It was a case of career highs and low blows on the most recent episode of Racing Wives, and a series of social blowups gave even the most dangerous car wrecks some serious competition.
Things started jovially enough at the Coca-Cola 600, a tentpole event at Charlotte Race Week. The ladies described the competition as the year’s biggest, noting that a majority of the drivers bring their friends and family to enjoy the big show. And while Mariel was busy managing the brand models on Victory Lane, Samantha, Ashley and Whitney served as their significant others’ emotional pit crew, dealing out kisses and hugs for good luck.
The stakes were particularly high for Samantha’s husband Kyle, who’d previously raced the track 14 times without a win. But if finally managed to win this particular race on his 15th try, he’d become the first racer in history to secure a victory at every track. And as the laps added up and the race wound down, he kept a lead.
Finally, when the checkered flag was waved, Kyle officially became a history-maker with his 47th career win in the series.
“It’s just such an amazing feeling,” Samantha said, as celebratory confetti and fireballs littered the track.
And Ashley decided to keep the party going with a different kind of fete: a girls-only sit-down dinner. She said she was looking forward to getting to know Whitney and Mariel better, and could completely identify with their difficulties in feeling like they were stuck at the bottom of a social totem pole.
“I remember when Kurt and I first got married, the NASCAR world was so hard to navigate,” Ashley said. “I want to give them a warm welcome.”
But before the table was set and the courses were served, Amber received a different, chillier, reception. While out for sushi with Mariel, she received a vague, seemingly ominous text from Samantha, who invited her to meet at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Samantha had previously championed Amber, and aimed to get her onto the KBM team as the organization’s first female driver. But after Samantha caught Amber taking a shot with Mariel at a buttoned-up charity event, she was forced to berate Amber, and wonder if the Canadian-born racer was the appropriate representation for KBM.
Sadly, Amber’s suspicions that trouble was ahead proved fortuitous: once she and Samantha met, things continued to tumble downhill.
When Amber first arrived at KBM, she hadn’t realized that it was Fan Day, a chance for racing maniacs to get autographs and photos with their favorite drivers. Quickly, she was invited by another staff member to sit at a reception table, sign memorabilia and take pictures. But Samantha had never intended for Amber, who wasn’t yet officially signed, to represent the company quite yet, and as she watched Amber serve as spokeswoman, she quietly seethed.
“I’m just fed up,” Samantha said as she finally joined Amber for the planned meeting. “Honestly, what were you thinking down there?…You are never going to be taken as their equal if you’re doing stuff like that.”
Amber insisted that she’d thought she was simply following directions, but Samantha wasn’t having it.
“If this is what it’s like doing business with you, I can’t do business with you,” she said.
Amber was devastated, and wondered if she’d unwittingly ruined her career. Samantha, on the other hand, had bigger fish to fry (and, unfortunately, more drama with which to contend).
Things started tensely at Ashley’s dinner party, where Mariel was once again forced to wonder if her BFF, Whitney, was abandoning her for a more established group of racing wives. Even Ashley noticed that Whitney seemed to be stuck “in limbo” between two worlds, and wondered if or how she’d be able to reconcile the conflict.
“I know Whit-Whit wants to be a part of this whole wives group, but I don’t fit in it, and neither does she,” Mariel lamented. “[And] every time I see Ashley, I get this vibe that she never wanted to invite me, and to her I’m just Whitney’s plus-one.”
Mariel would certainly make a name for herself within a few hours’ time, though. Once she, Ashley, Whitney, Samantha and a handful of other guests sat down to dinner, the tension began to thicken, and Whitney and Mariel found themselves fending off small barbs from the rest of the group, who grew tired of their two-man routine (“Sometimes your outfits are a little inappropriate,” Samantha told Whitney, unprovoked, in one particularly *yikes* moment).
And Mariel, for one, wasn’t having it.
“When you come for my best friend, it’s war,” she said.
Just to make her point clear, Mariel took a dinner game as a means to launch a cold-war attack. When a challenge prompted her to do an impression of Ashley, she affected the role of a sanctimonious pedant who spoke exclusively in condescension. And, well, it didn’t go over well.
Will this spell the end of Mariel’s and Whitney’s group inclusion?
What did you think of this week’s Racing Wives episode? Share your thoughts, and tune in to the next episode Friday at 10/9c!