Expectation (more specifically, falling short of it) was the name of the game on Episode 7 of Racing Wives, and as soon as the green light flashed, tensions began rising.
While Whitney was busy helping Mariel put the final touches on her upcoming bridal party, Amber and Ashley joined Sam for a relaxing weekend in Virginia at Ashley’s family farm (because of family scheduling, Sam’s son Brexton tugged along, too). And straight out of the gate, Ashley admitted she may have been too quick to judge racing protege Amber (Ashley infamously voiced concerns to Sam, who’s been championing Amber for KBM, in Chicago).
Ashley noted that she was excited to get to know the Canadian ace better, particularly since they shared a handful of important qualities.
“Amber and I definitely have a lot in common being both athletes and very driven,” Ashley said. “I mean, myself as a female polo player, I want to see Amber be successful, and I’m hoping after we spend some time together, I can understand what Amber’s all about.”
To be clear, though, Amber still had plenty to do if she wanted to secure a first-place finish at her upcoming race at Hickory, her first for KBM and her first in North Carolina.
“[The race] is less than a week away, and we have to take her to KBM to meet her crew chief, her team, get her seat fitted, but most importantly, we have to get her to Hickory to test,” Sam said. “She’s never been in these cars, she’s never been to that racetrack, that’s gonna be key to her success.”
But, where success was concerned, Sam — the Type A overachiever — suddenly felt like she was failing everyone. When Ashley saw Sam, who was already distracted by Brexton, answering phone calls to deal with business, she accused Sam of being absent and chided her for refusing to unplug.
“You’re here for a day to spend time with us!” Ashley said. “Not to be on your phone working.”
But Sam, who began crying, argued that she didn’t know “how to let go,” and admitted to Ashley that she was starting to buckle under the pressure of motherhood, friendship and professional endeavors colliding.
“Everything just piles up all the time,” Sam said. “And I know that this trip was supposed to be about relaxing and bonding with my girlfriends, but…there’s a race.”
Finally, per Ashley’s advice, Sam finally did “take a pit stop and refuel,” and over an elegant dinner, she and Ashley bonded over how far they’d come as sisters-in-law.
“I love how far Ashley and I have come over these past few months,” Sam said. “And I love that the more time we spend together, we really open up.”
“Sam is such a sweetheart and brings me out of my box,” Ashley echoed.
Sadly, emerging from a comfort zone was not so easy for Amber. During her first Test Day practice with KBM, and amid a surprise (and incredibly stressful) visit from Kyle Busch, himself, Amber struggled to put her best foot forward behind the wheel, and wound up spinning out.
Still, Sam kept the faith.
“I know what Kyle’s looking for in Amber, there’ has to be a balance,” Sam said. “She has to be aggressive on the track to pass cars, but she also has to be cool and keep her wits about her to win the race.”
Off the track, though, the awkwardness between Ashley and Mariel continued to balloon. Ashley, who was in the thick of planning a 40th birthday party for her husband, Kurt, said she invited Whitney and Mariel, and was upset that — the day before the party — they hadn’t delivered RSVPs. And when neither showed up (Mariel outright refused, while Whitney was too busy planning Mariel’s bridal shower), Ashley fumed.
“After last night, and all the other situations we’ve been through, Sam’s finally realizing that it’s just not working out with Whitney and Mariel,” Ashley said.
Still, Sam recalled how nerve-wracking it could be to enter the world of racing-wives social life, and said she’d keep trying to give Mariel and Whitney the benefit of the doubt.
“I think Whitney and Mariel are really isolating themselves from the group,” Sam said. “[But] I think we just have to keep making the effort.”
Still, will the effort continue to be worth it, and will there ever be a time when Ashley, Mariel, Whitney and Sam can sit down and be friends? Tell us what you think of the latest episode and racing drama, and be sure to catch the next Racing Wives episode Friday at 10/9c on CMT!