Maybe Kelly Greenwood shouldn't have been so...honest when she lambasted NASCAR pretty boy Trent Matheson on national TV. All the sports psychologist wanted was to give a memorable sound bite. But maybe she took it too far?
Because now Trent's team wants Kelly to devise a plan to whip their on-again, off-again racing star into shape.
There's just one hitch--Trent doesn't think he needs some "professional" to dig into his psyche, especially someone who is totally unimpressed by him. And Kelly has only one week to convince Trent that he does need her--body and soul.
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April 30, 2007
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Excerpt from Back on Track by Abby Gaines
"Hey, Trent, you're on TV ."
Trent Matheson didn't look up from his laptop computer. "Am I with a blonde?"
He didn't know how the media managed to get so many different shots of him with so many different blondes. At the very least, it seemed like discrimination against brunettes. Trent had dated a brunette a couple of months back, he was certain. Almost certain.
The regular sounds of Matheson Racing's race car preparation--the clang of metal on metal, the hiss of the air guns, the whine of the welding torch--ceased as everyone except Trent looked up at the TV. Then Rod Sutton, Trent's crew chief, said, "She's blond, for sure. But not your kind of blond ."
Trent hit the Send button that would transmit his e-mail newsletter to thousands of NASCAR fans all over America, then checked out the TV high on the wall at the far end of the workshop. The sound was off, but sure enough there he was, his face blown up large behind the woman. Like Rod said, she was blond. Pretty, but awkward-looking. The on-screen caption read Kelly Greenwood, Sport Psychology Consultant.
"Not another one," he muttered. Another expert with an opinion on what made Trent Matheson a winner. He shook his head--he'd rather spend his time answering the dozens of fan e-mails that had come in today than listen to what other people said about him. Then a picture of Danny Cruise flashed up on the screen alongside Trent's face. Cruise was his number-one rival for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
"Turn up the sound, will you?" Trent called to Rod. When the volume came up, the camera had panned back to show the TV network's traveling prerace studio. Kelly Greenwood was one of four guests being interviewed by host Chris Spires. Trent recognized the other three: a regular race analyst, a former Cup champion who wasn't racing this year and a retired crew chief. All male.
"Okay, folks, let's have your picks," Chris Spires said.
"Trent Matheson won last week's NASCAR race here in Charlotte--can he do it again this Sunday?"
The analyst spoke up first. "Cruise is good, but I'm picking Trent Matheson ."
"Matheson, without a doubt," the retired driver agreed.
A cheer went up around the Matheson Racing workshop. Trent flashed a grin to his team. "Smart guys, huh?"
The ex-crew chief took a little longer to make up his mind. He sounded reluctant when he said, "It'll go down to the wire, but Matheson will win it ."
A grumble ran around the workshop, but Trent waved it away with good humor. He knew the ex-chief's reluctance stemmed from the fact that Trent had dated his daughter, then ended it when she refused to accept what he'd told her all along, that he wasn't after a serious relationship. The old guy just plain didn't like him. But he couldn't deny Trent was the standout driver in this year's field.
"What about you, Kelly?" Chris Spires turned a smile on the blonde.
For a bare second, she froze. Then her tongue came out to moisten her lips, and she cleared her throat. She lifted a hand to push a stray strand of hair behind her ear, but her watch tangled in the cord of the microphone clipped to her shirt. There was a brief, inelegant tussle that had the guys in the to the TV and hit the off button before she could sentence. He turned to the assembled company. "What say we invite her to join me in Victory Lane after I win tomorrow?"
There was a chorus of support from every corner except the one that mattered. Chad Matheson, who sometimes forgot he'd been Trent's older brother for thirty-one years and his boss for just five, was rubbing his chin as if he actually lent some credence to the garbage that woman had spouted. Chad said, "She's right, you did crash out twice in a row ."
"Eight million Americans could have told you that," Trent snapped. Thanks for the vote of confidence, bro.
"You did that last season," Chad said. "You won two, lost two, won two, lost two ."