like to sit in Romain’s car before the race?” Sarina’s jaw dropped almost immediately as she looked between the pair in utter shock.

“Seriously?!?” Mike and Chase both nod their heads yes. “Absolutely!!”

Like a kid in a candy store, a big smile was planted on her face the entire walk back to the car, along with climbing behind the wheel. The smile didn’t leave as she sat in the car, feeling the steering wheel and checking out the sights around her. The boys took a couple snapshots for her, before she had to climb out.

She gave Mike a big thanks, before they had to separate and head on down the road for the next stop of the day.

“Thank you!!” She squeals as she grabs Chase, pulling him into a big hug. He just smiles as she gives him a kiss. “That was amazing!”

“You’re welcome,” he replies, his smile matching hers. “As soon as you mentioned it, I had to give it a shot…”

“You’re just too good for words. I mean, I never expected that…”

“Want to drive one someday?” Ryan wonders as she thinks it over, before shaking her head.

“Too technical for my liking,” she answers with a smile as the boys nod their heads in agreement. “I think I’m set to stick to stock cars for the rest of my life.”

“She’s like a female you in some ways….” Chase flips the bird at him as Ryan just laughs. “Hey, it’s a good thing. At least you don’t have to apologize or make up for a weekend short track trip.”

“More than likely, it’d be me accompanying her to watch her kick some ass,” Chase adds as Ryan nods his head in agreement.

After some more exploring during pre-race festivities, the race started and it went by faster than they could’ve imagined. They tried out a couple different spots, amazed by how the speed felt in real time versus watching on the television screen.

The group in return got to witness history as they watched Lewis Hamilton dominate in his 200th career start. Sarina also proved to be lucky for Romain as Mike suggested, as he was able to come home with a strong seventh-place finish – which a top-10 at times had been a struggle this season for Haas.

As they left the track and headed to the airport to fly back to the United States, the group traded numerous stories the entire time about their favorite moments from the trip. It was also agreed that they’d do this again sometime, picking another area to explore for a change.

Though while they had fun, they all had to admit they couldn’t wait to return home back to the United States. There were certain things that they each missed – from food, to friends, to simple things of home – and couldn’t wait to experience all in one.

There was also a nice reception on twitter as they landed in the US, too, as Hendrick Motorsports let the cat out of the bag regarding the famous No. 9. Chase smiled as he read through numerous tweets of approval, before sending out a quick message of his own.

Driving up to the house and glancing over at Sarina, he knew that they both couldn’t wait to sleep in their own bed after a whirlwind of a trip.

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

Tuesday, August 29

The next morning, the pair wake up, tangled in the blanket together after cuddling through the night. Chase glances over at Sarina, seeing a puzzled look on her face that he wasn’t used to when they woke up.

“Hey, are you okay?” He immediately questions as she lets out a sigh.

“I don’t know; I just feel off,” she comments, causing Chase to roll over concerned. “I guess jetlag maybe…I mean, we traveled from US to Amstedam to Germany to Belgium, and back. I think my mental clock is just messed up.” Chase nodded his head, understandably. It wasn’t like they relaxed much while away, either, with so many great places visited.

“That’s understandable…..” She then looks over at him, seeing as if everything was perfectly fine without an issue.

“It doesn’t look to be bothering you, though….” Chase shrugged his shoulders.

“It affects some people, and doesn’t affect others. That’s just a fact of life. Look, we have nothing that we have to do today – well, besides dinner later with my parents – so how about we just relax? And if you’re not feeling up to din-”

“I’ll be fine, trust me. I mean, your mom is starting to come around. I actually am beginning to like her now.” Chase looks at her, partially surprised. Considering how things started off, he didn’t think that was possible.

“Really?” Sarina nods her head, remembering the last conversation with Cindy and how well it went as she actually offered some nice advice.

“Absolutely…….” Sarina couldn’t help but let out a sigh, though, which Chase immediately caught.

“But?” Sarina bit her tongue, not wanting to get into this topic right now.

“There’s no bu-”

“You just let out the most dreadful sigh.” She knew she couldn’t lie to him, and perhaps hitting the nail on the head would cover all conversational basis so she could focus back on sleep, relaxing, whatever she needed to kill the jetlag.

“I wish things were different, though.” Chase nodded his head, understanding, as he felt the same way in many aspects. It was never fun seeing the two most important woman in his life fight.

