Special thanks to Near Perfect Media
Thanks for inviting us over! This motor coach is practically your home during the NASCAR season that consists of 38 weekends of races. What’s life like on the road?
Kyle Busch: My life’s pretty scripted by schedule. It’s always, “Go here go, do this.” It’s interviews and different media things and of course you have practices, you have fan engagements, stuff like that all over the place on the weekends. It’s always fun. Now that Brexton’s getting a little bit older we’re starting to take him out more and get him to different experiences across the country. It’s not normal for a three-year-old to be jet-setting the country…
Samantha Busch: He was on an airplane at 10 days old.
Kyle: He was. It’s pretty cool. Rain delays are tough. When you have a rain delay and you’re stuck in the bus it’s basically just movie day.
Samantha: For two days straight. We had an Easter egg hunt and we had a big shaving cream mess in the shower in there. I was like, “I don’t know what else to do with him.” We did crafts, we watched movies, we read books, but by day two in the rain I was out of things to do!
Is traveling with a toddler easier or harder than you imagined?
Kyle: In the earlier days it was harder but once you get used to the system of it then it’s not bad.
Samantha: It’s not bad. When Kyle goes to practice, we go find something to do at every racetrack: children’s museums, bounce houses, parks, whatever it is. We get out; we do a lot of stuff. Now that he likes to do things and is interested it’s fun. But yeah, newborn phase on a bus… it was hard. Neither one of you sleep because you’re in this small space so when the baby is up, you’re both up.
If Brexton wants to go into racing would you welcome a career for him in your field?
Kyle: Absolutely. If he wants to do it… certainly. My dad — Brexton’s grandfather obviously — has made two race car drivers, two champions in NASCAR… my brother [Kurt Busch] and myself. There’s a pretty good bloodline there first, but also a good teacher and good mentor in Tom Busch. So hopefully one day if Brexton wants to do it and if my dad’s still around, he can help us make another young boy’s dreams come true. I’m sure that’s just what the NASCAR community wants to hear [laughs].
What’s going through your mind when you’re watching your husband go around a track at 200 miles per hour?
Samantha: I didn’t know anything about racing until we met. We met in 2008 and you saw a ton of wrecks. You saw guys barrel roll down the front stretch and they always got out and walked away. I was always nervous but knew there were all of these safety measures. In 2015, he got in a huge accident where he broke his right leg and shattered his left foot. I was 28 weeks pregnant. That was kind of a wake-up call. At the end of the day, they are going 200 miles an hour, inches apart from each other and anything can happen. So yeah, there’s definitely some nerves and on some race tracks more than others.
What advice do you have for young drivers who want to race professionally?
Kyle: The thing that I did was strive to be the best in whatever I did. Whether it was messing around with go-karts or working on my race cars, I wanted to make sure everything was perfect. I was always a perfectionist. If there was a spot on the car, I would clean it off. It was always about doing everything the best that you possibly could and learning about it, too. You can’t just be a race car driver these days and just drive cars in circles. You need to know what’s in the car, what makes it go fast and the set up. There are so many different things that are going on and the more you learn and recognize what you’re working with and how you’re working with it, then you’re a better race car driver.
I love how you two are a great team. You run The Kyle Busch Foundation and own a Truck Racing team together. What are the keys to working with a spouse?
Samantha: You can tell each other like it is. You don’t sugarcoat anything … What’s nice is we always have each other’s backs. We don’t have to tiptoe around issues but at the end of the day you know we’re a team and it’s always about each other.
Kyle: We call it upstairs and downstairs. At our place there’s about 65 employees and about 56 of them work downstairs, those are my people. I handle that group and she handles the upstairs, which is about 10 in PR, HR and assistants. There’s a lot of drama, personal issues within an organization or your team at different times, things like that…
So like any business you kind of have your own lanes?
Kyle: That’s basically how we run the show. I have a lot of stuff that I deal with involving our guys down on the floor and there’s a lot more butting heads, if you will, and issues there and then sometimes upstairs as well. We have to get people to snap into it and get to work and not rest on our laurels that we’ve been successful in what we’ve done. We’ve won tons of races. We’ve won six championships, more than anybody in our series. We’re the most successful team out there. There’s still a lot more work to be done and we’ve got to keep everybody on their toes.
Samantha: When we met I was in school and I got a master’s in business psychology. I love when Kyle comes to me and says, “Hey, these people are having an issue.” Even though I wasn’t able to go down the career path with what I got my degree in, with KBM [Kyle Busch Motorsports] I’m still able to use it … We might fight about things, but we support each other.
Do you have any rules like you can’t take work back home?
Samantha: No, we’re terrible. We never stop working.
Kyle: Yeah, we need to figure out how to do that. We haven’t figured out how to do that yet.
The Kyle & Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund is a monetary award for in-need families struggling with infertility. To date there have been 31 recipients. What would you tell couples who are having a hard time having a baby right now?
Samantha: You know, it’s really hard. Obviously, we know where they’re coming from which is why we started our foundation. It’s emotionally and physically hard, it’s taxing on your marriage, on your other relationships, on your body, with your friends, everything. It’s hard when all your friends are pregnant and you’re the only one that’s not and they don’t know what that’s like. Not that they’re bad friends and you don’t want to be a bad friend and not be happy for them, but you’re so jealous and it’s very hard.
Kyle: It comes from friends sometimes, family sometimes. Not direct family but outside family. And then you have fans that are asking you all the time.
