The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 251: “I bet Carter enjoyed the chance to touch you all over.”

Tuesday, May 21

Morgan walks over to where Sarina was checking over some messages on her phone, crossing her arms.

“Is everything okay?” Morgan questions, catching Sarina’s attention immediately, who simply nods back in response.

“Chase was just asking how you made out today,” Sarina answers. “I told him that you were able to pick out the dress you want for your wedding. So that’s two dresses picked out for my ladies this month. He asked what it looked like, but I told him no pictures of the one due to worries of Christopher seeing it.”  Morgan nods her head, smiling as she was glad that everybody had followed her rules in regards to images. “For the record, I think you look absolutely amazing. You’re going to look amazing when you and Christopher get married.”

“I appreciate that, especially from someone as stylish as you. I still can’t believe what your dress looked like when you entered the hall and walked down the aisle.” Sarina always smiled as she thought back to that day. Not just because of the dress, but the sentiments expressed that day. “Thank you for coming out today and offering your opinion.”

“No, thank you for letting me be part of this. Considering everything said about us together originally, it’s amazing to see how close we are.” Morgan couldn’t help but agree, remembering everybody thinking that the girls would be odds with each other over Christopher. However, there were obviously other reasons that came into play for creating their friendship.

“After everything that we’ve been through together, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Sarina glances down, taking a deep breath, as that comment instantly brought her back to what had happened last month. It didn’t seem no matter what she was doing, she couldn’t escape what happened.

“I hate that you’re in the middle of that. I hate that you and Christopher are now part of the Carter’s games and everything that happened. it stings for me to have it happen, it stings even more watching Chase in pain, and then it stings the worse in watching my friends and family get caught up in it, too.” Morgan understood the sentiment, but it wasn’t the same for her.

“I’m just glad that Christopher and I could be there in the cabin to help you and Chase get through those couple of days. Could you imagine what you’ve done by yourselves?” Sarina shakes her head as she didn’t even want to think about the possibilities.

“I wouldn’t have known what to do about the wound. I mean, Morgan, you saved him…” She then glances down, taking a deep breath. “And Christopher saved me. I don’t think I could’ve ever gotten away from Carter myself. I know I tried, I pushed, I did what I could, but…” The tears begin to roll down her cheeks. “I just couldn’t stop him myself.”

“You fought hard, though. You were strong in holding him back, and how you’ve handled things since. You are still absolutely amazing. He doesn’t define you.” Morgan then wraps her arms around Sarina, pulling her close into a hug. “It’s okay. You’re going to get through this, and Carter is going to spend years rotting away in prison. Once word gets around what he did, I imagine someone will return the favor.”

“Look at me, ruining your special day with my tears….” Morgan immediately starts shaking her head as she keeps Sarina held tight to her.

“My day isn’t ruined. I still have my dress, and it means a lot to me to be there for my friends. It’s going to be okay….”

Thursday, May 23 – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Chase walks over to Alan following the first practice, giving the crew chief a high-five after timing in second quickest at the end of the session.

“We just need to lay down a lap like that later today and we’ll be fine,” Alan summarizes and Chase nods his head in agreement. He then leans back against the pit box, watching as the crew goes to work going over the car ahead of qualifying later that afternoon.

“Want to share some of your speed secrets?” Ryan questions as he walks over after a good five minutes. Chase could only chuckle in response.

“Don’t you have a win here?” Chase reminds him, as Ryan thinks back to the fall of last year in the dramatic last lap that took place.

“Some people claim that I got lucky.” Chase rolls his eyes, not surprised as he was used to the same critics.

“There’s no such thing as luck in racing. You put yourself in position to take advantage of the circumstances.” Ryan smiles as he had used the same logic himself a million times over. “If you’re looking for speed, why are you down here bugging me?”

“I wanted to offer you an update on my wedding.” Chase was used to these discussions by now, knowing it was just over a month until Ryan and Lindsay would be married. “So along with us having got the tuxedos, Lindsay was able to pick out her dress. She also decided on the bridemaid’s dresses, as they’re trying to go for a relaxed beach the-”

“So we have to go full tuxedos for your beach wedding when it’s going to be jaw-dropping hot, and yet the girls can go light?” Ryan lets out a sigh, having heard the same complaint from others.

“Hey, least you’re having to wear the jacket and tie. Lindsay could’ve enforced that.” Chase wasn’t about to argue as he wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. He knew that Lindsay had certain details she wanted perfected. “Guest list confirmed with invitations sent out. The first reception hall that we checked out was fully booked, but the second was available and we have it booked. We also have a date picked out to choose our wedding rings next month.”

“So all that’s left is for me and Bubba to plan the bachelor party?” Ryan breaks out with a laugh, actually not surprised that his friends were thinking that already for him.

“First of all, I didn’t get to give you a proper bachelor party, as Jimmie and Dale wan-”

“Blame Alison for that…” Ryan takes a deep breath, actually not wanting to think about her at all considering everything that she had done.

“Second of all, there’s no Hangover happening as I would actually like to be fully present for my wedding. It’s also a race weekend, and I need some brain cells to handle Daytona.” Chase couldn’t argue with the stipulations as he knew he wasn’t going to be getting into much at the wedding for the same reason. “There’s also my vows. She was inspired from your wedding, thank you for very much, and thinks writing our own vows is a great idea.”

“Good luck with that. If I’m being honest, I struggled with mine for weeks and crumpled up a lot of paper in trying to write them exactly how I wanted. However, it came together. Just speak from the heart, and tell her what you think of her – ignoring everybody else in the room.” Chase simply places a hand on Ryan’s shoulder. “You’ll be fine, don’t worry. Regardless of what you say, she’s going to cry anyway with her hormones.”

“Geeez, thanks for the encouragement. I guess I’ll make sure to have a couple Kleenex in my pocket, even if I sound like a total ass in the process.” Chase simply smiles in response.

“It wouldn’t be the first time, would it?” Ryan playfully gives him a punch before walking away. “Aww poor Ry got his feelings hurt. Are you going to go cry on her shoulder now?”

“No, I don’t want to be the excuse for you being late going to get Abigail from your wife.” Chase then freezes, glancing at the time as he mutters a quiet ‘shit’ to himself before hurrying out of the garage. He knew he should’ve left sooner with Xfinity practice scheduled close to the Cup practice.

Sarina was glad to have an afternoon with two practices as it gave her a chance to focus on something other than her feelings. She had done decent across the pair of sessions, posting the 11th quickest time in the first session, along with the sixth quickest speed in the second.

“Like I was telling you before, the car feels real comfortable,” she tells Dave Elenz after having finished taking a glance over the data. “It feels like I can run solidly without any issues over the course of a run, not too tight or loose. It’s right where I’d want to be, if I’m being honest.”

“That’s good, and it shows on the clock as you maintain over 10, 20 laps,” Dave replies back to her having watched the lap times over the course of both practices. “I’d just feel a little more comfortable if we were a little quicker on the short run because you know how the races typically end up with one of those late-race cautions.”  Sarina nods her head in agreement, as she knew it’d also hurt in qualifying on Saturday.

“I just don’t want to give up that comfortable feeling as I’ve felt that we’ve been missing that a couple weeks, hence why we’ve faded in the late stages. If we can keep that feeling, we can run solidly up front all day.” Dave wasn’t about to argue as he knew a happy, comfortable driver produced better than someone complaining.

“I’ll look over things tonight and tomorrow, as I have a couple ideas that we could go with. But don’t worry – I will try and keep that comfort that you’re liking. Maybe it’s just the fact that car looks awesome blue.” She couldn’t help but smile as she had quickly became of the new paint scheme herself.

She then leaves the garage stall, ready to head back to the trailer and change ahead of Cup qualifying. She knew she could stand on pit road with Abigail in her firesuit, but it’d be much more comfortable changed into a t-shirt and jeans.

The fact that a crowd filled the infield didn’t surprise her, as that was the case every week. It was also why she kept a marker in her pocket, as she knew they’d want autographs. She easily accepted the offers as she began the walk through the garage, signing as many as she could, along with taking a couple photos along the way.

“Damn, I can see why Chase married you,” she hears one of the young male fans comment. She could only roll her eyes, having grown used to comments like that.

“Thanks for the compliment,” she easily responds, just like any other day. “I’ll be sure to pass along the appreciation.”

“So does he squeeze that ass of yours every night?” The comment was a little further than she expected the fan to go, but again, it happened every once in a while. She just ignored as usual, focusing on other fans. “I bet he slaps that ass every night, eh sweet thang?” She then feels a slap against her ass, causing her to snap in the direction of the fan.

“How about you keep your filthy hands to yourself, please and thank you?” She then takes a deep breath, trying to put it out of her mind, as she turns her focus back to the other fans looking for autographs.

“I bet Carter enjoyed the chance to touch you all over, fulfilling every guy’s fantas-”

“That’s enough!” A new voice breaks in the picture, as an arm wraps around Sarina’s shoulders. “Just so you know, this will be the last time that you’re allowed in the garage area.”

“Aww I’m sorry, did the truth hurt your wee little feelings?” The fan questions, but the comment was totally ignored as Sarina is led out of the crowd and to the hauler as she intended.

Dave leads her inside, sliding the door shut, before walking up to the lounge and doing the same thing. He watches as she slowly sits on the couch, still stuck in her own thoughts about what had just transpired, as he hands her a cold bottle of water.

“Are you okay?” Dave questions as he takes his usual seat, fighting between the urge of going into his notes as usual and letting her be, or being the comforting force in this situation.

“Thank you,” Sarina quietly whispers in response, as she continues taking small sips of the water, letting it slowly calm her down as she tries to let every thought escape her mind. “As soon as he mentioned Carter’s name, I just froze….”

“I was headed back here as planned, ready to go over notes before meeting up with Jason (Burdett) and I heard the comment. It caught my attention, and then I noticed you froze so I just took charge.” It was as if Dave’s words didn’t sink in for Sarina as she sat there, still froze.

“As he said Carter’s name, it brought me back to the bedsroom, and what happened. Touching me all over, I couldn’t get it out of my mind as I still remember what every single touch felt like and how sick it made me feel.”  She finally looks up and looks over at Dave. “I just wanted to puke on that guy in that very moment.”

“You should’ve as there was no right for those comments. Thankfully, he won’t have a chance to say those again.” Dave had already done the liberty of sending an image of the fan to NASCAR security, describing the incident to have his HOT pass removed.

“I probably looked like a fool standing in that sea of people froze like that…” Dave was about to put the issue to bed, but her comment instantly taught his attention. “The simple mention of his name, and I’m a statue.”

“Anybody who’s been through what you went through would be understanding of your reaction. They would be comforting to your feelings, knowing that you just don’t forget or let go. Don’t put much thought into what happened. Nobody will care or say anything. Just maybe for the next couple of weeks, have someone walk back with you in case. I know you wanted no special treatment, but it’s okay to accept a hand sometimes.” Sarina hated to admit that the crew chief was right, but she knew another incident like that wouldn’t be a good idea. Furthermore, incidents like that could turn ugly quick.

“I’ll keep that in mind, thank you…”  Dave pulls out his laptop as he originally planned, feeling as though the conversation was put to bed. He knew that they weren’t close as there was no chance that she’d go into further details with him.