“Listen, it’ll come with tim-”

“I’m not talking about Cindy. I just mean things in general. I mean, I see how much you love your family. I see how much you care about them. There’s always looking forward to meeting them, too. I mean, I can’t wait to meet your sister – even if you say things aren’t perfect between you guys. I can’t wait to meet your uncle Ernie, either. But I wish I could you could know my family. I mean, you know Chris and Bethany – but come on! That’s not no swell memory. I wish you could’ve met my dad. I wish you could’ve met my uncles, cousins, and friends that I had then.” Chase could only barely wonder what it was like to be in her shoes right now, knowing being away from family is something he couldn’t handle. It was one of the reasons why he couldn’t wait to get home from their trip.

“Do you miss them, sometimes? I mean, besides your dad, which we’ve already talked about.” Sarina couldn’t deny it, as she nodded her head. It would’ve also been nice to get to know some of them better, and see if sanity ran in the family.

“Sometimes, yeah, I do. That’s why I guess I wanted to make sure I wasn’t affecting your relationship with your mom. I didn’t want to ruin what you had….” Chase nodded his head, understanding and appreciating the compassion. It also made him wonder….

“Do you know where any of your family is now-a-days?” Sarina shakes her head, remembering the rules given to her when everything started in the name of protection.

“Nope. That’s how you had to do it, though. No traces left behind, right?” Chase couldn’t even begin to comprehend that thought. There was no way he could travel across the country without telling everybody who was close to him.

“See, I don’t think I could ever, under any circumstance, do what you did. I would miss my parents so much. I would even miss my friends, too – yes, including Ryan. How did you do it?” Sarina shrugs her shoulder, remembering what went through her mind back then. It seemed like nothing, almost.

“It’s what my life was accustom to – mystery and secrets. I was brought up in the house where you don’t talk about certain things. Dad couldn’t talk about work because what if that compromised an investigation? Or what if I was friends with someone’s kid at school and word got out? My brother also had his secrets about who he hung out with – until that day, of course. Myself? My mom would’ve screamed if she knew how much I love racecars, the fact that I was going to tracks with my cousin, and how the thrill of a go-kart turned everything on for me. So I had to be secretive about plans to her. So when it happened, it just came natural. That’s part of my environment – I just need to do this and put emotion aside. Bad advice, though, as we’re seeing….” Chase nods his head, knowing she knew the next set of words without them being spoken.

“If you hold something in too long, you’re going to burst.” Sarina nods her head, remembering her series of breakdowns that she’s had since. There was probably more to come now, thanks to her brother.

“Exactly. Why do you think I turned into an emotional mess that night?” Chase nods his head, remembering that first night together. He wasn’t through with his curiosity, though.

“So if you had to keep all these secrets, how did you build that relationship with your dad?” Sarina smiles, knowing a question like that had to be coming. It was strange how her family worked sometimes….

“See, just because we couldn’t talk about work, it didn’t mean we didn’t talk at all, Chase. Heck, we talked about everything else under the sun. If I had a problem, I took it to my daddy and someway he’d know how to solve it – whether advice, scolding, or doing something himself. You know that bond you have with your dad in how you can just tell him anything? My father and I had that. In a chaotic sense, that was my rock.” Chase could only image just how broken she was in hearing about her father being shot if that was the case.

“And when it was gone?” She immediately swallows the lump in her throat, as she shakes her head.

“Admittedly, I was lost. But see, it made moving away from Michigan to California, easier. When I lost him, I felt so much pain, heartache – I can’t even describe how I felt, Chase. I thought by moving away, I could escape those feelings – maybe even forget it. If I didn’t see reminders everyday, it would not be brought up. Maybe I’d focus on this new life in Hollywood glamour and sun, forgetting what was.” Chase could only imagine her in that world – actually not seeing that clash together considering how rough she was behind the edges. Then again, she had a love for fashion….

“Did it work?” He knew it was useless question, but it at least kept the conversation going, something he knew she needed to get off of her chest to someone finally.

“To be honest? No, because nothing can erase that pain. I still feel some of that pain today…” Chase immediately reaches over, wrapping both arms around her and pulling her close, still knowing he could never imagine what she went through.

“Well, just know if you need to talk about it, or want to cry – anything, you just tell me and I’ll be there for you.” She nods her head, easily accepting, and thankful for what they had together.

