car racing, Daily Prompt, driving, humor, serial fiction, Stories, writing

Chequered Flag: Danny Goes For A Drive

Having not long ago suffered through one of the worst interview experiences of his life Danny was annoyed. He was in his car and headed to the four wheel drive training centre for some practice in a comp truck and therefore trying to remain calm and collected as much for his benefit as the benefit of other road users, but he was still annoyed.

Twelve months ago after leaving such a heated and ridiculous interview Danny would have gone straight back to his office and began throwing things around until he cooled down. Thanks to his anger management courses such things no longer happened. It was a fine line between anger and trashing and from an outsiders view it often looked like Danny was just ignoring the situation but for Danny that was the way he needed to handle things he knew had the potential to ignite his rage.

Distancing himself, even in the same room by tuning out, was his best way to handle such situations and a nosy reporter was one of those situations. The biggest difference between per-anger management Danny and post anger management Danny was that twelve months ago a reporter wouldn’t have been asking him about his marriage and using misinformation and rumours to make headlines, because twelve months ago he was happily married, well at least he thought he was.

The biggest problem as far as Danny was concerned wasn’t that the reporter had the gumption to ask such questions it was that she had the information to begin with. He was fairly certain the comments about Danny himself having secrets was little more than a fishing expedition to see if Danny would bite, it was the questions about Tracey that was the problem.

His private life wasn’t exactly secret but it also hadn’t been a newsworthy event in the motor racing world. He knew, or at least was fairly certain, that Tracey hadn’t had an affair with anyone and the only person to voice stories even close saying she did was Tracey herself, and she only did it to deflect the truth that Danny didn’t know yet, so where had the reporter got her information?

Had Tracey been talking to the press? Danny doubted it. Tracey might have done things that hurt him over the past three months but he’d known her a long time and such a move didn’t seem like something she would do. She might be hurting and even if her push for getting back together wasn’t one hundred percent honest going to the media just wasn’t in her nature.

Had someone in the team talked about his relationship? It was obviously a possibility, like any group a racing team could have media leaks. Reasons could be many and varied for such leaks and Danny definitely wasn’t naive enough to assume someone in his own team couldn’t do such things they’d had leaks before but they hadn’t ever been personal leaks based on lies.

Could the information have come from another team? For Danny the possibility of another team giving away such misinformation was more likely than a leak from within his own team. Racing was a competitive sport and trying to upset your opposition both on and off the track was not uncommon however in the entire time he’d been racing he’d never heard of teams using relationship lies as ammunition because the racing fans didn’t give a shit about such things.

Was this part of a new generation of reporting, it happened in politics and TV circles all the time, tabloid headlines fed the public mind, many people complained about it but at the end of the day people still tuned into tabloid news services. The woman interviewer was writing for a tabloid type magazine, one that relied on headlines to sell themselves but as far as Danny knew it was a first for the sport of racing.

Danny pulled into the the car park of the four wheel drive training centre and he still had no answers to the questions his mind had been posing since he left the team workshop. As he climbed out of the car he tried to force those unanswered questions from his head, he’d got over being mad but he didn’t need such thoughts in his head while he was practising.

Sitting in peak hour traffic on the his drive home Danny felt that practise went quiet well, he wasn’t new to the comp trucks but they were an entirely different beast to his race car and they reacted differently to each and every movement he made. The biggest difference however was that getting them airborne was deliberate whereas getting the race car airborne was something he actively tried not to do. The comp trucks were made to bounce and land at speed, in his car things often broke when that happened but it wasn’t only that, in the trucks the jumps were part of the race and therefore he had to know how to land them and keep driving. It was quite a different skill set and getting all the practise he could would be beneficial in the long run.

“Hey buddy, how’s it going?” Danny had already rung Dave and discussed the afternoon training so ringing Rick was his next effort to make the peak hour drive a little less boring.

“Hey mate. All’s good. How was training?” Rick was obviously avoiding the topic of the earlier interviews, it was force of habit.

Before his anger management Danny had just thought people’s ignorance of such topics was those people refusing to engage with him, which often angered him more. It wasn’t until he opened up to his friends about his anger issues that he realised their silence was often an attempt to keep him from blowing up. It was at that time he started to realise how close his friends really were.

“Yeah went ok. I even managed to keep the thing off it’s lid!” Danny replied.