“I texted Alan that you were running a little late in coming to get Abigail, sharing as minimal details as possible but enough to warn that there’s a couple crazy fans around. He appreciated the message, and said that the guys would watch Abigail as Chase headed out.” Sarina wasn’t surprised to hear that in return, as she knew how much the crew guys enjoyed spending time with Abigail. It seemed her giggles, and mumbles caused them to melt immediately, with her favorite activity being able to jump on their knees as they held her.

Sarina walks over to Chase, leaning over the roof of the car as she glances over at him.

“I know it wasn’t what you wanted, but it could be worse,” she offers, catching his attention. He then lets out a sigh, as he wasn’t about to be happy with qualifying 12th. “You could’ve qualified 22nd, or 32nd.”

“We were quicker in practice, and the car felt more comfortable, though,” he replies, summarizing his comments for Alan following the run. “I know it’s a long race and we can make our way forward, but I’d rather be starting up front than in the sixth row. We can’t keep giving up in qualifying if we’re going to start winning races.” She then makes her way over to him, leaning her head against him.

“One step at a time. It’s progress compared to earlier this season.” Chase couldn’t argue with there, and things could certainly be much worse right now as he wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“Alan said there was a brief incident in the garage with a fan. Are you okay?” She nods her head back in response. “What happened, anyway?”

“I was heading back to the hauler, and this fan came up and made a comment that he understood why you married me. I accepted the compliment, telling him I’d pass it along to yo-”

“I appreciate the sentiment, but he has to understand that you’re my girl and I don’t share well.” Sarina lets out a sigh, wishing that was something that’d always stayed true. Instead, another person had gotten the chance to get their hands on her.

“He then slapped my ass while complimenting it, which I told him to keep his filthy hands to himself. He then made the comment that Carter probably enjoyed his time with me – and I just froze like a statue. It took me right back to what happened, and I couldn’t move. Dave noticed and he led back to the hauler.” Chase pulls her a little closer, knowing that feeling as he remembered some of his past flashbacks to Alison.

“Just so you know, you’re not a fool for how you reacted. It’s understa-”

“Dave already told me what I wanted to hear, Chase.” She then takes a deep breath, glancing over the car before looking down at the ground. “I just want the day to come when it doesn’t bother me, when I don’t think about it, when we’re not talking about it. I don’t want it to always be like this. I don’t want to this to be what defines my thoughts.”

“It’ll come, I promise you that day will come. You just need to give it time, patience, and fully work your way through everything. We’re going to be okay.” He then leans in and gives her a kiss.

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 250: Another Testimony for Chase

Monday, May 20 – Phoenix, Arizona

Chase leans back against the wall, thinking things over as he takes a couple deep breathes. It was just a matter of telling what happened a couple weeks ago. He had to put the emotions aside, the fact of what happened at the same time in his own home to his girls, and just tell the tale as he had done times before.

“Are you okay?” He hears, nodding his head without moving an inch. “Do you want to talk about it?” He shakes his head no, knowing that’d get him nowhere, just like it hadn’t on Friday with Alan. “I’m here when you want to talk about it, okay?”

“I appreciate that, Dad, always,” he finally speaks, letting his eyes leave the spot they were looking at in no particularity to look at his father. “But trust me, I’m fine.”

Once the doors to the court room opened, he brought himself to walk through them, taking his seat in the front row as he was supposed to. He didn’t need to glance left or right to know that Sarina and his dad had joined him.

“You don’t need to be there,” he remembered telling Sarina earlier that morning.

“I know – but I want to be there for you,” she had told him in response. He could still see him placing his hands on her shoulders, rubbing them, offering whatever comfort that he could.

“I appreciate that, but I also know how painful it is for you to face him. I don’t want you to have to go through tha-”

“Chase, I’ll be fine. Let me be there for you, please…”

He instinctively reaches over, clutching her hand with his as he watches Carter be led into the court room, followed by Alison and Damien, as they had done weeks prior. It was the same process over and over, but it never got any more comforting to watch.

“All rise!” The baliff announces as he had done previous weeks, with everybody standing up accordingly. “Now presenting the honorable Judge Jackson Pruitt.” Chase watches as he enters and takes his seat accordingly. He was glad to not be in front of him facing a sentence anymore knowing how strict he was, but yet thankful at the same time that Jackson was handling their case. Hopefully being handled professionally and by the book would end things once and for all.

“You may be seated,” the judge announces, as everyone takes their seats accordingly. Chase knew that it wouldn’t last long with being the called upon witness of the day. “Court proceedings will continue today, with the prosecution beginning their round of witnesses and questioning in relation to the additional charges. District Attorney Kyle Gates, who would you like to call as your first witness?”

“Your honor, the prosecution would like to call Chase Elliott to the stand,” Kyle states, which was no surprise at all. Chase slowly lets go of Sarina’s hand before standing up and making his way to the front of the room, taking the familiar seat in the witness box.

“Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth so help you God?” The baliff questions as he gets him to hold his hand upon the bible.

“I do,” Chase replies, keeping his eyes locked firmly on Sarina for the time being. He still didn’t feel comfortable with her being in the room that Carter was in.

“Mr. Elliott, can you please take us back to the events on Monday, April 22?” Kyle Gates questions. Although Chase hadn’t itched the date in his mind, it was one that he wouldn’t forget.

“As per the documents of the court, I showed up at the Delaware Psychitractic Center for an assessment,” he begins, still not letting his eyes leave Sarina. “I told the secretary my name, and agreed to the policy that they set forth before me in how these events would be handled.”  He still remembered his expressed frustration with the process.

“As previously presented to the courts, there were documents stating the court appointed assessment and Mr. Elliott’s arrival according to plan. These were supported by video. Mr. Elliott, you were taken to a room per the procedure that they had in place. What happened once you were in a room?”

“I just laid on the bed waiting for when they would come to get me. It was maybe 10, 15 minutes later that I heard the door unlock and I thought it was the psychiatrist. Instead, it was Damien Crane. We began discussing why he was there with my obvious confusion, with him initially trying to state that he was checking on me. He eventually made the comment that nobody is at home with your wife and your daughter…” He then bites his own tongue, feeling those mix of emotions flooding back in, as he knows what happened. If only he had been there to do something about it.

“Then what happened, Mr. Elliott?” Chase takes a deep breath, trying to clear those thoughts out of his mind as he tries to focus on recalling what happened.

“I picked up on what he was implying and mentioned Carter. He then showed me a photo on his phone of Carter standing at the rear entrance to my house.” Chase still shakes his head in his remembering the photo on the phone.

“Evidence 2A – Damien Crane’s phone, which includes the photo that Mr. Elliott is describing, dated accordingly.” It was actually nice to have Damien’s plea as it meant that they were easily able to collect additional evidence.

“He then told me that Carter would leave them alone and leave, as long as I agreed to whatever plan he had in mind. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect my girls, and keep them safe as they are my world. So I agreed to the plan.” Sarina glances down, taking a couple deep breathes of her own. She knew how much Chase loved and cared about her, and the lengths he was willing to go. Now to hear that Carter disobeyed anyway made it more painful. “He told me to cause a scene that would get me thrown into solitary confinement, adding that there’d be a surprise once I got down there. I told him to open the door and I’d give him what he wanted. So he opened the door and asked if he could help me. That’s when I went off as he requested.”

“Recall Evidence 1A was a copy of the incident report and Evidence 1B was a video of the incident, both showcased during Damien’s testimony. Mr. Elliott, you were taken down the hall to solitary confinement. What happened next?” Chase takes a deep breath, trying to remember the details though everything still remained fuzzy.

“I remember laying on the bed in there, the room smaller than the previous room. I remember hearing the door open, and watching Alison enter the room. I pushed her back, I tried to get away – but she was able to prick me in the arm.” He then glances down, knowing that was when she had drugged him. If only he had moved his arm out of the way by a slim bit and avoided her for a little longer. “The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital room with my dad alongside.”

“Recall Evidence 1C was the drug report from Delaware State Hospital showing ketamine was in Mr. Chase Elliott’s system. Recall Evidence 1E was a video of Ms. Alison Reynolds escaping her room and entering Mr. Elliott’s room. Thank you for sharing your story, Mr. Elliott. Your witness.” Chase watches as Kyle sits down, followed by Nellie Martin standing up. He was actually intrigued to see what questions she was going to ask.

“Through your whole story, you never mentioned my name,” Nellie Martin begins, as Chase watches her curious. Was she just focused on making sure that she was not connected to what happened? “Did you witness any involvement by myself that day?”

“No, but you were the one that insisted in the court room that my assessment be done at the Delaware facility despite the fact court sessions are taking place here in Arizona,” Chase was quick to remind her. it made sense now given the trail of events that she helped set-up.

“But at any time, did you hear my name mentioned in relation to what happened?” Chase lets out a sigh as he knew that was her focus now. He just hoped everything stated by Damien yesterday did the dirty work.

“No.” Nellie smiles as she was glad to get that out of the way.

“What about Carter? You saw a photo of him at your property. Anything else?” Chase chuckles as he knew the tactics being used here.

“No.” However, he knew the video evidence from the house, combined with the hospital evidence on Sarina and Christopher’s testimony would accomplish their goals.

“And obviously the photo could’ve been photo shopped to have that date stamp….” He wasn’t even going to bother answering or diffusing. There was enough evidence elsewhere for Carter. “Did you see Alison stick a needle into your own?”

“As I said, I saw her enter the room. I pushed her back, I tried to get away – but she was able to prick me in the arm.” Was it that obvious?

“But did you see the needle?” Why did it matter if he saw the needle or not? Alison had a pattern of this type of behavior against him, and a prick followed by being knocked out would equal needle.

“No, I physically did not see the needle in question.” What was Nellie trying to create in her line of questioning?

“Thank you.” Nellie then takes her seat as planned, as Chase glances over at the judge. He just wanted to get out of there.

“You may step down,” Judge Jackson Pruitt gives him permission, which he quickly accepts, returning to the bench where Sarina and his father sat. “Court will reconvene at a later date for more testimony. Court adjourned!”

Everybody gets up and makes their way through the court room, followed by out of the doors as Chase and Sarina hold hands.

“Are you okay?” Sarina questions and Chase nods his head, accepting. “You can tell me whatever you’re fee-”

“I’m fine,” he assures her, followed by a quick kiss on the forehead. “Listen, it’s going to work out. We’re going to be fine. This is the beginning to the end, finally.”

Tuesday, May 21 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Chase pulls up in front of JR Motorsports, smiling as he looks over at Sarina. They share a quick kiss, before she hops out of the Tahoe, before opening the door for the backseat.

“I thought she was coming to work with me,” Chase comments as Sarina begins to undo Abigail’s car seat.

“She can’t come to work with you every day,” Sarina replies. “She hasn’t come with me to JRM for a good three weeks now.” Chase wasn’t about to hide it – he loved taking her to the shop meetings at Hendrick Motorsports as any time with his daughter was amazing. It also didn’t hurt that the guys loved her. “She can come to work with you tomorrow.”

“Can’t – NASCAR on NBC production shoot.” Chase would’ve preferred hanging out with Abigail and the guys over that anyday.

