The time has come for NASCAR driver Austin Dillon and his wife Whitney to put their lives on display. “Austin Dillon’s Life in the Fast Lane” premieres on June 23 at 9:30 p.m. ET (USA Network), and it will provide fans and casual viewers alike with a brand-new look at balancing a hectic race schedule with family time.
“Austin Dillon’s Life in the Fast Lane” focuses on four personalities. Dillon and tire-carrier Paul Swan represent the NASCAR side while Whitney and Mariel Swan represent the reality side and the important moments that take place away from the track. There is a distinct split between the two main focuses of the reality series, which Dillon believes will only benefit the new viewers.
“I think this covers a lot of fans that won’t take a chance at looking at our sport,” Dillon told Heavy ahead of the first episode. “You’ve got the family side of it and then just the girls and Paul’s energy and everybody can find a character and kind of relate to them, I feel like. The cool part is you do learn a lot from some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on, some of the meetings, the simulation. The stuff that we talk about when we try and really in layman’s terms explain our sport.”
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Embracing the Camera Time Was Not a Simple Task
The driver of the No. 3 has spent his entire life around cameras and in the limelight. There are photos of him celebrating in Victory Lane with Dale Earnhardt Sr., and his adult life has featured time in front of the camera for various projects.
Granted, becoming the focal point of a reality series was an entirely new experience. Dillon’s previous experience did not involve having cameras mounted in his home to capture family dinners or Swan talking about getting a victory tattoo on his rear end, but those moments with his loved ones were what he wanted to capture.
“I think for me, it was like I set an ultimatum saying, like, ‘Hey, I’m not doing any kind of show unless it’s about us, our friendship with Paul and Mariel,'” Dillon said. “You know, they did the ‘Racing Wives’ show and I was like, ‘Ehhh…’ I want it to be about our group if I was going to be in it and to highlight RCR [Richard Childress Racing], our family.”
“I always say I was made for reality TV,” Whitney said. “That’s just my take on it. I love it. I have so much fun filming. I love that it just pushes all of us together even closer. And so even on our off days where we wouldn’t hang out, we get to hang out again. So I love it. I love every little thing about it. It’s such a cool show because it has the professional racing side of it. So the guys have that side, and the girls have the reality part of it. Me and Mariel, we have a lot of fun.”
There Will Be Some Hijinks in Future Episodes
The teaser trailers have provided some glimpses of the storylines that will take place during the first season of “Austin Dillon’s Life in the Fast Lane.” Swan will learn about changing diapers using his past football experience while Dillon will try to secure a spot in the playoffs. There will also be some hijinks.
“Me and Mariel — so we call ourselves the modern-day Lucy and Ethel,” Whitney explained. “And so there is a really fun scene where we actually go to a chocolate factory. We did exactly what they did [in the ‘Job Switching’ episode]. We’re making chocolates. So that one is really fun. And you’re just going to see a lot of things like that throughout the show. Prank wars…”
“Let me clear this up,” Dillon interjected. “They didn’t call themselves the ‘modern day [Lucy and Ethel].’ The producer was like, ‘Hey, you guys are kind of like the ‘modern-day’. They just went with it.
“I think my favorite is going to be the road trip out to the west coast. I’ve always felt like we’ve been doing that on our own for… ever since I was in the Cup Series. Whitney and Mariel would come out, we would drive from Vegas to Phoenix, and have a fun road trip and just take our time going on the west coast.
“It’s the only time that I don’t really come home in between each race and get on the simulator. Kind of take that west coast swing and stay out there. That was cool. I think that that’s going to be some funny stuff, too. We did some funny stuff.”
Along with the hijinks, fun trips out west, and the prank wars, there will also be some emotional moments. One example is the Coca-Cola 600 where Dillon jumped to the lead of the pack in overtime with four fresh tires. He was within inches of taking the lead and winning his first race of the year, but contact from Kyle Larson sent him spinning into the wall.
The three-time Cup Series winner experienced the excitement of taking the lead late in the Crown Jewel race, but heartbreak immediately followed. This emotional switch also took place on the pit box where cameras were rolling.
“We ended up filming the Coca-Cola 600,” Whitney added. “And that race was so crazy because he got to the front, and then ended up getting wrecked out. But they were filming the pit box area. So it’s me on the pit box, and we have Johnny Morris — owner of Bass Pro Shops — behind me. And we have the crew chief, engineers, his business manager, we’re all there. And so you really get to see the true emotions of NASCAR. They start in the back, and we were in 20th, and then we were first. And so it’s a wild ride.”