NASCAR Driver Kurt Busch Honors Dale Earnhardt Jr. Weeks After Fiery Plane Crash
Ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s expected return to the tracks at Darlington Raceway on Saturday — just weeks after he and his family were involved in a fiery plane crash — fellow NASCAR driver Kurt Busch is showing support and reflecting on the Earnhardt legacy.
“It’s just like wow! It shows the passion, the desire and the fire that’s within him still to go out there and face,” Kurt, who’s also set to compete at Darlington Raceway this weekend, tells PEOPLE. “He’s been an amazing ambassador for our sport.”
The champion driver, 41, doesn’t know the details of the accident but says it’s “miraculous” that Earnhardt, his wife Amy and their youngest daughter, Isla Rose, walked away with no serious injuries: “That was a blessing and I’m glad that everybody got out safe.”
Kurt’s wife Ashley adds, “Thank God, that’s all I can say. Thank God.”
“I reached out to his wife and a few other people that are close to them,” the professional Polo player says. “Everybody is so competitive, but at the end of the day, people really do care about each other.”
Ashley, 28, admits she “knew nothing” about NASCAR before meeting Kurt (who she wed in 2017), but the race car wife says she quickly became her husband’s biggest fan and is now fully invested in the sport
“I enjoy the races so much because now I know the ins and outs of what it takes — it’s so much more than just turning left for 300 laps,” Ashley says.
NASCAR fans will get a taste of what happens off the track on the debut season of CMT’s Racing Wives.
Set in North Carolina, the reality show follows Ashley, her sister-in-law, Samantha Busch (married to Kurt’s brother Kyle, also a NASCAR driver), Whitney Dillon, Mariel Lane and Amber Balcaen, as they navigate the world of professional race car driving.
“It’s been really great,” Ashley says of filming the show’s first season. “Samantha and I have gotten to know each other so much better throughout all of this and that’s really brought Kurt and Kyle closer.”
“I think Racing Wives shows a very unique side of Kurt and Kyle that people don’t get to see very often,” she adds. “They get to see how soft Kyle is at home with [kids] Braxton and Samantha and how sweet and romantic Kurt is.”
But like any good reality show, there’s already plenty of drama. In the premiere episode on Aug. 9, Samantha, who manages Kyle Busch Motors, confronted Amber, KBM’s first prospective female driver.
During KMB’s fan day, where the drivers are greeted by fans to take pictures and sign autographs, Amber draws the ire of Samantha, 38, when she decides to take a seat at the table to greet the fans, despite not officially being named a racer for the company yet.
“Can you guys please get Amber out of here,” Samantha says. “She’s not an officially KBM driver, so I don’t want to like throw people off like she’s already racing for us.”
“Honestly, if you were supposed to be in our driver lineup, I would’ve prepped you. I would’ve told you the time to come, I would’ve given you the right polo. I would’ve had your hero card there,” she continues.
Amber later apologizes to Samantha, and insists that she wishes she could “redo the whole thing.”
Racing Wives airs Fridays at 10/9C on CMT.