Looking for a 'Treat' at Kansas
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (Oct. 16, 2020) – It’s October and, as usual this time of year, M&M’S has brought back its Halloween-themed No. 18 M&M’S Toyota scheme for driver Kyle Busch this weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Not surprisingly, this is one of M&M’S busiest seasons.
But unique to 2020, M&M’S will add an exciting twist to the yearly October Halloween scheme as Mars Wrigley has launched TREAT TOWN – the world’s first digital trick-or-treat experience with the app featured on the No. 18 TREAT TOWN Toyota for Sunday’s race at Kansas. In the new app, fans can go door to door collecting candy credits, which can be redeemed for real candy. The No.18 M&M’S Halloween Toyota will actually be featured in the app, free M&M’S and SNICKERS candy credits will be given away to anyone who visits, while supplies last. Fans can find the TREAT TOWN app in the app store or by visiting treat-town.com to download.
Busch and his M&M’S themed Halloween TREAT TOWN Toyota will head to Kansas hoping to find a way to bring home their first win of the season. And for his part, Kansas hasn’t been nearly as spooky over his last 11 races there as opposed to a vastly stark record during his first 13 starts at the 1.5-mile oval, when he had eight finishes of 20th or worse.
With those Kansas finishes in mind from earlier in his career, Busch and his M&M’S TREAT TOWN team can look to the turning point being in April 2014 race there, when they started from scratch with a brand new car. They attacked the track in the Heartland of America with hope that a fresh outlook would produce vastly different results. While a pit-road speeding penalty cost them precious track position and an even better finish in that race, the result of 15th was still much different than the three previous trips. They began to turn the corner there in terms of competitiveness and results.
Starting with the October 2014 Kansas Cup Series race, Busch brought home his first-ever top-five finish at the track. Anyone who has ever followed Busch’s career knows the 2015 and 2019 Cup Series champion never cared much for moral victories. However, the momentum carried over from the October 2014 top-five to his next Kansas race in October 2015, when he finished a solid third.
Busch keeps making strides each time he goes back to Kansas. He broke through for his first Cup Series win there in May 2016 as the surface finally started to wear and become more agreeable to Busch’s driving style. He has nine finishes of 11th or better over the course of his last 11 starts there, a streak that at one point included five consecutive top-fives. During this year’s first Kansas race in July, Busch led 52 laps, but a late-race brush with the wall kept him out of contention for the victory.
So, as the Cup Series heads to the Heartland Sunday with Halloween fast approaching, Busch is hoping for a “treat” by the time the checkered flag falls and his colorful M&M’S TREAT TOWN Toyota lands in victory lane.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S TREAT TOWN Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
Have you looked forward to racing at Kansas more after you won there?
“I do. Also, it was – even the last few times before we won there for the first time in 2016, we had some really strong runs there. We finished in the top-10 a lot there over the last 10 races or so. We seem to have gotten a setup or a hold of this place, I’d say, and hopefully we don’t screw that up this time around and we can continue our strong runs and our fast pace of being able to have a shot to win. Looking forward to getting back in our M&M’S TREAT TOWN scheme and getting them a win in a car that always looks great every year.”
You’ve had a lot of fun Halloween-themed M&M’S schemes over the years. Do you enjoy that?
“For sure. We have the best sponsor out there with M&M’S, SNICKERS, Skittles, PEDIGREE, they all give us some great paint schemes that I’ve loved and I know the fans love from over the years. We get to have a couple of Halloween-themed schemes this year and we have the M&M’S TREAT TOWN app on our car this weekend at Kansas. With everything going on with the pandemic, Halloween is going to look a lot different this year and the TREAT TOWN app is pretty cool because you can go on there and trick or treat digitally if you want, send and receive M&M’S, SNICKERS or whatever you want from the Mars Wrigley products. So for those who won’t be comfortable going out to trick-or-treat or not, Halloween is definitely not cancelled this year and there’s an easy and safe way to send and receive candy with TREAT TOWN. It’s a pretty cool idea.”
Talk about this weekend at Kansas Speedway and your expectations on the track.
“Kansas has been a good place for our sport. You know the crowd, the reception, the racetrack, the community has really built up around the racetrack there over the last 10 years, or so. It’s been a lot of fun to see all that happen and I’m looking forward to the race. It’s been a great racetrack for us, lately. We’ve had some good runs there once the track aged. We’ve kind of seemed to maybe have figured out the place a little bit better. And, you know, we’re looking forward to the opportunity of being able to go out there and hopefully get ourselves a win with our M&M’s TREAT TOWN Camry.”
How much does the racetrack at Kansas change from the night race this summer to the day race in the fall?
“For me, it behaved a lot thelast couple of years, but we’ll see with what this package brings as far as changes from the night race this year. The night race, it just seemed like you had grip the entire run. You could really abuse the car and abuse the tires and everything just kind of stayed with you. But then, in the fall race when it’s sunny and warmer out, you really have to take care of your tires and kind of keep the heat out of them so you’re not sliding around as much and then falling back on the longer run.”
Kansas had been a frustrating place for you early in your career, but you and the team turned the corner there. Talk about that.
“We ran third there in the fall of 2014. I wasn’t there in the spring race of 2015 since that was the last race I was recovering from my injury, but (Erik) Jones ran up front until he ended up wrecking. The track really started to change and the groove started to spread out, and it makes me more comfortable when a track gets worn in. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys have been bringing really good racecars to the track every weekend and, when you have great cars and run up front, good things are going to happen.”