Samantha: Nobody’s doing it maliciously, but we just weren’t ready to talk about it yet at that time because we were just in a place of hurt. I realized that once we went through it that we had to talk about it because it’s helpful to the women who felt like me… alone, scared and embarrassed. That’s why we were so vocal about it. We just kind of knew God placed in our hearts that we had to do more. When you get the diagnosis that you have to go through IVF and it’s your only option to have a child… for us that was hard to swallow and then they hand you a bill of twenty-five plus thousand dollars, and luckily we were blessed to be able to afford that, but for a lot of couples it stops right there. They know what they need to do, and they can’t do it. So, it’s our mission then to help fund them so they can have their miracle babies.
Kyle: There’s very, very, very rare and limited insurance companies that give any support to IVF.
Samantha: Any support. Most of it’s completely out of pocket, which is ridiculous.
Your online boutique, Murph Boutique, is inspired by your grandmother and how she taught you how you can be powerful and feminine at the same time. What is your message to young women who look up to you, see you on social media and want to follow their dreams like yourself?
Samantha: I would definitely say that you have to have a good support group around you. You have to believe in your dreams and your goals and not listen to anybody else. From IVF to Murph to half the things we do, everybody is so quick to tell you what a terrible idea that is and that you shouldn’t do it. You just have to keep believing in yourself and not listen because there are so many people that are quick to put you down. You have to ignore that and go for what you believe in … The power of social media now, it’s good but it’s also bad and I hate that. I literally just posted something the other day about cyberbullying. It’s completely out of control and me at 32, I’m like, “Screw you,” but I know for a lot of young girls it hurts and it cuts them down. You have to ignore that and realize that those people’s opinions don’t matter … When we first started dating, that was hard. Everybody had an opinion. You’re obviously a gold digger if you’re dating an athlete right off the bat… even though we were the same age, had fun together and had common interests.
Kyle: When she came to my races and was still in school, she paid for her trips to get there.
Samantha: Yeah, I paid. I worked four jobs and paid for my airline ticket.
Kyle: She was like, “No, I’ll get the ticket. I’ll see you when I see you.”
Samantha: That’s what everybody says about you and that hurt. Nowadays I’m working and have the foundation and doing nine million other things and everybody says, “You’re a bad mom and wife.” Okay, so I was a gold digger when I didn’t work and now I’m a sucky mom? Can you pick which one I am? That’s hard to hear when you’re younger but I’m at the point in my life where I think, “You know what, if you don’t like me, screw you.” There’s always somebody. I think I’ve learned from the best to not care.
Kyle: You’re never going to please everybody. Even if you’re the most popular person or the most liked person there are still people who don’t like you.
Your wife is an entrepreneur, mom and your biggest fan. What do you love most about her?
Kyle: What I love most about Samantha is that she’s as passionate about life as I am and that we both strive to make each other stronger and we have each other’s back all the time. Even if I do something wrong she’ll tell me, “Hey, that was wrong,” or I can do the same with her, yet we still have compassion, love and respect for each other as well as our son and just being able to spend time with one another. We fly everywhere together, we live in a motorhome, we go home, we’re never apart. We always want to make sure that we have Brexton with us and Samantha with me and that we can always stay together.
What’s something that you want the press and fans to know about your husband that maybe they don’t know?
Samantha: I think a lot of times they can see it now through my social media… he has this really tough and cool guy demeanor out on the track and he has this dangerous job but behind closed doors [I want them to know] what a good dad he is and what a good husband he is. He knows how much birthdays and holidays mean to me. He hates birthdays. If we didn’t have to celebrate a birthday he wouldn’t care, but he goes out of his way to make it special for Brexton and I because he knows how important it is. It’s the little things like that or just taking time to do little stuff for Brexton here and there even though he’s running in and out and he has a million things pulling him in different directions. He’ll be like, “No, wait, hang on. I’m not answering my phone, I’m not doing anything. This is time with my family.” Just the fact that he does all that is really special because he could easily find a million other things. Instead he’s on the floor playing race cars with Brex.
It’s a history-making season for you. If there is one thing that you would attribute to your success, what would it be?
Kyle: Great people. You gotta have a great support system behind you. It starts with your wife and your son. They’re my two biggest fans and of course then it goes to my race team. I drive for one of the best owners in our business, Joe Gibbs, who’s been a Super-Bowl-winning coach in the NFL and is now a four-time-NASCAR-winning champion, as well as the people that he puts in place to work on our cars, to build our cars, to sweep our floors at the race shop, to my crew chief and everybody on the road and their families. Their families go through a lot of sacrifice because they’re gone and don’t get to see their loved ones for four days out of the week. It’s very challenging and taxing on them and their families. It’s just about people.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
Kyle: Dale Earnhardt would have been incredible, but I’m now friends with his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., which is pretty cool. If you venture outside of our sport, I’d also like to say Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or even before them, Brett Favre. It’s just so hard to choose one … To just hang out and shoot the bull and find out their story and figure out if they’re the same as you. You would think that they are because they’re so driven, passionate, focused and get exactly what they want out of themselves, out of their team and the people that are around them. Good people are good people. People that are good at what they do surround themselves in that way. I see a lot of younger kids these days that are okay with mediocracy and I think, “No, don’t think that just getting by is okay.”
Samantha: Brooke Burke-Charvet. You wanna know why? She does it all. She’s a wife, she has four kids, she has multiple businesses and she doesn’t half-ass any of them. For someone like me who does a lot of wife and mom guilt when I’m working and then having all these projects just asking her, “How do you balance life? How do you make your marriage and your kids and your businesses and everybody happy?” Jessica Alba, too. People who do it all. There’s a lot of hard stuff that goes on and people see us and think it must be easy, but they don’t realize some nights we sleep for four hours and we’re up and I’m crying trying to figure out stuff!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Photography by Aaron Eckels
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