NASCAR Champ Austin & Wife Whitney Dillon on ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ of Reality TV
Start your engines! Entering USA Network’s unscripted lineup is Austin Dillon’s Life in the Fast Lane, which centers on the NASCAR star and 2018 Daytona 500 winner, his wife Whitney, and their infant son Ace.
Also along for the ride are the couple’s best friends, Paul and Mariel Swan. Paul also plays an important part in Dillon’s on-track crew as lead tire carrier on his Richard Childress Racing (RCR) team. Mariel and Whitney, both former NFL cheerleaders, are also in business together.
Austin and Whitney Dillon made a pit stop to talk to TV Insider before the premiere, to preview the first season.
What was the turnaround like for the creation of the show?
Whitney Dillon: The process was actually pretty quick. We had done a reality show before, Racing Wives. They used footage from that as part of the pilot presentation to pitch the series. We did one Skype interview, and it got picked up really quickly. It was really quick and ended up being the busiest season of our lives.
How would you compare the feeling of the show to Racing Wives?
Whitney: This show is completely different. You really see the family side, especially now that Mariel and I are now mothers. Paul and Mariel are pregnant [when the series begins]. We’re traveling with the guys. We’re having a lot of un. You get to see on the track and off the track. It’s a true family show. Any age can watch. It is age-appropriate.
Austin, how is it having cameras on you at work on the track, peeling back the curtain before race day?
Austin Dillon: I’m used to having cameras around. I’ve had that my entire career with NASCAR. Nothing really different as I’ve filmed pilots and other things along the way. The coolest part of this is it’s just my family and friends, allowing viewers the chance to come into what we do each weekend. It was a lot more time-consuming. The time I would be relaxing on a golf course I was filming and doing interviews. It’s been pretty cool though. I always said we weren’t going to do a TV show unless it was on our terms. After Racing Wives, I said we weren’t going to do another TV show unless it was our group and the way we want to do it. That’s how it came out. I kind of set an ultimatum. Before I knew it, bang: We got a TV show.
What do you think this will do in terms of creating new fans of the sport?
Austin: I’m really pumped for NASCAR. This is a cool thing to show viewers the behind-the-scenes that we go through. The fun-loving family we are. Any time we can bring more to the sport that is bringing us this platform is really cool. You want to leave the sport in a better place than when you came in. I think this will bring new eyeballs, and hopefully, create new fans.
There is such a fun dynamic between the two couples. How did Paul and Mariel get involved?
Austin: Paul and Mariel have always loved the TV side of it. I think being able to film with our best friends was a lot more fun. We get to experience all these things together. Mariel got to go to the track and see more races this season because we were filming. It’s pretty cool to have us all together.
Whitney: We used to be neighbors. We’re not anymore, but we really do everything together. We are really best friends. You get to see all that. The guys work together. Mariel and I work together. You get to see all sides.
Austin: Paul will probably get a gig off this, being a professional wrestler one day. The energy he brings. He truly is built to be a WWE performer in my mind.
Well, USA Network does have WWE Raw and Miz & Mrs. So there is the potential synergy there.
Austin: I think he should go on for a cameo with WWE, and I can be his manager or just cheer him on.
You and Whitney make quite the team. How would you describe your relationship?
Austin: I try to be calm because I have a lot going on, trying not to ride the emotional wave. Whitney is definitely the emotional partner in our relationship. I’m the steady rock I guess you’d say.
How was it having Ace there and showing how you manage family and career? There is a lot relatability there.
Austin: People can definitely see the relatability with what we are going through with Ace. The difficulty you have traveling with, at the time, a one-and-a-half, two-year-old. It’s a lot. We have our little dog with us too. It’s a good gig though.
This show looks to veer away from the over-the-top drama of other reality shows out there.
Austin: I’m not about the drama. Never have been. The most drama you’re going to get is just the girls’ energy and excitement. I want to promote good relationships. That’s what I hope people get from this. God is the center of all that. Family fun and some racing. It’s a good time.
What was the timeframe of filming?
Austin: It was over an eight-week period, but we are still doing interviews. From Daytona 500 [in mid-February] to Charlotte and the Coca-Cola 600 [in late-May]. Those races.
What are you most excited for people to see?
Austin: You’re going to see some fun prank wars between all of us. Going to the track, the ups and downs of the finishes. The struggles of the pit crew and what they go through. You see a little bit of everything.
Whitney: Just us and our group and how much fun we have, no matter where we are or the circumstances we are in. You get to see how we go all out in everything we do.
Would you do a Season 2?
Whitney: This experience was so much fun because it was so natural. It was our real lives. We’re hoping for a Season 2. So, yes to that.
Austin: We will discuss Season 2. We’re in the middle of the road, so we’ll see.
Austin Dillon’s Life in the Fast Lane premieres June 23, 9:30/8:30c, USA Network