'Racing Wives' Finale Recap: Photo Finish
After eight weeks, scuffles that could sell out a stadium and more than one wicked wreck, Racing Wives — which follows the lives of women in North Carolina's racing circuit — finally came to a close Friday night (September 20). So, did Amber, the show's burgeoning talent, win big at her first circuit race? Were Ashley and Mariel finally able to bury the hatchet after sorting through inch-thick tension?
One more time: Let's get off to the races.
Amber, who was just days away from her first big race with a sponsor, got off to a rocky start during a practice run with her brand new car (this, likely, was in no small part due to the sudden guest appearance of Kyle Busch). Amber seemed to get back on track after spinning out, but Sam — who'd been championing Amber for weeks — suddenly wondered if she'd invested too much into someone who simply wasn't ready for the big leagues.
"I'm so embarrassed that this was Samantha's and Kyle's first impression of me behind the wheel," Amber said, while Sam observed: "I have been so determined to get a female driver at KBM that I might have just forced this issue and thrown Amber in when she wasn't ready."
Elsewhere in town — and whether they were ready or not — BFFs Whitney and Mariel realized they'd have to explain themselves for missing the 40th birthday of Ashley's husband, Kurt. Ashley had invited both ladies in spite of some previous uncomfortable encounters, and felt ready to decisively count them out when they — once again — blew her off.
Whitney insisted that the only reason she couldn't go was because she was setting up Mariel's bridal shower, but Mariel had absolutely no regrets about skipping out on the event. She, a brand model, claimed the event was full of people that she considered nice to her face, but dismissive behind her back.
"Why would I spend time with people that don't really want me there?" she said.
Finally, on Amber's big race day, the ladies decided to sit down, hash out their issues and decide whether to move on as friends, or simply go their separate ways.
And immediately, Mariel pleaded her case.
"When I get around you guys, I get a vibe that you really don't want me there," she said, pointing back to the infamous dinner party. "The initial time that we met, you did not want me there."
But immediately, Sam countered: "Are you sure you're not giving off that vibe?"
Ashley, too, bit back, and argued that she had extended more than a few invites, but Mariel constantly rejected them.
"I don't think Mariel's open to being my friend because she doesn't want me getting closer to Whitney and she's just being protective," Ashley said. "Have you thought maybe once that it's you coming off the wrong way?"
Suddenly, Mariel said she felt set up to fail, and that Sam and Ashley were gaslighting her. But it was Whitney — who previously served as Switzerland — who shocked everyone when she more decisively stood up for Mariel. Whit conceded that she and Mariel hadn't always operated by the laws of racing-wives decorum but wouldn't let Ashley and Sam off the hook for being cold.
"You guys haven't made us feel welcome as much as you want to say that you did," she said. "There have been times where it hasn't felt that way...Would you have even invited me if I wasn't a wife?"
In spite of an attempt at reconciliation, Ashley and Mariel stormed off separately, and the foursome seemed content to agree to disagree, and leave things at a stalemate.
Still, Amber was totally in motion when her moment finally arrived, and she took her place at the Hickory Motor Speedway. After qualifying for the race by a hair in a pre-game time qualifier (Amber chalked up her slower times to being too cautious), it was time to get the real show on the road.
Though Amber was forced to start the race in the back because of her slow qualifier, she kicked off the race with huge promise, passing cars where she could and slowly ascending up the leaders' board. But suddenly, everything came crashing down when something in Amber's car snapped, she lost control and struck the track's wall.
As there seemed to be no provocation for the accident, Amber and Sam were both left wondering: What the hell happened?
Still, no amount of investigating could placate Amber, who was, herself, a wreck.
"I put everything into this race, and it was over just like that," Amber said through tears. "I had one chance to prove myself. I had one chance, and I didn't even get it."
After the crew inspected Amber's car, they discovered there was a small valve stem that had broken in her tire. And because her front right tire never had the amount of air it was supposed to hold, Amber was never able to turn the way she wanted to, and her tire eventually gave out.
"It wasn't the crew's fault, it wasn't my fault, it was bad luck," she said. "But I don't know if I did enough as a driver for them to want to give me another chance. I don't know what my future holds."
Very sadly, the bad luck didn't stop with Amber. After finally conceiving the baby of her dreams, Sam revealed three months after the race that she had experienced a miscarriage. She planted a tree in the child's honor, but said she was still struggling.
"She was perfect and healthy and I felt great," Sam said. "[But] I feel broken...After we lost her, everything fell apart."
Still, Sam did get some closure and peace with her ceremony, and it seemed the other ladies had found harmony, too.
In separate catchup clips, Ashley revealed that she was knee-deep in her swimwear line, while Mariel had given up brand modeling to start her own jewelry line with Whitney.
And while Amber was still unsure of where she stood with KBM, she resolved to never give up on her dreams, whether they were as a part of Sam's team or not.
"I want to win the Daytona 500," she said.
Amber, we'll see ya there.