“Thank you – and that goes both ways. I mean, you’ve been lucky and had things go as you wanted. But if you get that moment where you need to drop it all and confess a series of emotions, you know where to find me.” Chase smiles, as he keeps her held tightly.

“Right beside me, obviously.” She smiles as she glances into his eyes.

“I would hope so.”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 145: “I am blessed…”

Saturday, August 24 – Germany

Chase slowly wakes up, stretching, as he casually looks at the time. He knew they were having another relaxing day as their vacation was slowly coming to a close. He rolls over, set to cuddle Sarina back close for at least a little while, and is surprised when he notices she’s not there.

He then feels a breeze, glancing towards the balcony of the room and seeing the door open. Throwing the blanket off of himself, he grabs a t-shirt and slips it on before walking out to the doorway. He notices her glancing over the edge, taking in the city.

Before startling her, he snaps a photo for his vacation collection.

chaseelliott24: Having an amazing time in Germany with @ryanblaney10 and @sarina18. Perfect time to get away and relax before business picks up.

He then puts his phone in his pocket, before walking out on to the balcony.

“Hey,” she says quietly as she notices him, glancing over with a smile. That glance confirmed everything that was on her mind immediately.

“Hey,” he replies as he walks up to the edge with her. “Whatcha doing?” She glances back out towards the view as you could see everything from their room on the sixth floor.

“Just taking it in….” He smiles as he puts his hand on hers.

“You seemed a little lost for thought…” She smiles, knowing that wasn’t a lie. She had walked out there for a reason that morning.

“I just sometimes can’t believe where I am in my life right now. You always dream of getting that opportunity to race in NASCAR, the opportunity to do something in your life, and make something of it when it seems nothing is going right. I mean, I never could’ve imagined driving in the truck series full-time for Kyle Busch. I never could’ve imagined traveling to Amsterdam, Germany, and heck Belgium tomorrow. It’s almost surreal….” Chase smiles as he glances out at the view, as well.

“I understand, totally. I never thought I’d travel the world, either. Do you need me to pinch you, though?” She lets out a laugh.

“And then there’s you. I never thought I could find someone that would love me truthfully, and honestly. I mean, you accept my faults. You accept everything that has happened. You’ve also dealt with my crazy family. I never thought someone would have my back like you do.” He gives her a hand a squeeze, glancing over with a smile.

“You never have to question that, Sarina. Really, I’m lucky to have you, too…” She rolls her eyes with a laugh. “What?”

“You’re Chase Elliott. You’re perfecti-”

“What have I told you about that?” She lets out a sigh, remembering the discussion.

“You’re sweet, kind – everybody’s sweetheart. Do you know how many girls would kill at the chance to be with you? But yet, you’ve chosen me…” Chase nods his head as he wraps an arm around her.

“You accept the faults that other people don’t see. You also don’t treat me like someone special because of who I am. I mean, you actually didn’t quite surrender yourself immediately to me. While I may doubt other people due to thinking they just want me because of who they think I am, or because of the name and stardom, I know that what we have is real. I thank you for loving me for who I really am.” She smiles as she lies her head on his shoulder.

“It’s easy to do that, Chase. Well, wait….” He gives her a puzzled look. “It wasn’t easy at first, okay? I mean, you’re right – it took some convincing. But I thank you for every bit of that patience because look at this…”

“Just think – we’ve been together two yea-”

“We didn’t get together that weekend in Michigan!” Chase laughs, as he remembered the night spent in the motorcoach.

“You slept in my be-”

“It was late and you didn’t want me lea-”

“Still, you slept there that night. You also confessed a lot of things that weekend, too. It was from there that we really began to get a hold of each other and hang out more. That’s why I say it was the start of the relationship.” Sarina shakes her head. “Okay – when is the anniversary then?”

“Snowball Derby weekend. You offered me a ride after the weekend was over and then I kissed you for the first time, truly admitting how much I loved you after your persuasion.” Chase couldn’t deny that…

“So you’re saying beginning of December instead of August? That’s a four month difference!” Sarina nods her head.

“We only hung out a mere couple of times between then, and it took till then for me to see the light. I then agreed to officially date you, and also drive for your late model team.” Chase smiles as she did have a point. Besides, it’d be a great way to celebrate their anniversary each year.

“Well then you better walk away with the snowball this year as a present.” She laughs as she tangles her fingers in his hair.

