Samantha Busch may have found the first rational reason to star in a reality show.
The businesswoman, who’s been married to NASCAR champion and Las Vegas native Kyle Busch since 2010, wanted to use her platform as one of the stars of “Racing Wives” (10 p.m. Friday, CMT) to spotlight her struggles with infertility.
Among other pursuits, she’s the executive director of the couple’s Bundle of Joy Fund, which helps couples cover the cost of in vitro fertilization.
“Once I got the green light on that,” Busch says, “I was, like, ‘Well, this is a really big opportunity for me to raise awareness for a lot of women.’ ”
Reality show moments
Just so viewers aren’t too rattled, “Racing Wives” also makes time for shade throwing and other silliness. The series isn’t all that different from “The Real Housewives of Lake Norman, North Carolina.”
In addition to Busch, the cast includes her sister-in-law Ashley Busch, the competitive polo playing wife of Las Vegas native Kurt, and Amber Balcaen, a driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
The most typical reality show moments come from Whitney Ward Dillon, who’s married to driver Austin Dillon, and Mariel Lane, who has since married Paul Swan, a member of Dillon’s pit crew. The inseparable best friends met as cheerleaders for the Tennessee Titans.
Take this discussion that transpired after Lane talked about how, at the time, she hadn’t had sex in four years.
Dillon: “What’s that word, celibent?”
Dillon: “What did I call it?”
Dillon: “I just put an extra syllable on it.”
At one point, taping screeches to a halt while Dillon struggles to pronounce the word “philanthropy.”
Meanwhile, back on the grown-ups’ side of the show, Samantha Busch had another goal in mind: spend more time with her sister-in-law in hopes of bringing their husbands, who’ve never had the best relationship, closer together.
“It’s not that the boys were in a fight over anything,” Busch explains. “It’s just, look, at the end of the day, everybody’s competing for one trophy, right? There’s only one winner. And so, I think in the past, it was easier for them to go race and go their separate ways. But now Ashley and I are constantly planning family things together — dinners or boat rides or play dates — so they know that, ‘Hey, you know, things might not always work out on the track between us, but at the end of the day we’re still family. And, well, gosh, we still have to do this dinner that the girls planned anyway.’ ”
It’s a noble goal, considering reality shows don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to improving relationships. Not that Busch would necessarily know. “I have a 4-year-old,” she says, by way of blaming young Brexton for her viewing habits. “I watch a lot of ‘Transformers,’ ‘Puppy Dog Tales’ and anything with superheroes or dinosaurs and racing.”
So far, though, the strategy seems to be working.
“I would definitely say that, as a family, we’ve all grown closer together. Because, yeah, we’ve done dinner scenes together or just different things on camera. … At the end of the day, us four are in an awesome position, and I think a lot of that is due to working on the show together.”
‘Playful’ Kyle Busch
The significant others aren’t much of a factor in “Racing Wives,” but viewers still can expect to see a sillier side of Kyle Busch.
Whether he’s comparing his looks to Pee-wee Herman’s or dancing and strutting down the runway at a charity fashion show, it’s a looser, more relatable driver than NASCAR fans are used to encountering.
“I think a common misconception about Kyle is that he’s just very focused and serious, and sometimes he might have a negative demeanor,” Samantha Busch admits. “But what I always tell people is that, the small glimpses that they get, that’s race day. That’s game mode. … This show kind of takes a step back and shows him how I get to see him all the time: a little more relaxed and playful, and more the husband and the dad. Not just the race car driver.”
‘I want to win that one’
The Busch clan may have relocated to North Carolina, but that doesn’t mean Las Vegas isn’t still a special place for Kyle.
“That is one that Kyle always is, like, ‘I want to win that one. It’s my hometown track. I have to win,’ ” wife Samantha Busch says. “So I definitely think he puts a little bit of extra pressure on himself whenever we come back to Vegas.”
Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts the second of its two NASCAR weekends Sept. 13 to 15.
Samantha also has a reason to look forward to the Las Vegas stops: They mean dining at Piero’s Italian Cuisine.
“I’m an Italian girl,” the former Samantha Sarcinella says, “so that’s like real, authentic Italian.”
Kyle’s favorite place to eat in Las Vegas? According to Samantha, it’s In-N-Out Burger.