“She’d look cute on the pre-race videos…” Chase knew that would probably be the case, but that wasn’t the angle they were looking for. “She can go with you Thurs-”

“We’re both at the track pract-”

“Frid-”

“Fan fest at our respective shops, although she helping me sign autographs would be adorable.” Sarina had to chuckle as she knew everybody would probably eat that up – well, except for the jealous girls. “Alright, you can take her today – as long as I get to take her a couple days next week.”

“Deal. We love you…” Sarina then heads off inside with her as Chase hears his phone go off with a text message. He reaches over, picking it up, chuckling as he reads the message.

it didn’t take long, but he was able to stop at the gas station and fill up the small gas can, before routing the GPS to the coordinates that he had been sent. He follows the directions accordingly, smiling with a chuckle as he rolls up behind Ryan on the highway.

“Thanks for bailing me out,” Ryan comments as he watches Chase climb out of the Tahoe, grabbing the gas can.

“You’re lucky that I was in the state today,” he replies, as normally he would’ve done shop meetings on Monday. “Now, are you going to get that gas gauge fixed?”

“I suppose I should….” Chase just rolls his eyes as Ryan pours the gas into the tank. “I owe you lunch for this. Your choice.”

“Do you realize that I am going to make you pay for this?” Ryan lets out a sigh, but nods his head, not surprised.

“Like I said, name the place…”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 243: A Monster Pole

Friday, May 3 – Dover International Speedway

Chase leans back against the pit box, satisfied with a smile on his face. He and Miles could continue their friendship as he was solid through the first practice, posting the ninth quickest lap. More importantly, the handling of the No. 9 Chevrolet felt comfortable – which was always a plus.

That didn’t mean he was going to stop working on trying to get better, grabbing the Ipad off of the pit box as he began to review the data. He loaded the throttle and brake trace for himself, along with his teammate William Byron who was quicker. That then proceeded to loading the data for the Chip Ganassi Racing teammates, seeing as they were 1-2. He was glad that Tom Gray had also loaded a couple laps of Kyle Larson from practice so Chase could compare and contrast the line that he was running,

“Considering you’re in the playoffs locked in, I thought you’d be kicking back this weekend,” he hears, catching him by surprise as he glances up immediately. He knew not to take chances of other people seeing the data that he had to look at.

“I thought you would’ve learned last year the importance of playoff races,” Chase replies with a smile seeing that it was Ryan who had walked over. Though while eyes focused on his friend, he turned off the video, putting the Ipad back.

“I say that’s an excuse and cover-up. I bet you were watching some fun video on there, hence why you shut it off so I wouldn’t catch on to what you’re doing.” Chase laughs, shaking his head no.

“Nah man, I’m just trying to figure out how to catch your ass.” Ryan smirks back in response, having timed in fifth quickest through the session. “What brings you my way, anyway?”

“Well, you do realize that I am currently in the process of planning my wedding.” Chase nods his head, remembering the discussion Lindsay and Sarina had on Tuesday.

“I heard from Lindsay that she’s got her ladies together – your sisters, Sarina, and one of her dance buddies. She was also happy that they’ll all be able to attend.” That was something that caused Ryan to smile as well, along with a bit more as they weren’t the only confirmed attendees.

“I also heard that a special flower girl, and ring barrier will be there.” Chase couldn’t help but smile as he’d knew it’d be cute for the Blaney family in having Evelyn and Louie as part of the wedding. “That just leaves a couple missing pieces. I already asked Cale and Jeremy to be part of the wedding. But it doesn’t mean as much to me as someone else does. I’m here to return the favor. Will you be my best man?”

“Seriously?” Ryan nods his head as Chase walks over, wrapping an arm around Ryan’s shoulders. “You don’t need to ask twice. Of course I’d be your best man. I’d be honored to be your best man.”

“Oh, and the missing groomsmen is obviously Darrell. I asked him last night if he’d be able to be one of my groomsmen. His response was shock in not being my best man.” Chase chuckles, almost having said that initially himself.

“I actually told Sarina that I thought you’d ask Darrell before you’d ask me.” Ryan lets out a sigh, as he had thought about that. It was why he had taken his time before asking them because he wanted to be sure.

“In addition to the fact that it’s returning the favor for your weddi-”

“You don’t need to feel oblige-”

“I’m not, but we’ve also known each longer. We spent our late model days together, on-and-off. You were one of my first at the track friends that I could race hard as nails on-track, but have the best fun off together. We’ve also traveled together, and shared a lot of first experiences together. Heck, we’re marrying cousins here. It just seemed right after everything that we’ve been through.” Chase smiles back in response, knowing there’d certainly been some great times through the years. It also reminded him that there’d been some tough times, too.

“I appreciate you always being here for me, so I look forward to returning the favor to make sure that your wedding goes off perfectly.”

“I don’t doubt that.”

Sarina glances up at the speed chart, seeing that she ranked 10th quickest at the end of the first practice session. It gave her confidence in knowing that the car was handling as it was supposed to.

Beyond that, she was able to find some comfort with the Monster that she felt she was missing with other races to date thus far this season. Whether it was knowledge of the track, confidence from running well in the past, or starting to get used to the Xfinity cars, she wasn’t going to complain.

“I have some suggestions from Jason (Burdett) and Taylor (Moyer) to try for the second session,” Dave Elenz catches her attention as they sit in the JR Motorsports trailer lounge together. She was glad that she had his company, still not perfectly ready to spend much time alone yet.

“In past weekends, to be honest, Justin’s set-up has been more comfortable then what Taylor has been doing, whether for Zane or Ryan,” she comments, earning a nod of approval from the crew chief. She appreciated the ability to work close with her teammates, get ideas, and learn things from their experience. Another glance at the speed chart and she knew that’d be critical considering she was the slowest of the four JR Motorsports cars.

“We’ve got an hour. So I think we should start with Justin’s set-up, and then you can let me know whether you like ours or Justin’s better. Then we can try and tweak to further improve upon it before making a quick qualifying run to close out the session.” Sarina was game for the practice plan, feeling it was a good balance ahead of tomorrow.

“I’m just glad that we got the session in after everybody talked about the possibility of rain all weekend. The forecast for Sunday still looks ugly….” Dave couldn’t help but agree with his driver, having took a quick glance. However, he wasn’t about to concern himself with that for too long, knowing the focus was on tomorrow for them.

“Are the speeds approaching a danger zone?” They hear on the monitor, causing them both to glance up. Sarina had turned on the video feed from the Cup driver media availability, curious as normal to hear what Chase had to say. “Do you agree?”

“You’re paid to go fast, so let’s go fast,” Chase replies, earning a small chuckle from Sarina. She knew what the discussion was in reference to – with earlier comments from others saying the Cup cars had a high rate of speed through the corner, possibly creating an issue. She knew what it was like to hit the wall hard at Dover – ala last year while battling Johnny Sauter for the win in the truck race herself. However, she couldn’t see herself echoing the same concerns that were being expressed. “It’s not fun hitting something real bad anytime you do, and certainly isn’t going to feel good when you do it at these speeds. Definitely it’s physical for sure, and I think this is going to be a very physical race on Sunday, especially if the sun comes out and it’s hot. It’s fast. Is it too fast? Like I said, this is our job, what we sign up for, and I think it is what it is.”

“Typical political Chase….” She comments to herself, with another chuckle in reference to his closing comments. Just like he had done in previous discussions about the package, there was no point in leading discussion further since they couldn’t change things it seemed when NASCAR stuck in their ways.

“Can I have the inside scoop true opinion on your husband’s take on this package?” Dave questions, having overheard the comments while working through his notes.

“I’m sorry, but that’s classified information.” Dave then lets out a sigh as he focuses back on his notes. “But really, let’s be honest here. You struggle to make passes in traffic. Is that really what this package was supposed to do? As Christopher referenced, these Xfinity Series cars are a lot of fun to drive – maybe more fun than the current Cup package.”

“So if a car owner came to you and offered you a ride in the Cup Series, would you turn it down?” Sarina lets out a sigh as she carefully considers the option.

“At this present time, I would have to say yes – and not because of the package. I don’t feel that I am ready yet to go up against the best of the best on Sundays and be competitive. I still feel that I need to grow as a driver in a couple different departments and gain experience. I’d rather do that correctly than move up too soon and fuck up.” Dave stops what he was typing, looking over at Sarina sitting on the couch with Abigail in her arms, feeding her.

“That’s a very smart, mature approach. I like your attitude….”

Sarina walks out to pit road, seeing where Chase was standing on the sidelines with Abigail in his arms. She makes her way down, smiling as she walks upon the pair together.

“Now this sweetheart, is traditional proper qualifying,” she listens as he talks to Abigail. “This is the way grandpa always qualified. This is the way the format should have stayed. This is where it matters most. You better just hope that daddy gets up on the wheel and does his job.”

“I’m sure you will do that,” she comments, catching his attention. He could only smile, leaning in for a quick kiss, while not giving up on holding Abigail.

“You could’ve stayed and debriefed with Dave longer. I am one of the last cars to go.” She shakes her head no, easily accepting her daughter from his arms. The adjustments they chose to make paid off as she was able to find additional comfort and speed, ending the second session ranked seventh on the chart. “Well aren’t we Ms. Confidence for tomorrow.”

“I know we’ve talked about it other weeks, but this is really the most comfortable practice that I’ve had thus far this year at any track with Dave. Everything just went right the final practice. I know we’re not quickest, but I feel that we have a car capable of being up front all race long tomorrow.” Chase smiles, as he wouldn’t mind a second week in victory lane with Abigail. It’d also be nice to take home a pair of Golden Monsters to go with Miles at home.

“You just want to give Miles a friend…” She nods her head, catching the reference immediately. “Let’s hope that Alan and I did the right thing following practice to make it better.”

“Do you think that you can beat William?” Chase wanted to say yes as he felt comfort in the No. 9 Chevrolet. However, he had to admit that his teammate was adapting quickly and showing a lot of speed.

“We may have something up our sleeve as you know Alan pulls out the best stops when it matters.” He then leans in for another quick kiss before making his way out to pit road, joining Alan and the guys as they pushed the car down the line.

Although there was fun conversation amongst the group, with a couple laughs, his eyes kept glancing over towards pit road. He smiled each time he caught a glimpse of Sarina standing there with Abigail in her arms, watching her cuddle and talk to their little girl. While his conversation with Ryan earlier brought him back through some of the tougher moments they’d experienced, this sight made every bit of it worth it to see all of their dreams coming true one by one.

“I felt like I got a little tight in one and two, and I was afraid that it wasn’t going to be good enough,” Chase tells the reporters. “But the car had a really good three and four. I haven’t seen the data yet so I really don’t know. If I had to guess, it would be that. I could be wrong because when I guess, I usually am wrong. But it was a great lap. I appreciate the effort, and it’s been a great week. Things can go south a lot quicker than they can go good. It’s just a starting spot, but we will try and take advantage of it with that good pit box on Sunday.”

He then walks over to where Alan was standing, giving him a high-five. He then follows through the rest of the crew.

“You were right that you were wrong about the data,” Tom comments as Chase makes his way through the team, causing him to roll his eyes. “You were better than William through the other end, strangely.”