“Wow, we’ll make a professional driver out of you yet.”

“Yeah. Hey, speaking of professional have you fixed that suspension yet or do we need to replace you with the cleaner?”

“The cleaner start tomorrow!” Rick replied keeping the banter going.

Danny laughed as he slowly moved through another set of traffic lights. “How did things go with your Dad? Did you guys come up with any sort of solution?”

“Yeah, my solution. Dad reckons it’s not worth doing anything to them given they have something new coming out by the end of the year to replace it. He’ll even give us some of these new units to test before they are released.”

“Guess it helps knowing some people!” Danny replied.

The two friends talked for the remaining twenty minutes of Danny’s trip home before hanging up. He still didn’t believe it was Tracey’s form to run to a reporter but he knew that he had to ask her the question.

As he pulled into the garage he noticed by the clock on the dashboard that he was home about half an hour earlier than Tracey would be expecting him, he knew she was home because her car was in the garage next to where he parked his ute, it was something he was getting used to again and he wasn’t entirely unhappy with that.

Walking from the garage to the house as the roller door of the garage came down he was thinking about how he’d ask Tracey what he needed to know and what sort of reaction he was going to get. He had a few qualms but he knew he had to do it.

Previous Racing story here.

18 Comments

  1. I liked this chapter. It seemed to backfill some of the missing history. I enjoy hearing what he’s thinking. It’s good. : )

  2. I’m a little like Danny, I do occasionally go for drives when I need to think. I did this when I was younger and it still helps occasionally. Sometimes you wish you could just get in the car and drive away from your problems. New town, new job, new life.

    • I used to do that, I used to love driving from here to Sydney when I lived there (1000ks – 620miles) because it gave me time to think. When I was 18 I used to just get in the car and drive an hour or so to the beach. But since spending 10pm-10am delivering bread driving doesn’t do it for me any more. I would happily get in the car and drive to Perth with my wife and kids (4000ks) to see the outlaws any day she asked but driving down to where my mum and dad holiday only 2 hours away annoys me.

      • Hmmm …. interesting there’s a difference to you. 4000ks is pretty far. There’s something dreamy about driving the road that stimulates my imagination. It’s intoxicatingly. Maybe Danny is addicted to driving? It’s probably like work, a way to escape the baggage of life. Not think about everything for awhile. : )

        • 4000ks takes us 4 nights and 5 days, 3 nights if we cop a daylight savings change and I do a 14 hour day. The bit in the middle is hot (all year round), often windy and when it rains it’s torrential, but it’s a good trip. Part of it is a dead straight stretch that goes for 254 kilometres. Nullarbor is Aboriginal for no trees and they are right, there is nothing out there, but it’s a great drive.

          For me it was the other way around, driving became too much like work. I’m not sure how racing drivers handle it because in this country our race teams (in the touring cars) are only allowed a few testing days and something like 24 races a year so the ‘extra’ events are a way to get practise in. I’m sure they enjoy it but it’s all about practice practice practice.

          • Practice is as with most things, I suppose.
            That is a very long way. I have never driven that much in one trip. I don’t think I would consider that a good trip.

            • I practice being an idiot but I never get sick of it 🙂

              Depends on which run I used to do, but I used to do 600ks a night with anything up to 40 deliveries (delivering in store and putting the bread on the shelf) and 5000 units of bread.

              Driving in the ute is different to driving in a truck because a truck always feel like a job, but I do relax more in the ute, however I’m more arrogant in a truck 🙂

              • I don’t like when you talk down about yourself. It makes me sad. : (.
                I am sure you were probably good at it, but sometimes it’s not worth the sacrifice. I hope you are enjoying your life now. : )

                • It’s not talking myself down, I do practise it 🙂

                  At the time I didn’t mind it, like most jobs there is always something sucky about it but there was good things. I didn’t realise how much it ruined me, but the other side of that is that I can’t honestly say what I could have changed at the time so that it didn’t ruin me. Sounds a bit like a blame game but it’s not, that job ruined me more than any other.

  3. I’m sorry to hear that. Like any other outsider, you never realize what’s going on for sure, but it might look appealing. We’ve driven three thousand miles nonstop and shorter 1200 mikes trips nonstop. I wouldn’t want to do it again!

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