Ray Evernham…championship winning crew chief…race winning team owner…SRX Series founder…broadcaster…Reality TV star? Yes, Ray Evernham actually produced a pilot of a reality TV show featuring him and his wife, Erin Crocker Evernham. The show was called Dirt to Diamonds, and it was released in 2012.
Admittedly, seeing this may emit some rather…odd feelings…for some given how the two’s relationship came to be. I will not get into details of that here, but, for those who know the backstory, it’s hard not to think about it.
Regardless, the two have been married for over a decade at this point, and they seem to be happy together as evidenced by this reality show pilot. This show provides some interesting insight into a side of Ray Evernham that many may not see, even if the video is over 10 years old. That being said, this video is a very interesting watch.
Based on the intro to the show, the premise seems to be following the two as they race sprint cars together. They also make a mention of Ray purchasing a dirt track, East Lincoln Speedway in Stanley, North Carolina.
From there the scene moves to the home of the Evernham’s, and the topic seems to be tension between the two about racing together. Erin is not certain about it, and neither is Ray. However, the two are committed.
With it being a TV show, obviously, it’s tough to know exactly what the emotions of the two are in this moment, but it’s interesting to see Ray in such a vulnerable place. He’s always been known as an intense and creative crew chief, team owner, et cetera, so seeing him in a more personal light and struggling is interesting. That being said, the vibe of this whole act is just kind of weird, and I cannot exactly place my finger on why.
Arriving at the Dirt Track and Preparing to Race
From there it is off to the race track, and, because it is reality TV, there has to be some added drama. This added drama is Ray getting stuck in traffic on the way to the race track while Erin works on preparing her car. Ray had to come separate after an event with Rick Hendrick, but he gets there on time.
While there it is definitely obvious that Ray is out of his element in terms of running sprint cars. They continue to play up the angle of the two racing each other, and Ray just seems generally nervous. Then there are guest stars that show up in Scott Speed, yes THAT Scott Speed, and his wife Amanda.
Just, what? Who expected/asked for Scott Speed to be in a reality TV show? There is nothing wrong with it, it is just very out of the blue.
The Speeds drop off some fun signs, and Erin and Ray talk some more about the cars and racing together. Again, Ray seeming weirdly uncomfortable in a way not before seen. Then, it is time to race.
Then it’s the typical, generic racing reality TV show shots as the race goes on. Not much of note happens, but at the end of the race, Erin ends up coming upon a lapped car as she is coming to the checkered flag with the win in hand. That lapped car is her husband, Ray.
As the two go into turn one, Ray still racing and Erin not as she just finished, Erin ends up climbing the wall and wrecking her car. Ray wonders if he has done anything wrong, but Erin says that Ray did nothing wrong. The conflict of racing together is resolved with Erin walking away with a trophy, and that is all for Dirt to Diamonds.
It’s very obvious why this TV show never took off. First off, who genuinely asked for this? I would venture to guess nobody.
Secondly, Ray just seems genuinely uncomfortable the entire time. Even in his talking head pieces, he seems on-edge. Which, may be intentional because his nerves about driving a sprint car are a big point of the episode.
However, the show just generally feels very forced. It feels like they are trying to make a reality TV show rather than make a TV show about reality. It just does not click, but it is an interesting novelty to watch.
As I mentioned, while most NASCAR fans view Ray as a confident mastermind, seeing him out of his element like this is interesting. It’s interesting to see him struggle and be nervous about driving a sprint car. It makes him more human, which is always something cool to see.
Long story short, I don’t think this show needed to be expanded further than it was. It’s an interesting experiment, but it ran its course after one episode.