“Chad probably over adjusted a touch as you were both equal the other end,” Alan adds. He then smiles as Chase walks over to where Sarina was standing, giving both her and Abigail a kiss. “Are they the lucky charms now?”

“I’ll take whatever lucky charms I can get,” Chase replies, before heading over to do the series of photos.

Once everything was done, the pair retreated back to the motorcoach, both getting changed out of their firesuits into something much more comfortable. As Sarina slipped her top on, she looked into the mirror with a sigh. Running her hand down her side and along her waist, there were still some faint bruises that remained.

“Are you okay?” Chase questions as he walks up behind her, and she nods her head. He then wraps his arms around, tracing a couple of them with her fingers. “They’re slowly going away.”

“Not fast enough,” she comments as she focuses her eyes down with a sigh. “I just want the reminders to disappear. I want the bruises gone. I want to know that he’s locked up for sure. I don’t’ want to have to face a single thing in relation into it ever again.”

“I know how you feel….” He then bites his lip, thinking back through his experience after things went down with Alison. “But remember, continuing to run and pretend it didn’t happen without any reminders isn’t the right way. Eventually, it comes back to you 10-fold.”

“That’s what everybody keeps telling me – and I know that myself. But just for a day, 24 hours, I wish I didn’t think about it for a second.” Chase runs his fingers up her body, rubbing her shoulders.

“Let me take care of you then. Let me show you a way to forget and not think about it…” She shakes her head immediately, as tears begin to slide down her cheeks.

“Chase, I can’t do that….” He then freezes, knowing where her mind went right away.

“No no, I didn’t mean it like that. I meant – let’s go out to dinner tonight, us with Abigail. Let’s go somewhere for dinner, and then go get desert together.” She then slowly looks up, seeing their reflection in the mirror together.

“You’re not mad at me?” He was confused immediately. “You offer to take care of me, and immediately I turn that offer-”

“Because I know the fear that you’re feeling, and I know that you’ll come to me when you’re comfortable and ready, just like you let me to come to you. The same way that you’ve been patient about what I feel comfortable with and not. I’ve told you this before, but it’s worth repeating – I am willing to do whatever it takes to make you feel better. I love you.” He then kisses her shoulder.

“I love you, too, forever and always…” She then turns around to face him, kissing his lips, before putting her shirt on as originally planned.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 240: “I could watch Abigail for you.”

Friday, April 26 – Talladega Superspeedway

Chase climbs out of the car, glancing over at Alan, letting out a simple sigh as Alan could only glance back with a questionable glance on his face.

“I thought you said you were happy with the car….” Alan finally speaks as Chase carefully places his helmet and gloves back in the car on the dash.

“We have a great car – it does what I want it to do,” Chase begins, which confirmed every good feeling Alan had combined with being fifth quickest on the chart – not that it mattered, truthfully. “I can run top, bottom, front, back – we’re just as strong as we were at Daytona and last year here.”

“Then what’s the problem?” Chase hated to complain as he had been trying to keep the attitude of just rolling with the package each week. However, there was no way they were getting away from this topic as quickly.

“The runs are so big. It is so easy to get a run on someone, and they’re huge when they come. You’re just right there on top of the guy right away. In practice, you can handle it because the guy behind will offer some leeway as you duck out a little, or back out of it. But if we start doing that during the race, do you realize what could happen?” Alan nods his head, already adding up the pieces in his head. There were already enough wrecks happening on these tracks without another additional sensation thrown on top of it.

“What about the speed? Do you realize that you’re over 200 – like 210, 215?” Chase wasn’t surprised as he knew the speeds were going to be quicker given the science behind the package.

“I guess I know what Dad felt like around here…” Alan chuckles, knowing that reference right away.

“Well, NASCAR is making us add a one-inch wicker to the top of the spoiler to hopefully curb that some. Maybe it’ll help the run issue, too.” Chase could only hopeful still not fully confident with what he felt. “By the way, I saw that Sarina shared a photo of her tattoo this morning.”

“Yeah, I took the image for her. She wanted to do it as part of National Infertility Awareness Week. She wanted to offer hope, while sharing how she’s tried to make her experience better. She asked if I wanted to share mine with her, but I told her I wanted to keep that between us.” Alan smiles, having caught a glance of it before on Chase’s shoulder.

“For what it’s worth, it is very nice. That’s the perfect way to mark that and move forward.” Alan then places his hand on Chase’s shoulder. “How are you doing with that, anyway?” Chase lets out a sigh. “Really?”

“For me, it’s fine as I’ve chalked it up to another stunt, nothing surprising or new. However, there’s Sarina. Everybody knows what she went through, Alan, but yet she’s handling it like nothing happened. She wanted to still go with me to the golf course on Tuesday, an event with Samantha this week. The only time she has let that show is one night where she fell asleep crying in my arms.” Alan glances down, shaking his head. He hated to see them both going through this.

“So you’re worried about her?” Chase nods his head. “I don’t blame you, really. But you know that she will come to you when the time is right for her. She always does.”

“I know – but the waiting is more painful than anything.” Alan nods his head sympathically.

“So what’s this event that she attended with Samantha on Wednesday? I heard a couple details from Shannon.” Chase walks over to the pit box, snatching his phone as he walks back over. He unlocks it, bringing up some of the photos.

“So it was a conference that Samantha put together to start discussion about infertility, the struggles woman go through…..

As Chase told him the details, Alan could easily glance over and smile himself in seeing how Chase instantly lit up talking about it. He could easily see how much he admired Sarina and appreciated what she was doing. He hoped that happiness was something he’d continue seeing, too.

“That was much better….” Chase comments as Alan walks over following the second practice session. “I mean, the runs are still decent, but at least we can easily handle them.”

“And there was no issues drafting with Kurt or Austin, right?” Alan wonders, glad that they tried it for a couple of laps with the discussion of a Chevrolet alliance for Sunday.

“It just felt as good as when I pulled up behind Jimmie.” Alan nods his head, easily accepting the driver’s explanation. He felt pretty good about their chances heading into Sunday – as long as things worked out. “Now do you really think the plan is going to work on Sunday?”

“We’ve tried this before and it’s failed completely on its face. That’s why we partnered up with Joe Gibbs Racing for the Daytona 500. Now, that caught the aura of Jim Campbell and he was beyond pissed. Actually, just be glad that you had court on the date of the first meeting as Chad said he laid into them.” Chase looks over surprised, not used to seeing that side of Chevrolet’s vice president of competition.

“I guess that comes out when you haven’t won races since last year.” Alan slowly nods his head, certainly not proud of that statistic himself. That certainly didn’t fit the attitude of Chevrolet, or Hendrick Motorsports.

“I was skeptical when Chad mentioned that was the topic of the meeting. I was skeptical sitting in the second crew chief only meeting. However, seeing that Jim hosted two more meetings and he was very stern in his approach, I am feeling better about it working out. The fact that Austin wanted to work with you a bit this practice also gives me hope. I just hope when push comes to shove on Sunday, they don’t bail on us.” Chase hated the thought of that, knowing that’d mean stuck right in the eye of the storm if it happened. He wrecked enough cars at Talladega to not want to repeat the experience.,

“Do we have a back-up plan in case?” Alan shakes his head no, having stuck to the Chevrolet-only plan with Jim’s constant overheads on them.

“Listen, you’re smart. You know how to make moves to win these races. We’ve ran up front before without any help. You can do it again if you have to. Just play it smart, and do your thing; we’ll be fine on Sunday.” Chase was easily ready to eat into those words, knowing that each time they had wrecked it was while running up front. “So I saw Sarina earlier. She mentioned heading back to the motorcoach to relax with Abigail for a bit before you went out.”

“Ah, shit!” Chase goes over and grabs his phone off of the counter, checking his text messages with a sigh. “I may as well tell her to cancel plans.”

“Why? What’s wrong?” Chase shoves his phone back in his pocket, knowing he’d have to send a couple messages later.

“My mom was supposed to come today. She’s not coming until Sunday because Grandma is coming, too – which is a great thing, actually.” Alan nods his head, having met Chase’s grandma a couple of times and having no issues. “She was going to watch Abigail tonight while Sarina and I did the Talladega Blvd party with Jeff and Ryan.”

“Sarina was up to doing that after everything, too?” Chase nods his head, remembering the discussion last night.

“She told me that hadn’t done much there in her career, but yet had heard the stories. That turned into conversations with Jeff and Ryan the past couple of weeks, resulting in them giving her an invite to the driver’s stage party. I told her that she didn’t need to do it as they’d understand, but she gave me the same reason as she did Tuesday, and Wednesday. It’s her way of being strong, and feeling in control, gaining the power back by doing things as normally as possible.” Alan could understand Sarina’s want to do that, having heard the discussions of those in her situation feeling weak. He also hated to see their plans cancelled due to a simple change by someone else.

“I could watch Abigail for you.” Chase then looks over at his crew chief, surprised. “I’m serious! I am just saying in tonight organizing notes and relaxing. I could easily watch her while I do that in the motorcoach. It’d probably be better company than Josh.”

“I love you, too!” Josh lets out, flinging a dirty rag across the car at the crew chief.

“Are you sure Shannon wouldn’t mind?” Chase wonders and Alan shakes his head no.

“She hated when she couldn’t coddle over the boys any longer so this would allow her to experience that again, too,” Alan adds.

“It may also inspire her, allowing the crew chief to get some,” Josh teases, which easily earns the rag being chucked right back across the car at him.

“Guys, you’re going to mark up the car….” Chase comments as the pair trade glances. “Alan, you don’t hav-”

“I know, but I want to,” Alan cuts him off. “Let me have some time with the princess.”

The night started off as they hopped on the driver’s stage, with Jeff Gordon immediately placing a bunch of beads around Sarina’s neck.

“I know you’re his princess, but tonight – you’re the stage princess,” he comments as she just smiles back in response. “Actually, throw them to the crowd! You’ll make some new fans in the process. Meanwhile, he doesn’t need in beads as he’s already Mr. Popularity.” Chase just chuckles back in response.

“Do I need to remind you that I won Most Popular Driver for the trucks last year?” Sarina suggests as Jeff looks over surprised. The nod from Chase offered the confirmation he needed, as he snatched a couple of the beads back.

“These should go to someone in need – like say Keselowski.”

“He gonna need more than beads to become popular…” Chase and Jeff both look at surprised by the roast, before they watch him  walk away.

The pair got engulfed in the fun, and Sarina easily discovered why everybody likes coming out to Talladega to simply party. Dancing to the music on stage with Chase, combined with watching the fans play the various games, certainly had her entertained. It was a welcome feeling as the first time, other than when she was racing, she was able to totally forget what happened on Monday without a single thought. The experience only got better when Lindsay and Ryan joined them.

“I found us some friends!” They hear, glancing over with curiosity.

“Oh boy….” Ryan comments as he watches Clint Bowyer and Corey LaJoie make their way over to them.

“Save me,” Corey whispers quietly, earning a chuckle from Ryan and Chase.

“No cups?” Clint questions as he checks both of their hands. He then snaps his fingers, which results in a gentleman walking over with a couple bottles in hand. “Alright, drink something!”

“We have to qualify tomorrow…..” Ryan offers as he shakes his head no.