“Can you please not cut your hair?” He lets out a sigh, knowing that both Ryan and Sarina wanted him to keep it beyond Darlington.

“It’s starting to bug me….” She knew there was no way of convincing him otherwise.

“Can you at least wait until like Wednesday or Thursday?” Chase then glances at her, slightly confused, before remembering.

“That’s right as you won’t be at Darlington due to going to Canada…” She nods her head, dreading the truck series schedule right now. She would’ve loved to be at Darlington for throwback weekend.

“So, do we have a deal?” Chase nods his head. “Now, do you have any tips, previous race winner?”

“I can give you some tips, too,” a new voice joins the discussion as they glance behind them to see Ryan was awake. “Are we gonna flirt all day or are we set for some traveling?” As much as the pair were enjoying the quiet time, they knew they should get going.

“Give me 15 minutes,” Chase requests before heading inside, beginning to get ready.

“I’m a girl and I only need like 5,” Sarina adds as she follows him inside. “What’s going to take you so long?” Chase grabs a pair of jeans and another shirt, before heading into the bathroom. “Of course, a shower….”

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

As planned from the beginning, the group began their trip for the day going to the Neuschwanstein Castle. It looked like it was right out of a fairy tale with the glances from the outside and construction.

The group took a full tour of the inside, amazed by the decorations in the different rooms and secret hallways that led you to different sections. As they toured around, someone else took a photo of the three of them together in the great hall, before Ryan took a snapshot of Chase and Sarina together at the top.

“I would make sure to rescue you if you were stuck in the tower,” he assures her as they head down the long staircase.

“I wouldn’t need rescuing as I’d kick their asses!” She lets out, causing him to laugh. Although admittedly, he couldn’t deny that with how she was.

“We may need to rescue Blaney then….” She then laughs, as Ryan looks back at the pair.

“I’m a Jedi master; I can get out of trouble like a flash,” Ryan offers as Chase rolls his eyes. He always enjoyed picking on Ryan for his Star Wars obsession.

“You should challenge him to a light saver duel,” Chase comments. “I bet he’d lose…”  Ryan just flips the bird quickly as Chase laughs.

“He only wants you to do that because he can’t beat me!” Chase rolls his eyes once again, remembering that fun night at the house.

“Let’s just say that he should’ve explained the rules and what’s illegal first.” Ryan shrugs his shoulders as he glances back once again.

“You should have watched the movie with me as I suggested….”

The group then made the trip to the city of Cologne as originally discussed the day before, and immediately headed to the chocolate museum. Their mouths watered as they walked through, taking in the history of how chocolate came to be, along with the creations of different flavors. They admittedly laughed at some of the creations through the years, while wishing they could take bets on trying others.

After they finished the walk through the museum, they came about the large liquid fountain that  overlooked the mighty Dom cathedra.

“I have never seen chocolate look so pretty enchanting and pretty at the same time,” Sarina comments as she dips a strawberry in the fountain. She immediately licked her lips upon tasting it. “Oh my gosh…”

“Heavenly?” Chase questions and Sarina nods her head. He follows suit – with a marshmallow instead, but had the exact same reaction. “I never thought chocolate could taste better than M&Ms….”

“You should dip a peanut in the fountain,” Ryan suggests, handing him one after his own experience. Chase followed the request, immediately falling in love.

“Can we just stay here and not move for the rest of the day?” Ryan and Sarina both laugh.

“What about the precious keeping ourselves healthy, Mr. Workout Nut?” Chase looks over, surprised.

“Just because I bike and jot a lot doesn’t mean a Workout Nut. My name is not Jimmie Johnson or Carl Edwards.”

“Besides, he has a secret obsession with candy to the point he has to sneak it from my trailer due to Alan yelling at him,” Sarina adds, causing Ryan to look at Chase surprised. Chase just nods his head in acceptance.

“I found your weakness….” Ryan teases as Chase rolls his eyes.

“I don’t care,” he replies, as he takes another marshmallow. “You’re not spoiling my date with the fountain.”

After several dips into the fountain, followed by a trip to the gift shop as there was no way Chase was leaving without any chocolate, they made their way further into the city.

They stopped at one of the well-known bars, taking their seats. The waiter immediately brought a beer for each of the boys, along with a soda for Sarina, before handing them a menu. They each ordered something light for dinner.

“So what is this that you’re drinking?” Sarina asks, taking a sniff of Chase’s drink.

