The thing I love the most about interviewing wives & girlfriends of NASCAR drivers is that you get to see them through a different perspective. That different view, of seeing them as regular people, is my number one goal for this site (well, that and getting to do this full-time) and it’s the reason I was really excited to interview Kyle Busch‘s wife, Samantha. I sent Samantha a bunch of questions that she’s answered — awesomely — below. I really think you’ll dig this interview and maybe look at Kyle differently as a result.
I’m sure you’ve told this story many times, but how did you meet Kyle? What made you want to marry him?
SAMANTHA: Kyle and I crossed paths the summer going into my senior year in college at Purdue University. We began to get to know each other via the phone and emails and eventually started a long distance relationship throughout my senior year. Kyle was such a sweet and easy-going guy that the first few months getting to know each other were amazing! He was so easy to talk to and was very considerate. He always asked me about school and work and the passion he had talking about racing was amazing. He was (still is) so focused and driven and also hearing him talk about his two Westies (Kelly and Suzie) just melted my heart! Upon graduation, I relocated to Charlotte and we got engaged on February 4, 2010 and we were wed on December 31, 2010.
How did Kyle propose?
SAMANTHA: The proposal was such a surprise! As you may know, many of the drivers have motor homes that they stay in on race weekend. The process of creating a motor home is really awesome but long because you get to pick out all the details from the flooring to the backsplashes to the bedding. On February 4, 2010, it was the first night that Kyle and I were staying in our new motor home that we designed together in Daytona. I remember doing a little workout while watching him do the Budweiser Shootout draw on television. I was washing my face and getting ready for bed when he came in. He said, “No! Don’t take out your contacts!” (I am blind as a bat without them.) So I didn’t and he brought me into the living room. He held me and told me how much he loved the bus because we designed it together and it was the start of our future and I kept thinking how sweet he was being and I really couldn’t believe he was this excited about the motor home! Then he got down on one knee and told me he loved me. He said I meant the world to him and asked me if I would marry him! I just remember smiling, crying, I was in a state of shock and really couldn’t form words! I, of course, finally screamed YES and tackled him with a big hug! Once I calmed down a tad, I called my entire family!
What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?
SAMANTHA: We were married in Chicago because my huge family is there and we really loved the venues in Chicago. We were married at the beautiful Holy Name Cathedral and our reception was at the Chicago Cultural Center which was originally Chicago’s Public Library. The wedding had a vintage glam theme and was done in plums, golds and feathers (both ostrich and peacock). The absolute best moment of the wedding was when I was walking down the aisle with my dad. It was a crazy long aisle and there were so many people there but my only focus was straight ahead at Kyle. It was one of those moments where everything else in the room fades away. It was truly magical, and of course, I proceeded to burst into tears. Just to see the emotion on his face too was so overwhelming. When my Pops gave me away to Kyle, all three of us were crying…it was just so special! Another really special moment was when we left the church. It was just he and I in the back of a vintage Rolls Royce and we were toasting just getting married and doing a little happy dance in the back…we were so excited! It was just beyond fun! We also had such a great time dancing the night away with our friends and family. The whole day was just beyond perfect, I could go on and on all day about it!
What is Kyle’s best characteristic, his best trait?
SAMANTHA: Kyle’s best characteristic in our relationship is that he is really caring and thoughtful in such little sweet ways. For example, he is still very old school and will get my car door for me or I will wake up in the middle of the night to him covering me with the blanket. He may pop into the gas station and bring home my favorite candy or cute little things like that. Overall, Kyle is just a really passionate and driven man. Whether he is on the shop floor with the guys working on cars at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) or JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) or helping families in need because they have a sick child or helping me plan activities for our children’s homes, he just always goes above and beyond for what he cares about.
What would you say is Kyle’s worst habit?
SAMANTHA: His clothes always seem to make it about four feet away from the dirty hamper but never inside. 🙂
You’ve launched SamanthaBusch.com, which has a lot of great photos, reviews and tips from you on food, fitness and fashion, plus other lifestyle topics. Why did you want to create the site? What are your plans & goals for it?
SAMANTHA: I wanted to create SamanthaBusch.com because on Twitter and Facebook or just when I was out and about, people were asking me questions about health, fitness, fashion etc… so I thought it would be a great idea to have all my advice and tips in one place so people have something they can conveniently reference. I love when I hear that the videos and blogs I’ve done actually help people and that’s why I continue to do it. During the off-season, I plan to create some more hair how-to and workout videos, do some more product reviews and add a few more features that fans have been asking for!
What has been the most memorable racing moment, for you, from Kyle’s career?
SAMANTHA: By far, the Bristol sweep was the most memorable moment. It was so amazing to win in all three series with our team on Wednesday night and the JGR boys on Friday and Saturday. I was a hot mess at the Cup race with 50 to go! I was shaking and hardly breathing. The crew was just laughing at me and taking bets if I was going to pass out. When he took the checkered flag, I went crazy!!
What’s the biggest misconception that people have about Kyle? What would you say to set them straight?
SAMANTHA: People say he is some sort of bad guy but he absolutely is NOT! Yes, sometimes he gets upset in an interview but, come on, people cannot honestly tell me they never get fired up about anything. He is SO passionate and driven and wants to win every race so sometimes if he is in a bad mood during an interview, to me, it’s understandable. Heck, if I were interviewed after a bad race, I would be a hot mess. I could not imagine! After Watkins Glen this year, I was literally crying after the disaster on the last lap and I wasn’t even the one driving! I couldn’t imagine getting a microphone thrown in my face after such a disappointment and not being clearly upset. I love this fire and passion about Kyle. Also, that 30 second clip after a hard day isn’t him all the time, it is a mere few seconds. Nobody gets to see the sweet, soft side of Kyle like when he’s laying on the floor playing with all three of our dogs or cuddling with me as we catch up on our favorite TV shows.
Do you ever Google yourself? Are you ever surprised at the things you’ve read?
SAMANTHA: I don’t Google myself to read things but sometimes I will Google our names to pull a picture. That is actually how I saw your site! I wanted to see if there were any new pictures of Kyle and me because I wanted to change my Facebook picture and I found the one of the Charlotte night race. It led me to your site, which I read and loved, and I also got my new Facebook picture. 🙂
As a result of marrying Kyle, one of the top drivers in NASCAR, and becoming so visible what have you learned about yourself?
SAMANTHA: That I am a huge people person and thrive off that! I love getting to interact with the team, sponsors and fans every weekend! I am always the one planning some sort of dinner with people. At appearances, I have to be dragged out the door by PR because I am always chatting it up with people!
What has it been like to gain fans of your own?
SAMANTHA: It’s very hard to describe. Really, it is just a huge honor. I absolutely love connecting with the fans especially on Twitter or via email on my site. I have met so many wonderful people and love hearing their stories and becoming a part of their lives even if it is in the littlest way. I guess a big thing is, since I don’t get to go home all that much to see my huge family, it’s like having a big online family. I know that may sound weird but I look at some of the younger girls I interact with on Twitter as little sisters, helping them pick out prom dresses, hairstyles or workouts. Some send me pictures of their new dorm rooms in college with racing memorabilia and keep me up-to-date on how they are doing. I love helping these girls through different times in their lives. I love helping women get ready for their big wedding day by sending them theme ideas, makeup tips and a great workout plan, if they need one! It is so touching to have people come up to me at the track and say that they have lost weight or toned up because of my workouts. I, of course, love fashion so helping people put together outfits for work, a date, senior pictures, etc… is just a blast!