“You’re a party pooper. Chase?” Chase shakes his head no, as well. “Oh that’s right, you don’t drink wise one.” That immediately caused Ryan to chuckle as he remembered the stories from their vacations.

“There’s a reason he fell in a pool last year….” Clint then freezes, looking at Chase surprised. He then turns to Lindsay, which earns a head shake in return.

“I’m pregnant,” she replies as he looks between Ryan and Lindsay surprised.

“Do you not know how to wrap it?” Clint questions as Ryan rolls his eyes, as Chase and Corey have a light chuckle. Clint then looks over at Sarina, earning another head shake. “You’re preg-”

“I race tomorrow, and I don’t drink anyway,” she answers as Clint lets out a sigh. He then wraps an arm around Corey.

“We didn’t find us friends, bud….” Corey then lets out a sigh as Clint leads him away. “I thought they’d be cool because they’re popular, but that’s not true.”

“Poor Corey,” Chase comments with a laugh as Ryan just shakes his head.

Saturday, April 27 – Talladega Superspeedway

Sarina stands by her car as qualifying finishes up, seeing that she would end up qualifying 14th for the event. It wasn’t the best effort, but it wasn’t the worse either. It just meant that she’d have to find a comfortable spot early not being quite all the way up front.

She then feels a hand touch her shoulder, causing her to jump around, arm swinging in the air in the process. She barely misses making contact with her crew chief Dave Elenz, who stepped back right away, freezing as she catches his eyes.

“I’m sorry….” She instantly lets out, turning her back to him as she focuses her eyes back on the racecar. She felt every bit of embarrassment and guilt coming through in that very moment.

“No no, it’s okay,” Dave tries to ease the situation immediately. He wanted to reach out and touch her for a sign of comfort, but was scared of being decked or affecting her more. “I came up quietly and you didn’t realize it was me here.”

“I should’ve known that it was you or another crew mem-”

“You couldn’t have known, and it’s better than sorr-”

“I almost decked you in the side of the head!” She then turns to face him, finally. “What kind of driver would I be if I decked my crew chief in the side of the head after he’s done everything to help me and give me good cars?”

“You’d be the driver that everybody understands is going through a lot right now…” She then lets out a sigh as she looks down at her shoes. That wasn’t the appearance that she wanted to put on this weekend.

“I don’t want special treatment or understanding. I don’t want this to linger over my head. I don’t want to be known as the person who fought as hard as she could and still couldn’t do what she needed to do. I just want everything to go back to normal!” She then sniffs in the couple of tears beginning to fall. “I’m sorr-”

“No, it’s okay…” Dave slowly reaches out, placing his hand on her shoulder for support. “They say it’s better for you to let it out than hold it in, so it’s okay. I understand – just like I told you earlier. I also understand what you’re saying, and that’s why I’ve just gone through this weekend like I normally would without any issues.” She nods her head, having realized and appreciated that. “If it makes you feel better, I will continue to do that for you. if you want someone more caring, I can do that to help you. But if you want the same approach like nothing happened, I will do it. But I want you to know, just like I told you yesterday, I’m here for you…”

“And I appreciate that, fully.” She then rubs her eyes, immediately trying to pretend the incident never happened. “Why did you come to see me?”

“We have the driver’s meeting to go to.” She nods her head, accepting, beginning to walk away from the car immediately.

“We better not be late. I don’t feel like starting last today.” He then hurries to catch up with her, wanting to ask if she was okay. However, he bit his tongue, remembering her words. He had to treat it like a normal weekend, no matter how worried he got. It was all about giving her the comfort she desired.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 235: Motion Filed

Saturday, April 20 – Phoenix, Arizona

Chase walks into the court room, letting out a sigh as he glances around. He had hoped that his next appearance would simply be to hear what the jury had to say with a good outcome. However, instead, it seemed that he was there for another reason now.

He had a couple days to process what was about to happen with Alycia coming to see him. He even read over the piece of paper a couple times, considering all the options in relation to what he was seeing. He was even mixed as to how he wanted things to play today.

If the motion was accepted and he had to make the appointment, then it’d further close the door on options for an appeal. If the motion wasn’t accepted, it’d certainly hurry the process as the jury could go back to deliberating and maybe he’d be free of this entire experience sooner. Besides, the quicker he didn’t have the wear the ankle monitor, the better.

He takes his seat alongside Alycia as he had done in each of the appearances prior, glancing around the court room. He was almost intrigued by the facial expression from Carter in about what was to go down – but didn’t bother to think about it more. He had to focus and see what direction things went here.

“All rise!” The baliff states, as everyone stands up in the court room just like weeks prior. “Presenting the Honorable Judge Jackson Pruitt.” Jackson once again walks out of the doors and up to stand, taking his seat, as he had done before as well. Chase tried to get a read off of him, but couldn’t figure anything thus far.

“You may be seated,” the judge instructs, as everyone follows suit. “By all intentions, the trial proceedings has been completed on Tuesday, April 16, with the jury set to deliberate the charges against Mr. Elliott and Mr. Williams. However, it was brought to my attention to pause deliberations on Thursday, April 18 as a result of a motion being filed to my office. Was everyone made aware of these events?”

“Yes sir,” all three lawyers – Kyle Gates, Nellie Martin, and Alycia Burrows – each state one after the other. That was a meeting with Alycia that Chase wasn’t about to forget, either.

“Thank you. Ms. Martin, it is my understanding that you filed the motion in regards to the charges against Mr. Elliott. However, you are supposed to be the defense attorney for Mr. Williams and worried about his case.” It didn’t far to grasp as to why Nellie was the individual to file such a motion in Chase’s eyes, given that she’s working in Carter’s best interest.

“With all due respect, sir, the charges against Mr. Elliott pertain to an assault against my client,” Nellie Martin begins. “So therefore, I feel that I have legal bounds to pursue this matter.  In addition, if I may, Mr. Elliott testified against my client on behalf of the prosecution, as well, so therefore this connects back to my case as well.” Chase could only roll his eyes, but again, wasn’t surprised. It was just like Alison and all the games that she mattered to play over in the courts.

“Reasoning is accepted, hence why I agreed to hear the motion in court,” Judge Jackson Pruitt replies, earning a partial groan in response from Chase. It would’ve been better to have this thrown out entirely without an appearance to allow the jury to do their job. “Ms. Martin, you have filed a motion for Mr. Elliott to be seen by a court appointed psychiatrist for a session. May you please explain your reasons, ma’am.”

“Ms. Burrows is stating her client’s reasons for assaulting my client stem to self-defense, civic arrest, and mental state. It is my understanding that any other case that has gone through the courts in regards to mental state, whether it be provincial or federal, has resulted in the individual being seen by the psychiatrist for an evaluation. Those findings are then shared with the court for the jury to also be able to consider in their proceedings. All I am asking for here, sir, is consistency with the court system.” Chase lets out a sigh, remembering how Alycia had stated those exact words to him when she told him about the motion. It was why she believed that it’d probably be allowed by the court.

“Mr. Gates, may I ask why this wasn’t included in your proceedings as it is the state that you’re representing and they pressed the charges against Mr. Elliott?” Chase almost had to laugh in hearing the question. Wasn’t it obvious to the judge yet that Nellie was behind the charges, given her constant focus on that?

“Ms. Burrows presented the records from Mr. Elliott’s psychiatrist visits – indicating that he had been seeing someone,” Kyle Gates begins, carefully. “However, this is a man that has been allowed to drive a racecar on every given weekend at a high rate of speed. If there was really something going on, would he be trusted to do that by his own psychiatrist? Normally you’re only requested to have evaluations if they center around insanity, or sanity, and whether the person should be at large to society or not.” Chase almost wanted to turn and ask Alycia if a comment of that nature was beneficial, or not. Did that debunk the mental state theory? Could that cause the jury to lean away from his defense?

“Ms. Burrows also was clear to state that her client only has these ‘moments’ as she called them in relation to particular events and people,” Nellie Martin then begins. “She referenced a series of events in connection to Ms. Alison Reynolds, before linking them to my client. Therefore, the implication is still implied despite Mr. Gates’ very reasonable argument. I just want to clear it up by offering a third party point of view for the jury. Besides, those records and such could have been forged or done as a favor as we know Mr. Elliott’s pull with people.” Chase actually admired his consistent push as his questions for Alycia continued to build.

“Ms. Burrows, do you have anything to comment in relation to the motion?” Judge Jackson Pruitt questions as Alycia takes a deep breath. She glances over at Chase, debating which direction to go with this, before looking up at the judge.

“I firmly believe that I presented the best case possible for my client,” Alycia begins. “I showcased the three reasons for Mr. Elliott not to be found guilty, and hopefully combined with everything the jury can see why he did what he did. I feel this is either a stall, or last desperation tactic from Ms. Martin due to her client’s situation.” Chase smiled as he had to admit he was feeling the same thing, and it gave him more confidence in the eventual jury decision.

“Although you may be calling it that, and we hate to extend the court’s time, Ms. Martin is right about the standard being set for psychological evaluation. We’ve already bent the rules for Mr. Elliott in allowing him bail despite mental state being part of the defense, in allowing him to continue traveling around the country racing, and being allowed to take off the ankle monitor on race weekends. So therefore, I feel it is the court’s duty to fulfill the requirements that are laid out before it. The motion is accepted.” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing exactly what that meant. He had spoken about Alison and Carter before, but it still wasn’t easy to step up and speak to someone else about it.

“There is no timeline stated on the motion as filed. So therefore, I would appreciate the court’s time in allowing Mr. Elliott to spend Easter Sunday with his family for dinner, as everybody else involved in the case will be allowed to do so. I would then be open to scheduling the appointment on Monday, April 22.” Chase crossed his fingers that was allowed, as he wasn’t about to miss family dinner.

“That is allowed,” Judge Jackson Pruitt thankfully accepts. “Following the evaluation on Monday, the court will re-convene during the week to hear the findings, before allowing the jury to continue deliberation. Mr. Elliott, you are instructed to speak with a court appointed psychiatrist on Monday, April 22 at the time given to you by the clerk. If you miss this appointment, you would no longer be allowed bail and face jail time for obstruction of justice proceedings. Am I clear?” Chase didn’t need the additional comments on his head to make sure that orders were followed on Monday.

“Yes, sir,” he simply states as he focuses his eyes on him. His mind, meanwhile, was elsewhere, feeling a mixture of emotions in regards to this situation.

“Your honor, is the location of such appointment determined?” Nellie Martin then questions, catching a couple off-guard glances in response.

“I see on the motion that you are recommending Mr. Elliott travel to Delaware with his evaluation taking place at Delaware Psychatric Centre,” Judge Jackson Pruitt states, earning a nod from Nellie. The color instantly erased from Chase’s face as he looked over at Alycia, shaking his head no immediately. There was no way that he was going to step in that building.

“My client is already making weekly travels from Dawsonville, Georgia to Phoenix, Arizona for court proceedings,” Alycia begins to try and plea, seeing the immediate response from Chase. She didn’t need to ask him as she knew herself the reason why. “The only baring is that it’s a court appointed psychiatrist that is registered with the state. Couldn’t we go with someone in Georgia?”

“We’ve talked about special trea-” Nellie Martin interjects.