“Kolsch,” Chase answers. “It’s the city’s known beer. Light in color, but packed in flavor…” She nods her head, setting the glass down.

“And these mats?” Chase smiles, remembering the details as he and Ryan explained while planning this portion of the trip. They both wanted to try the different beer flavors, and caught intrigued by how the bars in the city do this.

“It’s called a beer mat. When your glass is empty, the waiter automatically will bring you a new one and make a mark on the mat. You declare you’re done for the night by placing the mat over your glass. She then counts up the amount of marks, knowing the price of your bill.” It seemed like a simple enough policy, but Sarina had to wonder.

“See, that’s a little puzzling because what about those who just keep drinking and drinking and drinking?” Ryan and Chase hadn’t done that amount of research.

“I’m sure they’d find your limit and stop you – but relax, I’m not going to cause trouble….” Sarina smiles, having full faith in him.

“Just sing a song and dance?” Ryan questions as Chase smiles. He had no doubt that’d probably happen if they followed Ryan’s idea of being there for awhile.

Sure enough, after eating their meal, the stories started and the drinks continued. It took a couple hours, but both boys were feeling the buzz. Of course, that welcomed some singing from Ryan and Chase, which Sarina could only sit back and smile over.

“I got a special one for you,” Chase says as he comes over to Sarina, grabbing her hand and pulling her off the stool.

“Oh really?”  She questions and he nods his head. They were playing a mix of hip hop, country – basically whatever people were asking for. It was in the moment that Chase couldn’t pass it up after their discussion that morning.

“Ryan has gone up to request it, too.” She looks on surprised, but could only wonder what he was up to.

“Are you sure he’s going to listen?” Chase nods his head as he twirls her around.

“You said you like the singing and dancing. Last night officially as a bunch of crazy tourists, and I owe it to you…”

Immediately hearing the song, a smile came to her face as it was one of her favorites to listen to while traveling. Though listening to the words roll of his tongue and emphasis behind the lyrics, she was immediately captivated into the moment as he swayed her back and forth.

There was nothing better than this exact moment right here. She wanted to make sure she never forgot it, either.

You say what if I hurt you, what if I leave you

What if I find somebody else and I don’t need you

What if this goes south, what if I mess you up

You say what if I break your heart in two then what

 

Well I hear you girl, I feel you girl but not so fast

Before you make your mind up I gotta ask

 

What if I was made for you and you were made for me

What if this is it, what if it’s meant to be

What if I ain’t one of them fools just playin’ some game

What if I just pulled you close, what if I leaned in

And the stars line up and it’s our last first kiss

What if one of these days baby I’d go and change your name

What if I loved all these what ifs away

 

What if the sky falls (sky falls) or the sun stops burnin’

We could worry about them what ifs ’til the world stops turnin’

Or I could kiss you (you should kiss me), what if you liked it (bet I’d like it)

Well we ain’t never gonna know unless we try it

 

What if I was made for you and you were made for me

What if this is it, what if it’s meant to be

What if I ain’t one of them fools just playin’ some game

What if I just pulled you close, what if I leaned in

And the stars line up and it’s our last first kiss

What if one of these days baby I’d go and change your name

What if I loved all these what ifs away

 

Awe yea

C’mon

 

You say what if I hurt you, what if I leave you

What if I find somebody else and I don’t need you

 

Damn

 

What if I was made for you and you were made for me

What if this is it, what if it’s meant to be

What if I ain’t one of them fools just playin’ some game

What if I just pulled you close, what if I leaned in

And the stars line up and it’s our last first kiss

What if one of these days baby I’d go and change your name

What if I loved all these what ifs away

Away (away)

 

What if?

 

Upon the song finishing, she immediately reaches in for the kiss, as she keeps her arms firmly wrapped around you.

“I’m glad everyday that I took the chance – honestly,” she tells him. “I love you so much, Chase…”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 144: A Fast & Furious Bet

Friday August 23

Knowing they had a busy day ahead of them, Ryan and Sarina were the first ones up this morning, with Chase actually sleeping in for a change.

“I have an idea…..” Ryan muses as he glances over at his best friend curled up in the bed. He was going to find the answer he wanted, one way or another.

“Oh no….” Sarina comments, knowing that glance from Ryan. Normally, it was followed by a prank for her. What was he about to pull on Chase?

