Charlotte

A New 'Hazelnutty' Look for the All-Star Race

HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (May 14, 2019) – Kyle Busch will be sporting a new color and, more importantly, the new M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Chocolate Candies scheme for Saturday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. 

M&M’S Hazelnut Spread, which comes in a bright teal bag, will hit the track for the first time this weekend on Busch’s bright teal No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Chocolate Candies features a hazelnut spread center covered in delicious milk chocolate, offering a perfect combination of chocolate and hazelnut flavors in every bite-sized piece. 

Busch’s latest M&M’S Hazelnut Spread scheme for the All-Star Race will debut in an race that always seems to be tailor-made for the aggressive driving style of the 2015 Cup Series champion. Busch first left his mark in the non-points event in the 2009 edition of the All-Star Race. NASCAR introduced short-track-style, double-file restarts for just the All-Star Race that year. After Busch pulled off several bold moves that helped inject plenty of excitement into the event, it prompted NASCAR to go ahead and institute the double-file restart rule permanently for its top three series shortly after the 2009 All-Star Race. Fittingly, Busch went on to score his first All-Star win in 2017 by using a late restart to sling to the front of the field and bring home his first victory in the event.

The driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry has had well-documented success at Charlotte in NASCAR’s Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series with eight Xfinity and seven Truck Series wins there. Busch’s record in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series isn’t too shabby, either, with 11 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s to his name. However, until his All-Star Race win two years ago, Busch had not gone to victory lane at Charlotte in NASCAR’s top series. And he hadn’t brung home a points-paying win at the 1.5-mile oval until last year’s dominant win in the traditional Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600. He’ll look to add to his two Charlotte Cup Series victories these next two weekends just a stone’s throw from where most every NASCAR team is headquartered.

Busch locked in his spot for Saturday night’s main event – comprised primarily of 2018 and 2019 Cup Series race winners, plus past All-Star Race winners and past series champions – via his eight series wins in 2018 and three thus far in 2019. The Las Vegas native not only has earned the title of all-star, he’s one of the dominant forces in NASCAR’s top series, totaling 204 career wins in its top three divisions and sitting tied for 10th on the all-time Cup Series win list with NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty at 54.

Busch views Saturday’s non-points All-Star Race as his annual opportunity to throw patience out the window at his own discretion, a common theme among all of its competitors which has led to plenty of “nutty” finishes over the years. With an All-Star victory already under his belt, he hopes the new M&M’S Hazelnut Spread colors will bring the No. 18 team good luck once again as it looks to add to its growing list of accomplishments.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

What are your expectations for the All-Star Race?

“This is always a pretty cool race and it has good atmosphere around it. The crowd gets jacked up and, of course, there is nothing important on the line besides a million bucks. You just go out there and race as hard as you can. You get some practice runs in, get some good practice in and make sure your car feels good to you. And you try to work on your speed, of course, as best you can. Qualifying – that’s certainly going to be interesting again this year. I think, all in all, it’s a fun event. We always enjoy coming to Charlotte for these two weekends – with the All-Star Race one of the shortest and most fun events, and then the Coca-Cola 600 being the longest event. It’s kind of two different ends of the spectrum at Charlotte and we’re hoping to get another win in the Cup car with our M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota at least once over the next two weekends there.”

What about the All-Star Race makes it so special for you?

“I think it’s just all about the money on the line. First off, we are excited to have the new M&M’S Hazelnut Spread on the car. They’ve been really well received by customers and I’m sure our fans will be looking forward to trying them, too. Well, this week it is sort of an exhibition race, if you will, because there’s a completely different rules package. There’s a completely different set of how the race is going to unfold and things like that, but you essentially still have your stages. You still have your same competitors, but you know with the differences in rules and things that we’ve got going this week, it’s certainly going to be a type of an exhibition. Other than that, it’s just about trying to go out there and win that million dollars and bring home a check or bring home a steering wheel, I guess.” 

What driving style does it take to succeed in the All-Star Race?

“I think just being aggressive and knowing when to be aggressive and how to be aggressive is the biggest thing. It’s a race where you have to get to the front and you have to get out there and get yourself, more importantly, in clean air in order to keep yourself out front and on your own.”

What does it mean to be a part of the All-Star Race in this sport?

“It matters, especially with who your fellow competitors are. For us, being an all-star and being in the All-Star Race is one of the most fun things we get to do each year. I’d say the Clash is another one of those and, with the All-Star Race, they are certainly two fun races where we get a chance to go after just a win and bring home the checkers or end up on the wrecker. It’s an exciting night and there’s a lot of energy there. It gives you the opportunity to run that many qualifying laps in a row. That’s all you’re doing – you’re giving it all you’ve got every single lap. You’re definitely up on top of the wheel and your guys do the best they can to give you a good car and to make it as lightweight as possible and throw away the air conditioning unit and keep all the front fans away from you – no radiator fan. All that stuff, just try to lighten that baby up and make it fast.”

What drivers do you think are best suited for the All-Star Race?

“You look at the guys who are really good, who qualify well. I think qualifying well can always lend itself to racing the All-Star Race well because you’re running however many laps that segment is, you’re running that many qualifying laps in a row. You’re just trying to get the most you can out of your car there. It’s sometimes hard to pass because the guy in front of you is trying to get the most out of his car and so are you, so you just can’t get there.”

Notes of Interest:

  • The Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway will mark Kyle Busch’s 14th appearance in the non-points event.  
  • ‘Bring Home the Steering Wheel or the Trophy:’ Busch has led 236 laps in his 13 previous All-Star Race starts and brought home his first win in his 12th start in the non-points event two years ago with a three-wide move on the final restart.
  • Busch has career totals of 54 wins, 31 poles, 189 top-five finishes, 280 top-10s and 16,455 laps led in 510 career Cup Series racesHis most recent Cup Series win came last month at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Busch’s most recent pole, the 30th of his career, came in October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
  • Busch has one win, 12 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s and has led a total of 1,370 laps in 29 points-paying Cup Series starts at Charlotte. Busch’s average Charlotte finish is 15.0
  • 54 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Bristol last month, the 54th points-paying win of his career, Busch sits tied for 10th all-time in Cup Series wins with NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty. With his 40th Cup Series victory at Bristol in August 2017, Busch became the fourth-youngest driver to reach 40 Cup Series wins at 32 years, 109 days, behind only Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and Herb Thomas. 

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