“Okay, fine, then because the charges have been laid by the state of Arizona, shouldn’t his appointment be at an Arizona facility? I feel this is just another tactic played by the defense. They’ve been aware that Ms. Alison Reynolds is currently housed in their high security department via copies of the documents from Mr. Gates and myself. I could only bet that’s why Ms. Martin chose that location.”  That was only the explanation that Chase could find himself, as he sat there still stunned.

“I accepted the motion, which means I accept every single piece of writing on it,” Judge Jackson Pruitt states. “Therefore, the location stands. Your client is a pilot. He can certainly get himself there in time. Court adjourned!”

“I’m sorry…” were the only words that Alycia could think to say as she glanced over at Chase, seeing the disgusted look on his face. “If anything, it’ll help the case because that’s obviously going to cause a reaction from you.”

“Thank you for what you’re trying to do – I appreciate it,” he replies, before standing up and walking towards the door. He just wanted to get out there as he didn’t need to think about this a single moment more. He already knew he’d probably be sick on Monday.

Saturday, April 20 – Columbia, South Carolina

Darrell walks over to the group, handing each of them a drink, before resuming his place as they get ready for a fun night together.

“I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to come,” Ryan comments with a glance over at Chase. Chase actually had a couple nerves himself initially as he was standing in the court room.

“Alycia knows what she’s doing and I wasn’t about to miss family dinner tomorrow,” Chase replies as he looks over at Ryan. “Be sure this was perfectly needed after today.” Cracking the can open, and taking a long sip, he was ready to ignore everything that happened at least for the night thanks to the guys. He would worried about that on Monday.

“Your dad is coming to pick us up tonight, right?” Chase nods his head, remembering the conversation. After they got done with court, he landed in Georgia, taking Sarina back to the house to spend the night with Lindsay (wedding planning). Though before separating from his parents, he put the question to his father, which was easily accepted. “No drowning your sorrows too much there, boy.”

“Hey, I wasn’t the one that needed to be carried home on Thursday. I can handle my alcohol.” He then takes another long sip, as Ryan keeps an extra eye on him. He trusted him, better than most, but he was keeping an extra eye just in case. He had heard enough details from Chase on the way up to South Carolina to have him concerned.

“I love you guys!” Bubba lets out, wrapping his arms around both of their shoulders for a bro hug together. Ryan and Chase could only look at him a little concerned, but then both laughed it off.

“Daddy worked like a mule, mining pike county coal,” Ryan begins to sing along with the opening song. “He messed up his back; he couldn’t work anymore. He said one of these days you’ll get out of these hills. Keep your nose on the grind stone and out of the pills.”

“See the ways of this world just to bring you to tears,” Chase joins in as Bubba could only glance over at them in amazement. He then turned on his phone, taking a photo to send back to the girls. “Keep the lord in your heart, you’ll have nothing to fear. Live the best that you can and don’t lie and don’t steal. Keep your nose on the grind stone, and out of the pills.”

The girls only chuckled as they watched the video, sending back a thumbs back in response.

“But yet they tell us that they don’t sing,” Lindsay comments, as Sarina just laughs back in response.

“Chase always told me that, too,” she recalls with a smirk on her face. “That all changed when he sang to me.” Lindsay smiles as she remembered Sarina telling her about that. “They can sing better than they realize. We need to do a Karoke night together.”

“And embarrass ourselves?” Sarina instantly turned to surprise as she shook her head no.

“Girl, you can sing – whether you want to admit it or not. I’ve heard that voice of yours. Ryan will agree once he hears it. Hell, he may sing more for you.” Lindsay was set to argue totally against that, focusing back on the binders.

“So with doing a beach wedding, I was liking the idea of having yellow and white flowers…” Sarina looks over the notes that Lindsay had added herself since the last time they sat down together planning the wedding.

Sunday, April 21 – Dawsonville, Georgia

The whole afternoon at the Elliott household had been fun and entertaining. There were chuckles in watching Chase’s niece and nephew run off through the field looking for the Easter eggs that Cindy had hid for them. Cindy then got the photos of them all together she had been requesting and bugging from the beginning for – with Sarina following her instructions in taking the images.

“That better not be the last time that we do photos,” Cindy commented as they finished up with a couple of other requests. One of her personal favorites was having Bill with all three grandchildren together. “As those kids get better, we need to promise to keep doing them each year.”

“Are you saying that we’ve created an Easter tradition?” Sarina questions, earning a nod in response from Cindy. Sarina couldn’t explain as she thought it was adorable. She also knew that she’d probably be doing the same for herself, Abigail, and Chase.

“I was the trouble maker of the three of us – but yet you’re the one wearing one of those fancy monitors first,” Starr comments, earning a glance from Chase that wasn’t too pleasant. “What? I’m sorry, but I had to make a comment on it.”

“I have to admit that you are right, though,” he finally gave in with a small smile on his face.

“We could always get Brittany to bust it for you.” Brittany glances over, giving a simple nod as she had knew disabling devices like that was right up her ally in the Air Force.

“She’s too much of an angel to do something like that…” That only earned a couple laughs around the room in response.

“Ah shit!” They hear Sarina let out, with each of the Elliott kids glance over to see what was the reasoning. It didn’t take them long to realize, seeing Abigail had spit up on herwhile Sarina was burping her.

“Rule 1 – never wear white with children as it’ll get marked up immediately,” Brittany states, earning a nod in agreement from Starr. “I wore a white dress to a party once, and I ended up with pee everywhere thanks to little man.”

“Lucky for you, I have training with stains, too,” Cindy comments as she joins in the group. Chase easily takes Abigail from Sarina’s arms, letting her head off with Cindy to get cleaned up.

“So what are you going to do if she wants to race like her parents?” Starr questions as Chase looks over at her. With Abigail being only 11 weeks old, he hadn’t given it much thought. However, he knew it was a big possibility with how much time she’d be spending at the track.

“We’ll have to see when the time comes,” he answers as he glances down at her. He then leans down, giving her a couple kisses, which just earned some giggles in response.

“I’m surprised some team hasn’t already signed her to a development contract,” Brittany comments. “I could honestly see her and Brexton dating while racing as teammates one day.” The comment only earned a glance of surprise and shake of the head from Chase. “Oh, so we don’t flinch about her racing, but we freak over dating?”

“Listen, she’s not dating until she’s 18 or possibly older.” Both of his sisters chuckle back in response, looking out in the backyard at their dad playing with the kids.

“Don’t worry – dad always said the same thing about us. You can ask him how that turned out.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 234: Flying & Concerts

Thursday, April 18 – Dawsonville, Georgia

Chase Elliott looks through the photos before he glances up, making sure that Kevin Coleman was fine putting with finalizing everything for the night in the hanger. With the boys having tickets for a concert that night with friends, Chase had made sure to have room in the hanger so Kevin could keep the plane there overnight.

He smiles as his eyes return to the laptop screen, clicking a view to make them bigger, and zooming in with how crisp they turned out.

“That photo is amazing,” he hears from behind, nodding his head in agreement as he opens the particular image in question. He remembered the exact moment they shot it, as it was during Kevin’s second turn behind the controls. “I think your mom’s photography lessons are finally paying off.”

“No – I think you’re just giving me the perfect material to work with,” Chase replies back as he transfer the photo to his phone immediately. If there was going to be a photo shared from today, he didn’t have any doubt on which image to share now. “Ryan texted me. They should be here shortly. He appreciated Dad’s offer to give them a lift.”

“Your dad is just like you are. He’ll take any chance that he can get to go flying.” Chase couldn’t deny that offer, as he remembered several times when he was learning how his dad offered to go up with him.

“He still says that we’re crazy for what we’re doing today, despite that.” Kevin shakes his head, not surprised, given the nerves that he had seen from Sarina yesterday.

“He’s just worried about you. That’s what parents do.” Chase once again couldn’t argue with his friend’s sentiments.

“Regardless, thank you for coming and spending the week here. It means the world to me.” He then looks over the images once again, taking a deep breath. “I didn’t realize how much I needed this break until this week and spending that time in the air with you. However, losing myself in that moment, it was the perfect release.”

“That’s why we both got into flying, right? It’s the one place that we can both go and feel free above anything else no matter what is going on in our lives.” Kevin watches Chase closely, as he puts things away. “Look, I may not know everything that’s going on, and you don’t need to tell me because I don’t need to know. But it’s easy to tell that there’s a lot going on. When you hear the charges laid down against both you and Carter, when you realize what all went down, and how long it has gone on for, you begin to understand. So I perfectly understand where you’re coming from, and I understand needing the break. So as your friend, I’m glad to be able to give you that opportunity.”

“I try to pretend that it doesn’t affect me sometimes, but that’d be lying to myself. I realized that when I made the decision to do something about it last year.” Kevin nods his head, remembering a day they agreed to meet and Chase was late due to the appointment going longer than expected. “Sometimes, I admit that it feels harder this time because there’s so many unknowns. I don’t know what Sarina is feeling and what she’s going to do next. I don’t know what the jury could be decide in regards to my fate for the future. What if they don’t see it the way that they should?”

“They’d be insane to not. Honestly, I’m shocked that the courts even let these charges go through. I’m sorry, but all you did was stop something from happening and you called the authorizes. So now we’re not supposed to protect ourselves?” Chase shrugs his shoulders, feeling that same confusion.

“Though according to Nellie Martin, I went too far when I bent his fingers back while holding him and told him that he was a sick bastard and there was more that I wanted to do to him.” Kevin felt a bit of shock come over him in learning the details that he hadn’t realized were involved.

“Did you actually break a finger?” Chase nods his head, having seen the proof in the court room. He couldn’t help but echo the chuckle from Kevin in that moment. “Damn boy! But, again, who can blame you? I would’ve done the exact same thing in your shoes, and I’m sure the majority of that jury would do the same thing. They’re hypocrites if they think otherwise. Honestly, I don’t think you have a single thing to worry about – but I understand the nerves just in case.”

“I appreciate that, I think…” Kevin wraps an arm around his shoulders.

“Listen, whenever you need to just get away like this, call me. If I have tine in my schedule, I’ll come down because I can’t help but admit that I have a ball when we’re together.” Chase nods his head with a smile in agreement, having seen that over the past couple of days.

Chase comes out of the shower, towel wrapped around him as he heads into the bedsroom. He goes into the drawer, pulling out his jeans and a t-shirt. He knew it wouldn’t be long until he’d be leaving with the boys.

“So the black firesuit is back for Talladega?” He hears, smiling. He knew that Sarina had a certain fascination with the black firesuit, stemming from the original Mountain Dew edition. “Doesn’t a girl get a warning anymore?”

“I was planning to surprise you, given that you absolutely adore it,” he answers while focusing on getting ready.

“Well, unfortunately, your PR team spoiled that as they shared the firesuit across social media today. But I will admit that the Caesar’s car looks absolutely amazing. The golden chrome on the white pops nicely.” He nods his head in agreement, having noticed that from the very first moment it was unveiled.

“It’s right up there with the Hooters paint scheme, then?” She nods her head, still ranking the Hooters appearance as the best of the four. “I thought it was nice when they sent me the proof images.”

“You’re just lucky that you didn’t have that sponsorship on the car while I was pregnant. I would’ve been snagging as much crazy bread from you as possible.” He then chuckles in response, having to admit that it tasted absolutely amazing.