“Do you know the password to his phone?” Sarina glances over at Ryan, surprised.

“Ryan…..” Ryan knew it was wrong, but what else was there to do?

“What? There’s no way we can guess this….” Sarina lets out a sigh as she grabs the hairbrush. She knew to respect personal boundaries.

“I’m not hacking his phone just for that and no, I don’t know it.” Ryan shook his head as he glanced at the night table.

“Shit!” He then picks up the phone, looking it over as Sarina can only look back surprised.

“ Ryan!!” Ryan glances over at her, knowing he had to convince her to help him.

“Do you really want to go through another day of wondering?” Sarina knew it was annoying, and she wanted to know as badly as ever, but this wasn’t fair.

“This is a bad idea….” Ryan knew that, but at this point, he didn’t care.

“Maybe….” He then reaches over where Chase’s hand was, trying to press the different ones up against the finger pad. As he tried to do it with left hand, Chase’s right hand landed on top of Ryan’s, gripping it.

“Don’t ever do that again, got it?” He questions, sternly. He wasn’t one to get angry about many things, but personal privacy needed to be respected.

“Got it,” Ryan says as he lets go of the phone, placing it in Chase’s hands, feeling bad immediately. “Sorry.  You’re right – the announcement is not worth doing this….” Chase lets out as he gets out of the bed.

“I was going to tell you, but maybe I won’t now….” He then grabs a pair of jeans and a t-shirt before heading into the bathroom for a shower.

“Great job, Ryan!” Sarina comments as she focuses on herself in the mirror.

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

In hopes of making up for his stupid mistake, Ryan bought the group breakfast that morning at the café, crossing his fingers that it got him back on Chase’s good side. He was set to find out the announcement by day’s end, no matter what it took – but while respecting boundaries.

“Oh, so Martin Frederich heard that we were going to Germany,” Chase comments, referring to JR Motorsportst’ IT director which was born there. “He passed along some notes to consider about traveling around, places to see, key phrases…”  Chase hands a photo copy to Ryan and Sarina. “I forgot to give that to you yesterday.”

“Not a bad list,” Sarina comments as she reads over the notes.

“He covered the essentials – Bier, Waschraum, Essen,” Ryan reads off, which translated to beer, washroom and food. “So is this why you suggested the zoo?” Chase nods his head.

“We all like to be outdoors, love animals, and it’s supposed to be pretty unique,” Chase explains, which Ryan couldn’t argue with. “I figured we’d give it our best shot. He also was the one that suggested both Munich and Cologne.”

“Cologne?” Sarina questions, confused. She could only think of that stuff guys wore – but they didn’t smell of it.

“It’s a city known for three great liquids – cologne, Kolsch, and a chocolate museum with the biggest liquid fountain known to mankind.” Sarina licks her lips, just imaging what she could dip in the chocolate and enjoy – from strawberries to sweet candies and donuts.

“That sounds great….” Chase nods his head, knowing that it was perfect due to his crazy obsession with candies. He didn’t need to sneak any here – he was going to find the number one source. “So what’s today’s plan, besides the zoo?” Ryan unfolds their map of ideas, an immediate smile on his face.

“Autobahn….” The boys say together as Sarina begins to smile even more. If there was something better than chocolate dreams, it was unlimited speed limits.

“So the suggestion of going to play is a reality?” She questions and the boys nod their heads. “Oh boy…..”

“We figure we could make it a little interesting, while keeping in mind safety,” Ryan offers as Sarina looks on intrigued. “Mr. Elliott, you have a very big secret that you won’t tell a soul….”

“Oh but I have….” Chase replies, as Ryan rolls his eyes. He wished he was one of those who knew.

“We beat you across from spot one to spot two and you have to tell us without a shadow of a doubt.” Chase smiles, knowing that wasn’t going to be possible.

“Deal.”

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

After exploring Tierpark Hagenbeck (the zoo), Chase drove the group to a car rental spot near the beginning marker of the trip. There was no way they were going to agree to do this all together in one car, or taking turns. It was why they already decided to settle this.

“Stepping up to a corvette for the trip?” Ryan asks as they head inside, causing Chase to laugh.

“Think I need a corvette to be faster than you?” Chase wonders as Ryan shrugs his shoulders. “That car has more get up and go than one person could dare to realize.”

