The Untold Truth Of Racing Wives

Between The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Potomac, Atlanta, and so on, it seemed that we had every group of affluent wives across America covered. That was until a new show, Racing Wives, hit the scene. A departure from the city life glitz and glam shown on the hit Bravo franchise, Racing Wives follows the whereabouts of the partners of successful NASCAR drivers and other women in the community as they speed through life off the track in the racing hub of Charlotte, N.C., per The Cinemaholic.

The show premiered in August 2019 and is comparable to “an amalgamation of the Real Housewives franchise and Southern Charm, with hints of NASCAR,” as noted by The Cinemaholic. It stars five NASCAR wives (per Us Weekly): Samantha and Ashley Busch, who are married to brothers and NASCAR royalty Kyle and Kurt Busch; Amber Balcaen, an aspiring racer herself; Whitney Dillon, wife to Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon; and Mariel Lane, who is married to Paul Swan, who works for Dillon, per POPSUGAR

A promo for the first season of Racing Wives describes the show’s leading women as “fierce, fast, [and] fabulous,” but did the season finish with a win? At the time of this writing, there has been no word on a cancellation or a renewal for future seasons, per PopCulture. While fans sit back and wait to see if we’ll get to keep following those who rule the racing world, let’s take a look at the untold truth of Racing Wives.

Not everyone on Racing Wives is a wife

While the name of the show signals otherwise, the stars of Racing Wives aren’t all wives to racers — or wives at all. While Samantha Busch, Ashley Busch, and Whitney Dillon are married to NASCAR racers, Mariel Lane is married to a man who works as a jackman for racer and Whitney’s husband Austin Dillon, per PopCulture. Furthermore, Amber Balcaen (pictured above) is not permanently tied down at all. According to Us Weekly, she made the bold move to leave her then-boyfriend (now fiance) and family back in Canada to relocate to the U.S. to pursue her dream of becoming a professional NASCAR racer herself. 

According to the Charlotte Observer, the show highlights Amber’s struggles as she navigates her way through the obstacles of becoming a professional driver along with feeling like an outsider to the rest of the Racing Wives cast. “I feel like I’ve never really fit in, because when I’m with the guys at the track, I’m still a female, even though I’m a driver,” she told the publication in August 2019. “And then when I’m with the ladies and the wives, I’m not a wife, I’m a driver. So I’m kind of in an awkward position,” she said. Amber and her Canadian Football League athlete boyfriend got engaged in November 2019 after filming for the show had ceased.

Samantha Busch and Amber Balcaen have a sweet relationship

Samantha Busch told the Charlotte Observer in August 2019 that she tried to act as a mentor for Amber Balcaen, as someone who has been around the professional world of racing for quite some time. “I’ve known Amber for a few years, and she really impressed me,” she said of her motivation behind wanting to help her. “She was always very ambitious. And so when I sat down with Kyle [Busch] and said, ‘I really want a female driver,’ she is the first one that came to my head.”

However, Samantha admitted that her help could only go so far, and she saw Amber go through quite some difficult times as she raced into the male-dominated sport. “Unfortunately, in times that we’re in, you’ll see the journey of sponsorship and learning and how a lot of people think this sport’s very easy. You know, you just find some money, you get in a car and go,” she explained. “That’s not what it is, and the show really highlights the struggles for her, wanting to be a female race car driver — and for myself, being in the racing world, wanting to mentor somebody and have her succeed against a world full of guys.”

The husbands had mixed reactions about the idea of a reality show

While the NASCAR wives were excited to do the show, the husbands weren’t all necessarily into the idea right away. According to Whitney Dillon, her husband, Austin Dillon, was super nervous to move forward with welcoming cameras into their personal life. “I’m gonna be honest: He didn’t want me to do the show,” Whitney told the Charlotte Observer in August 2019. “Because it’s scary, and it’s never been done before. And it all kind of started right here, with me and Mariel [Lane], which is even scarier for him, because we were kind of the ringleaders of it all.” Whitney said her husband’s upbringing as the son and grandson of former NASCAR drivers caused him to feel like he had to be a “perfect person,” which made him feel extra vulnerable.

Meanwhile, Samantha Busch’s husband, Kyle Busch, jumped right into the idea of a reality show. “He was like, ‘This is a really good opportunity that I don’t think you should pass up,'” Samantha told the Charlotte Observer. She also admitted the couple saw the show as a medium to promote their racing team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, and their Bundle of Joy Fund, which advocates for infertility education and awareness.

Once the show aired, though, it seemed like the original cast was on board to do a second season.

Samantha Busch is hoping for a second season of Racing Wives

Following the first season of Racing Wives, Samantha Busch told PopCulture in June 2020 that she is ready for a second season. “They were talking about it pretty heavily before everything happened and the got shut down,” she said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic. “I think they’re just waiting to see what happens as time goes on. We would definitely be open to do it. It was a great group of girls.”

Busch said the series was also a great way to show that the women behind the scenes in NASCAR aren’t just the wives of drivers, but have their own goals as well. “I think for a lot of people, they just assume that as a wife we just travel to the race track, watch the races and we really don’t have much else going on,” she said. “It was a great way to highlight that the four us either have multiple business or goals or dreams and showing we could support each other and how we’re trying to build something of our own, and it’s amazing to have the support of our husbands.” Ashley Busch shared the same sentiment in an August 2019 interview with USA Today.

Following the Season 1 finale in 2019, Amber Balcaen also showed her love for the show on Instagram, calling it an “opportunity” for which she is grateful and added that she has a positive outlook for the future.

The women hope the audience sees them as authentic people

When the cars go in for a tune up and cameras stop rolling, the women of Racing Wives simply hope that audiences see an authentic look into their busy, exciting, stressful lives and as women with their own aspirations who also support their husbands as professional drivers. “What I would really like for people to see is that we’re real people,” Whitney Dillon told USA Today in 2019. “We struggle. We have our ups and our downs, and we have great moments and not-so-great moments. And you guys get to see that. You get to go into our lives and see that we’re real people too,” she continued.

Mariel Swan agreed. “There’s nothing that I would want the cameras to exclude because for me, what I appreciate most in reality shows is showing that it’s real. And with being real, there come ups and downs, and I feel like that is what viewers will relate to and connect with the most.” she said.

Ashley Busch added that she did the show to give audiences a unique look into her life on and off the race track. “The best reason for doing the show, at least for me, is to allow people a little insight into my life outside of the track — my businesses and polo and kind of showcase a little bit of what I do outside of the track, along with Kurt as well,” she stated.

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