“Wouldn’t that make you sick of it?” He then turns around, jaw dropping as he takes in her appearance from that night. While he was going out with the boys, he knew that her and Lindsay had plans together. However, he didn’t know they involved getting totally decked out. “Where are you going dressed like that?”

“Oh you know, we’re just playing dress-up in house tonight.” Chase rolls his eyes, knowing better. Just as Ryan was good at getting tickets and finding shows for them to go to, he knew Lindsay was right up there in that department. “Cassadee Pope is at Terminal West tonight, and Lindsay may have gotten us VIP passes to go.”

“Leave it to the Blaneys to spoil us both while I thought you’d be working on wedding plans when Dad mentioned something about having Abigail for the night.” She just chuckles back in response. “Well, I hope you both have an amazing night as you look absolutely spectacular.”

“You don’t look so bad yourself, Clyde.” She then leans in, kissing his lips.

Thursday, April 18 – Georgia Theatre

“I’m surprised that you’re here,” Kevin comments as he looks over at Darrell Wallace. That only returned a surprised glance in return.

“Why’s that?” Darrell questions, expecting a common response in return.

“You’re a metal head. I wouldn’t peg you as someone to enjoy some country.” Chase chuckles, as obviously Kevin had no idea about Darrell’s wide range of music tastes.

“If it’s good, down routes country, proper lyrics – then you’ve got attention. But you wouldn’t catching me jamming to a Taylor Swift song to save my life.” The comment only made Chase chuckle even more. “Blame this Georgia boy over here. The only problem is Ryan and I still can’t get him to like a single metal band.”

“That’s never going to happen,” Chase candidly admits as he watches Ryan rejoin them together in the crowd, carrying a round of beers in his hands. “Are you trying to get us drunk tonight?”

“Dude, it’s only the second beer,” Ryan states as he hands each of them a can to drink.

“We’re only five songs into the set,” Kevin reminds him and Ryan nods his head, having kept track himself.

“We’re going to be fine boys, don’t you worry….” Ryan then pops open his can, holding it up in the air. “Cheers to a good night with my favorite men!”

“I’ll drink to that,” Darrell offers him a cheers in response, followed by Kevin and Chase, with each of them taking a long sip.

“There’s a place where the sun doth shine and the birds keep time with the pines up ayonder,” the boys sing along as Colter begins singing ‘Caroline’. “That’s the home of my Carolina, she’s dancing in the sky…”

“Oh how sweet, when we meet on the golden streets of the great white valley,” Ryan easily carries the next verse. “These old chains around my feet, they’re pulling me back down…”

“And yet he claims to not be able to sing a single lick,” Chase whispers to Kevin and Darrell, who each chuckle and nod in response.

“I heard that! Just ask Chase about his dancing shoes…” Kevin then looks at Chase puzzled, who simply shakes his head no in response. “He can line dance with the best of them. Just get Sarina to ask him to do it.”

“When he’s drunk off of his ass later, I’m not carrying him home….”

Thursday, April 18 – Dawsonville, Georgia

Chase lets out a sigh as he leans back against the wall, shaking his head. Although he’d sworn earlier in the night that he wasn’t going to be responsible for Ryan’s drunken butt, that is what ended up happening. He made sure to get him in the house, and in the bedsroom, before leaving him in Lindsay’s care.

“I know I just met you, been talking your ears off, but I wanna know everything and I got all night long,” he hears, instantly swaying a little as he recognized the song immediately. “Are you tryna be someone for someone? ‘Cause you remind me of where I come from. So boy, I know it’s kinda soon, but I’ll tell you what I wanna do.”

“With a voice like that, I can’t damn well deny you anything,” he instantly comments, glancing towards the bed. The sight before him only caused to bite his lip right afterwards, fully enticed by the sight before him. It was a simple white tank top and brown shorts, but those sexy toned legs in those boots always caught his attention.

“I wanna take you home….” She then reaches out for his hand, which he easily allows her to grab, following her lead to close the gap that was between them. “And I ain’t talkin’ about a two mile ride back to my place. Oh, this ain’t the same old song about two hearts hooking up one and done, on a Friday-”

“I’m glad, because I wouldn’t be able to stay away from you..” He then reaches over, picking her up in his arms, allowing her legs to instantly wrap around his waist as their lips find each others. He keeps inching closing to the bed, laying her back as he easily climbs on top. “You certainly know how to get me good.”

“I don’t see you complaining, so how about you give me those sexy lips back?” She then wraps her arms around him, pulling him back down, going back right in for another kiss as she runs her fingers up on the edge of his t-shirt.

“Strawberry lip balm, huh?” She chuckles, actually surprised that he had tasted it so easily. But she kept her focus, pulling his t-shirt up above, only allowing their lips to separate for a second, as she pulled it off, tossing it aside. She then reaches for the edge of jeans, with his hands landing on top of hers. “Are you sure this is what you want?”

“Are you going to be like this every time now?” He then takes a deep breath, wanting it just as bad as she probably did right in that moment. However, he also remembered the moment in the trailer when she tried too soon with him.

“I just don’t want to hurt you. I want to make sure that you’re totally ready for this after what happened.” She appreciated the concern, and was almost set to back off totally. However, one look into his brown eyes and her heart was swirling again.

“I can tell you right now that all I am thinking about is making you mine, boy, and showing you how much I love you. I want to spend every single night in your arms cuddling, but tonight, I want you.” Chase couldn’t help but smirk in response to hearing that comment, as he had to admit that he was completely set on that upon the sight of her.

“Then what are we waiting for?” She smiles as she pulls him back down, kissing his lips once again, as he works at getting her tank top off.

“Is it wrong that I want you so badly right now?” He shakes his head no as he tosses the tank top on top of t-shirt.

“I just find it amazing that I turn you on so much…” She could only roll her eyes in response.

“Right, when meanwhile every female is flawking themselves all over you every weekend.” She then leans in for another kiss, as he looks deep into her blue eyes.

“I don’t notice a single drop of it, because my eyes are set on you.” She could only smile back in response.

“Don’t worry – my eyes don’t leave my peach either, I promise.” She easily allows him to slip off her bra, followed by her shorts, managing to barely get them off over her boots as those needed to remain on. Flipping over so she was on top, it didn’t take long for her to get his jeans off, playing with the waist band of his boxers.

“Damn Sarina…” She actually chuckled in seeing how much it drove him crazy that she was taking her time with this step.

“Easy peachy…” She then slowly slips them off. “You’re much better with no fabric on you.” She then runs her tongue along his waist.

“Stop…teasing…” She then runs her tongue along his waist once again, barely letting the tip touch his skin.

“Does it drive you crazy?” He nods his head in response, letting out a low moan as he just wanted one thing and that was all.

“I need you…now…” She then goes to take him with her mouth, but he shakes his head no as he pushes back a bit on her shoulders. “No….”

“Chase….” He shakes his head no as he forces her eyes to look up at him.

“I need to be inside you, please…” There was two reasons for this – the simple temptation that he was feeling right now, and the feelings that still surrounded regarding that position. “Please…”

“I want to taste you first, tho-”

“I can’t do it, please…” She could hear the pleading in his voice, catching his drift as to the direction that they were headed. In not wanting to lose the moment, she was easily willing to accept – and then maybe discuss at another time, or work towards being comfortable with that again.

“Okay, as long as we have each other tonight, as planned…” She easily rolls off of him, allowing him to move just enough to reach up into the nightstand. He grabs one of the condoms out of the box, handing it over to her. “Really? Do you really trust me?”

“Absolutely…” He then lays back in the bed, allowing her to slip it over his cock. “You do it much quicker than I do anyways, and I need you…” With it securely on, he quickly resumes his position on top of her, easily slipping it inside of her.

“Oh God…” He begins to move his hips against hers, being gentle in how he picks up the pace and how far he goes inside of her. It didn’t take them long to be moving in perfect sync.

Friday, April 19 – Dawsonville, Georgia

“So how was last night?” Kevin asks as they get ready to head out for their first flight of the day.

“You were at the concert with me, and I assume that you didn’t drink as much as Ryan did,” Chase begins, caught off-guard by the question. His response only caused a chuckle from Kevin. “What?”

“I’m talking about after we got home. It’s pretty obvious what happened.” Chase instantly freezes, jaw dropping as his cheeks go a deep shade of red immediately.

“Were we that loud?” Kevin breaks out into a laugh, shaking his head no.

“I was in the room next to you, remember? I took the guest room while Ryan and Darrell were downstairs. Anyways, I couldn’t sleep so I was up reading, and I heard a couple quiet sounds and put it together.” Chase only remained frozen in response, which just brought more laughter.

“This isn’t funny…” Kevin nods his head as he stares at him.

“The look on your face is priceless, though. But really – relax. Nobody knows except me, and we discussed it yesterday how much you need a release sometimes. Everything going on, no daughter for the night – I would’ve done the same thing. Just let it go as by the look on your face, she did a fine job pleasing your ass.”

“Can we just pretend we never had this conversation?” Kevin only laughs once again as they head into the hanger.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 219: “You’re just rolling with the punches today, aren’t you?”

Friday, March 29 – Texas Motor Speedway

Chase walks over to where Alan was standing, instantly giving the crew chief a high-five. Their plan between practice and qualifying had worked, as they were able to find the bit of speed they were missing. Ultimately, the qualifying session played out as they would’ve warranted, with Jimmie winning the pole ahead of William and then Chase.

“Nice timing on the runs,” Alan shares, and Chase nods his head in agreement.

“I just couldn’t get back to the gas as quick as Jimmie in turn one, still,” Chase summarizes and Alan nods his head in agreement, having seen that on the lap tracker.

“We’ve got two practices tomorrow. This is much better to figure out than what we were trying to do as Vegas. We’ll get it figured out.” Alan then glances over, seeing Sarina had made her way out to pit road with Abigail in hand. “Comfort and relaxation certainly helps, too. I couldn’t but smile in seeing you both fall asleep together.”

“There’s no words to describe what it’s like spending time with her. I mean, I fell in love with her while Sarina was pregnant – but nothing could prepare me for how much I love her, and want to be there now. She’s everything, Alan.” Alan smiles as he casts another glance over towards the pair, before looking back at his driver.

“You deserve every bit of happiness, and you’ll get that – no strings or even monitors attached, soon.” Alan then walks away as Chase lets out a sigh, having caught that reference right away.

He then makes his way down pit road, smiling as he watches Jimmie do his interviews for the pole.

“We are working hard,” Jimmie tells the reporters. “I know I post it and I say it, and I know my team does, some believe us and some don’t, but this is a tough, tough sport and we are guilty of trying too hard and being too aggressive with setups at times. But, with all of that said, very aggressive coming here to Texas and it paid off. We really put speed in the right areas of the car, and had a solid practice session and three rounds of qualifying.”

It was nice to hear the confidence in Jimmie’s voice, as Chase admittedly wanted to smack sense into those who even hinted that he couldn’t get the job done anymore. While he wanted the pole for himself, he couldn’t help but like how Jimmie got to put this in everybody’s face for a change.