“Suit yourself….” Ryan walks up to the desk, putting the immediate rental through for a brand new Ford Shelby Mustang GT500. “This baby was built for times like these…” Chase just rolls his eyes.

“Carroll Shelby is the only reason why anything in the Ford family can come close to Chevrolet.”

“Typical boys,” Sarina comments as she walks up to the desk. She tried to go with a couple different Toyota models – obviously following manufacture protocol, but none of them were in stock.

“Get a Chevrolet like your boyfriend,” Chase suggests as Sarina just laughs.

“I’m in Germany. I have the adrenaline to go fast. I’m not just going to go with your typical car.” She then turns back to the sales representative with a smile. “2017 Porsche 911 in Blau.”

“Blau?” Chase and Ryan question together as Sarina glances back.

“Blue – light blue per manufacture reveal,” She comments. “The perfect combination of sex appeal and speed wrapped in a package.”

“Going for looks – there’s no way,” Chase comments as Ryan laughs.

“Das ist sehr teuer zu vermieten,” the manager speaks up from the corner, and Sarina just nods her head. “Kannst du mit der Geschwindigkeit umgehen?” Sarina could only laugh as she glanced back at the boys, before facing the manager.

“Zu Ihrer Information: Mädchen können genauso schnell fahren wie Jungen,” she starts, causing both boys’ jaws to drop. “In der Tat bin ich ein Rennfahrer in den Vereinigten Staaten, damit ich mit dem Porsche umgehen kann. Ich habe auch das Geld, also wie wär’s, wenn du die Papiere aufziehst und aufhörst, ein stereotypes Arschloch zu sein?” The manager was taken back by her comment, though immediately handed her the paperwork to fill out. She then hands it back after with a smile, snatching the keys. “Come on boys…”

“I didn’t know you knew German…” Chase muses as she laughs.

“I don’t – but I know how to use my phone and translator applications very well.” She then shows the boys the phone, as they just shake their heads in disbelief.

“So what all did you tell him?” Ryan questions, having heard a tone of annoyance in her tone.

“He told me the car was pricey to rent and I may not be able to handle the speed,” Sarina starts, and Chase was already chuckling. He knew those words never ended well with her. “I told him that I’m a racecar driver in the United States, and I have money, so he needs to stop being a stereotypical asshole.” Chase stops immediately upon hearing the words, eyes focused on her.

“You actually called him a stereotypical asshole?” Chase wonders and Sarina nods her head as if it’s no surprise.

“You know that I don’t take crap, and arschloch translates to asshole.” Chase was surprised she still got the car as requested, but had to admire her grit and determination.

“Let’s try to be nice to the locals from now on, okay?” Ryan offers, rubbing her shoulders, as she laughs.

“I could’ve called him more things, right?” She asks as she walks over to the car. “Good luck, gentleman.” She then blows them a kiss before climbing in.

“Did that just really happen?” Chase nods his head as he lets out a sigh. “Did you expect that at all?” Chase shakes his head. “Well, this just keeps getting more interesting…..”

With the exit at the end of the trail programmed in their phones, the group took to the Autobahn set for an afternoon of fun. The rules of the highway were simple in Germany – minimum speed of 100 mph, with no maximum laid out.

Initially, Chase was wondering whether it’d be like Talladega – you can go as fast as you want, but you’ll have to wave through traffic. He worried about how that’d play out, a clip of fear of something going wrong. What if they ruined their trip, season, or life in a simple accident due to wanting to have some fun?

But it wasn’t like that at all. Actually in Germany, the locals and tourists respected the rules of lane traffic. If they realized you were quicker than them, they merged to the right out of your lane in the six-lane spread so you could have the inside. Ryan even had to admit he was surprised when he had to move over due to someone driving a supercar at a speed of at least 220 mph.

While it was perfect timed out fun, it went quicker than they all could’ve expected, with some choice maneuvers throughout resulting in Sarina crossing their imaginary finish line first, ahead of Chase, and then Ryan.

“What did I say?” Sarina comments as they all stand off a local parking lot together.

“Well played,” Chase admits as he shakes his head. “I knew you had talent. That shows something…”

“Any words, Mr. Blaney?” Ryan then looks at her, intrigued.

“You don’t need to let it go to your head.” Ryan then turned to Chase, smiling. He hadn’t beat Chase, but Sarina had and that meant one thing.”Well?”

“I’ll give you the hashtags,” Chase starts, causing Ryan to roll his eyes. There was no way they could get Chase to spill. “#LegacyLives and #Di9.” Sarina remembered the hashtag from his XFINITY Series season, having followed it as she always had her eye on him. There was a careful way that was written with a number, and a smile forms as she got the Legacy reference.

“You’re getting your No. 9 back?” She questions and Chase nods his head. “No wonder you’re beyond excited…” Chase crosses his arms as he leans back against the Camaro.

“I have no problem with the 24 – actually, it was an honor and kind of sweet deal. But, nothing will ever compare to that No. 9 in my mind. That’s the family number as my dad ran that for years. I’ve also ran that since I started, dating back to Legends and all through late models. We only went 94 in trucks because it wasn’t avail-”

“But your dad used that for McDonalds sponsorship….” Ryan remembers and Chase nods his head.

“So I’ve always wondered in the back of my mind if I could go back to my number,” Chase continues. “With William moving up, it presented the perfect opportunity….”

“So William Byron is getting the 24 and the 5 is out of the picture – or is Bowman getting that?” Chase shakes his head, knowing that Bowman wasn’t going to see a change.

“Nationwide has built a brand with the 88 and Bowman doesn’t mind that number at all. Axaltra is going to primary sponsor William a bunch of races, whereas they’re not a partner of me. Think about that….”  Ryan understood immediately as he knew how much the Axaltra, 24, Dupont connection meant to everybody. “With Axaltra doing that and Rick knowing that they would prefer the number, he asked me if I wanted the 9. I couldn’t say no. I immediately jumped at the cha-”

“But they started with the 5, and now they’re dropping it? That was also Ricky’s XFINITY number….” Chase nods his head, remembering the discussions that took place.

“Hence the hashtag – #LegacyLives. The 9 brings legacy in the Elliott family, the 24 brings legacy in the history of Axaltra, and the 88 brings legacy in what Nationwide, Dale, and Alex grew together. Sure, we’re losing the 5, but Rick feels it’s alright to do so based on the other reasons stated, and JRM will still run the 5 with Annett.”

“Ricky’s first number wasn’t 5 anyway,” Sarina adds. “It was 17….” She could feel a couple emotions as she remembered sitting on the couch, watching Ricky Hendrick score his first career truck win.

“That’s a pretty neat deal….” Chase nods his head.

“I’m happy for you – actually, beyond happy. I can’t wait to see you back where you belong – home – next year.” Chase smiles as he knew Sarina had grown used to the 9 with him from their late model days. “Alright, we better take the cars back before the manager goes nuts.” They then laugh.

They make the trip back solidly, returning both the mustang and Porsche back to the manager without any issues. They then climbed into the Camaro once again together, heading out, bound for Munich.

“Traffic is clear….” Ryan comments from the backseat with a smile as he holds both their phones together.

A previous discussion about favorite movies saw Sarina immediately bring up the Fast and Furious franchise – despite the boys saying Cars 3 was better, and then referencing a couple scenes. There was one where Han and his girlfriend made out while driving down the Autobahn, along with another of Brian O’Connor driving fast down the road in the second movie, eyes and hands locked on his female partner.

With Ryan’s direction and eyes focused on what was ahead, Chase reached over for Sarina’s hand, clutching his tightly. The pair then turned to look at each other, locking eyes as Ryan quickly snapped the photo. The moment only lasted about four seconds as Chase couldn’t take his eyes being off the stretch ahead, returning back to normal driving form.

“There’s no way I could do that any longer if we tried again,” Chase comments. “You better have gotten that for her….” Ryan smiles as he hands the phones over to Sarina.

“Awww awesome!” Sarina lets out immediately as she makes the photo her cover on twitter, and Instagram profile photo.

@Sarina18: There’s no other man that I’d rather be traveling the journey through life with than this guy right here. He’s more amazing than words can describe. Love ya, @chaseelliott24, and thank you.

“Ready for a fun night now, boys?” She asks, knowing the trouble that they were set for. The boys laugh, as the answer was simple.

While the rest of Germany was stuck up and fancy, Munich was the place to go for youth and fun. Although the country wasn’t a fan of the actions portrayed, it was the city of fun and partying. The model there was to stay up late, enjoy drinks, dance, and have fun – while cutting loose every which way possible.

After taking the car back to the hotel and riding the bus down, a glance at each other and they knew it was going to be another classic entertaining evening.