However, he also stood by his teammate’s words, as he had seen the work being put in by the guys on a weekly basis at the track and the shop. It took him back to the conversation at Martinsville with Alan, and how he wanted to break down every aspect of the race. They were doing whatever they could, whenever they could, to make sure every single detail was touched upon. Now it was nice to see proof in the pudding.

“What are your thoughts on the qualifying format?” He hears as he walks over to the sea of reporters. He almost wanted to let out a sigh, not really wanting to get into that. He had already heard about Clint Bowyer’s rant.

“The rules are the same for everybody and we did a good job and had a fast car and got a good tow and Chevrolet got a one-two-three,” he comments, focusing on the positives of the session. “Definitely last week was a great effort for us from the car perspective. We had a contending car, which was nice, and then obviously Jimmie being fast here now running one lap fast, Sunday is going to be different. I do think your car is going to have to drive decent to contend. Hopefully we can get all that stuff dialed in right and go from there.”

Although the single lap speed was nice, he did not want to see the expectations set too high. Today was all about one single lap and the right tow. Sunday was about putting yourself in the right position with the package and being fast over 500 miles. They had checked off the first box. Now it was time to focus on the second.

“Nice job – from both of us,” Sarina says as she comes over, giving him a kiss on the cheek. “That was a great turnaround after the past couple of weeks – even shocked some people despite the speed in practice. I’m glad to see things turning around, but unlike them, I had no doubt.”

“Maybe this weekend we can welcome Abigail to the track in style,” Chase replies as he runs his fingers over Abigail’s hair. “I am going to go congratulate Jimmie, and then we can go back to the motorcoach.” She nods her head, accepting, having already expected that anyway.

Saturday, March 30 – Texas Motor Speedway

Chase could only let out a sigh, seeing that the rain wasn’t going to let up soon enough for them to get the first practice in. After yesterday’s solid effort, he was ready to get back in the car and log some more laps in working to get the No. 9 Chevrolet even better for Sunday. Instead, he was trying to find way to pass the time as he had headed out to the garage anyway.

“I thought you’d still be back in the motorcoach getting cuddles,” Ryan catches his attention as Chase just simply flashes a smile back in return. There were so many ways he could go with this.

“I thought you’d still be back there getting in your kicks,” he taunts right back, causing Ryan’s jaw drop to shock as he didn’t expect him to go there. “Actually, I was thinking that you should dress up as the Easter bunny for Easter since you’ve got the humps down.”

“And who was the one that walked into the garage with a big smirk on his face last year and gave away what he was doing before practice?” Chase shakes his head, having wished that had been forgotten. “I wonder if that’s when you got her pregnant….”

“The way you’re going, you may want to buy the van in advance.” Ryan had to chuckle as it was nice to get back to taunting each other. “Is the morning sickness kicking her ass yet?”

“Let’s just say that she was up at 6, puking in the toilet.” Chase makes a disgusted face, as he could only sigh in remembering those same mornings with Sarina. “Thankfully, I haven’t had to face any crazy cravings yet – but wasn’t until the second trimester the last time. Are you enjoying having Abigail at the track?” Chase nods his head. “I saw Sarina walking down pit road with her yesterday after qualifying. I’m glad that she’s got Sarina’s looks instead of yours.”

“You’re just rolling with the punches today, aren’t you?” Ryan lets out a sigh as he glances out of the garage area at the wet ground.

“Do you blame me?” Chase shakes his head no as he follows his friend’s lead. “I mean, at least it’s clearing up so we’ll be able to get Xfinity qualifying in, but it still sucks.”

“Any day that it rains at the race track sucks.” Ryan couldn’t argue with that sentiment. “Well, I take that back. The Indianapolis rain delay changed my life.”

“It’s amazing what girls can figure out when they’re bored.” Chase nods his head, remembering the shock in hearing the news when he got back afterwards. “So was it the Daytona rain delay that caused her to get pregnant?”

“Why do you and Alan insist on trying to do the math to her conception date?” Ryan just winks, knowing that he had hit the number right on the head. “Speaking of Daytona, I heard you’re thinking of a summer wedding.”

“I always told myself that I wanted to be married before I expanded my family. Obviously, that didn’t work out as planned. So my compromise to myself would be keeping my promise in calling her my wife before our second child is born. Usually that weekend, my parents and siblings are down there – plus all of our friends. I figured she could invite some friends of her own as I’d even help with paying for flight tickets, and we could get married down there. The beach is special and romantic. I think it’d be the perfect backdrop.” Chase couldn’t argue with his friend’s theory, but was still bugged by a single detail that he knew Ryan for.

“Although I agree with the principle, I just thought you’d get married closer to home as you’re more about being home than I can even be at times.” Ryan looks over, honestly surprised.

“I actually moved to North Carolina, where as you still spend most of your time up in Dawsonville so you may try again. However, I understand what you’re saying and I’ve thought about it. That’s why we haven’t set the date yet.” That also brought a new set of nerves for Chase.

“Do you realize that July is only four months away? There is a lot that can go into planning a wedding, so make sure that you give yourself enough time to make everything come together.” Ryan wasn’t worrying about that, as he knew he and Lindsay wanted to keep things simple anyway.

“I’m not dealing with Bridezilla, and nobody is bound to change the venue by moving the beac-”

“It may get infected with somethi-”

“Seriously?” Chase just stinks out his tongue a little, knowing he was just annoying Ryan at this point. However, he wanted to make sure he did what he could for him. “By the way, I was going to come over and see you on Wednesday night but I heard you had to an unexpected trip to Arizona.”

“I would rather not talk about that, Ryan….” Ryan lets out a sigh, obviously understanding that given the circumstances that he heard from Sarina.

“My opinion? The judge, the police department, the bail officer, and the attorney are all crazy for even letting this happen. When did it become wrong to protect those you love from sicko freaks? I can promise you, even with this happening, that I would do the same thing – maybe worse, if someone touched Lindsay.” Chase wasn’t surprised by those words, as he knew that he would probably do the same despite everything.

“So would you go after them with your life saver?” Ryan shakes his head no.

“I feel the big sword would scare the shit out of them more.” Chase had to laugh, but admired the approach that Ryan had.

Sarina leans back against the car, as she watches the final group go out for qualifying. While she thought they had the ability to be right there with them, she had instead missed the final round, qualifying 16th for the race that afternoon.

“Was the car too tight or too loose?” Dave wonders as he sits on the pit wall, catching her attention.

“Loose,” she replies before glancing out back to the track to watch the laps being laid down by Kyle and Christopher. She was also trying to keep an eye on her teammate, Justin.

“The rain washed away from some of the rubber that was laid down. If it hadn’t rained, you probably would’ve been fine. That said, as the Cup cars practice and we get into the race, more rubber will get laid down and that should help your free condition.” She nods her head, accepting the reasoning. Truthfully, she wasn’t too concerned as she had felt confident in the car yesterday and believed they would to be fine once they got into the race.

“We just need to stay focused, stay on top of our adjustments with me staying on top of feedback, and we’ll be fine.” She then finally glances over at Dave once again. “We have a good car, and the team is showing speed. We can do this.” Dave nods his head in agreement, appreciating the confidence in her voice.

She then goes to walk away as the session on track finishes, though stops as she notices the butterfly on the car. She then runs her fingers over it, a slight smile coming to her face as she thought about the meaning behind it. She also thought about seeing it on Chase’s shoulder over the past couple days while rubbing the cream on, knowing the significance behind it and the reason he did it.

Taking a deep breath, she knew they were planning on having her get hers down the following week, possibly mid-week in-between shop meetings and other obligations. In the midst of the chaos that they were in, she knew that things could be worse. They could be back to last year in January with the heartbreak, or possibly not get the time they were right now with Abigail.

Taking another deep breath, a single glance meant everything as it served as a reminder that no matter what was going on, she and Chase could handle it together. They’d gotten through that experience, and it was much worse. Nothing could come close and break them apart now.

Chase climbs out of the car, smile locked on his face as he walks over to where Alan and the crew were hanging out.

“That was actually a lot of fun for a practice,” he comments, not even bothering to care about what the speed chart said.

Through the back half of the practice, he spent the session running around other cars. For the first time since the test at Las Vegas, it seemed that NASCAR found the pack style racing that they were hinting at wanting to aim towards. Although the fundamentals of the package still sucked, and it would never be the best ruled thing, admittedly it was fun in trying to get the runs and make some of those moves.

“Can I just admit that was a little crazy at times for my comfort level?” Alan questions, earning a chuckle back from Chase as he knew they’d gotten close on a couple occasions. “Seriously, though, how did the car feel?”

“Slightly free through both of those runs, the second better than the first,” Chase comments. Alan glances back over his own notes, going over the adjustments they made in-between the pair of runs. “I don’t care where the board says we were, as that probably depends on the runs we were able to get. But Alan, the car felt real comfortable and I could move around and do what I wanted. I feel if we get into a run, we’re going to be fine and be able to hold our own.”

“So in your opinion, the car is exactly where you’d want it to be entering tomorrow?” Chase nods his head, feeling confident in what he had underneath him. It may had been slightly free, but he knew that he could handle that – as long as it had the speed and comfort in moves that he felt. “Considering you’re not falling off over a run, either, I won’t argue with your theory. I just don’t want to be conservative in going with what you’re saying, and then lose out because we didn’t what we needed. Remember what we talked about last week, and Jimmie said on Friday. It’s all about being aggressive.”

“If you want to adjust it and try to make it even stronger, I’m not going to stop you because you know how to do your job. I’m just telling you my general assessment.” Alan nods his head, accepting that.

The pair eventually made their way up into the hauler, with Chase beginning to slip off his firesuit once he was inside. He knew that if he timed everything right in getting changed, he could get back out there for opening ceremonies. With Abigail at the track, the pair had set the promise to be there for each other’s opening ceremonies, baby in hand, to share the final moment before the race together.

“How much time do I have?” Chase asks, no one in particular as he slips off the bottom half of the firesuit, down to his undershirt and underwear.

“I believe you still have a good half hour so you don’t need to panic,” Alan answers, quickly glancing at the time as he got comfortable on the couch with the laptop in hand. He then looked up at the television, flipping on the Xfinity pre-race coverage so they’d have an idea, when Chase caught his attention. “Woah…”

“What? What is it?” Chase goes to grab his shirt off of the table, though Alan places a hand on top. He then does a twirl motion with his finger, which Chase easily follows as he picked up what was the crew chief was noticing. “What do you think?”

“That looks amazing. That turned out perfect, actually.” Chase nods his head, having gotten a good glance himself in the morning through the mirror. “That’s actually perfect, really. I know how much it means to both of you, and the meaning of the spot. It’s beautiful, Chase.”

“Thank you.” He then finally slips on his t-shirt as he was originally intending. “You’re the third person to see it after the artist and Sarina. Just promise me you won’t say anything yet.” Alan slowly nods his head, accepting. “Sarina is going to get it done this week – same design, over her scar as well.”

“Like I said, it’s perfect and symbolic for you both. I’m glad that you’re both finding the right steps to move forward.” Chase smiles a little, as he grabs his phone off of the table.

“I just wish that everything was already in the rearview mirror, but instead I have to ponder whether a jury will believe in self-justice for the right reasons.” He then turns and leaves without allowing Alan to say another word, knowing that he didn’t want to be late.