M&M'S Fudge Brownie Debut
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (May 19, 2020) – Following a 10 week-hiatus, the NASCAR Cup Series completed a successful return Sunday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway as a national television audience on FOX witnessed one of the first major sporting events since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Fudge Brownie Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), his up-and-down race on Sunday was more successful than indicated by his final finishing position of 26th place. The day was filled with adversity from the very beginning, as Busch was forced to start at the rear of the field because of prerace inspection issues.
But one thing fans have witnessed over the last several years is the defending Cup Series champion and his team don’t back down from adversity, and Sunday was no different for Busch and the M&M’S team. Just 93 laps into Sunday’s 400-mile race, Busch made his way into the top-10 for the first time. But it was not smooth sailing from there as adversity struck again on lap 143, with Busch hitting the outside wall, causing damage to the right side of his M&M’S Toyota. However, a caution gave Busch and his team time to repair his car. Again, Busch worked his way back up through the field from 29th inside the top-10 by lap 247. Just as it looked like Busch would salvage at least a top-10 finish, he was forced to come to pit road under green with 29 laps remaining, resulting in a disappointing finish.
The good news for Busch is a rare second chance at the same track in less than a weeks time as the Cup Series returns to Darlington for the Toyota 500k on Wednesday night. Not only does Busch and his No. 18 get another shot at a Darlington win, they will be doing it with the colors of the new M&M’S Fudge Brownie product. The sharp, new look highlights the newest permanent addition to the M&M’S lineup. M&M’S Fudge Brownie are in stores now and feature the fresh-out-the-oven brownie taste without the hassle of baking.
In addition to competing in Wednesday’s Cup Series Toyota 500k, Busch is also scheduled to compete in Tuesday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington. Like he did on his Cup Series car Sunday, Busch will again sport the M&M’S Thank You Heroes scheme on his No. 54 Toyota Supra. The race is Busch’s second of five Xfinity Series starts scheduled for 2020, with Tuesday’s Darlington race replacing the Chicagoland Speedway stop on the tour that was previously scheduled for June.
So, while “The Lady in Black” didn’t treat Busch well the first time around in 2020, he and the M&M’S Fudge Brownie team get another shot at the track “Too Tough to Tame” on Wednesday night. The No. 18 team will no doubt regroup and have a shot at victory lane with some new colors on board.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S Fudge Brownie Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
What are you able to take to Wednesday night’s Cup Series race from Sunday’s race at Darlington?
“Going back and trying to figure out what we need to do to get better. We’ve got problems unloading off the hauler and being good. It takes a lot of work between Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and myself and the engineers to get the car tuned in and dialed into the racetracks. We fought the same thing last year at Indy. We ran terrible last year at Indy with no practice, and it’s a race we had won twice in a row in previous years. It’s something we definitely have to work on, but I have the confidence we can do that. We have M&M’S Fudge Brownie on the car this week for the first time. It would be great to have a good run and showcase them since we get another shot at Darlington here in a few days.”
Out of necessity, you’ll be running some midweek races for the first time ever. What are your thoughts on midweek races?
“To me, a race is a race. Whether I’m in a Cup car, Xfinity, Truck, or a Super Late Model, I’m not sure racing on a Wednesday is going to be all that different for me. Over the years with everything that I’ve raced, I’ve raced during the week all the time, so that part shouldn’t be a problem. As far as going forward, whatever NASCAR decides in the future on when they’ll have races, I’ll be there. It’s really whatever they think is best for the future of the sport and something our fans will like. If they tell me the races are on any day of the week, I’ll be there to race. Doesn’t make much difference to me what day of the week it is.”
What did you think of the safety procedures in place throughout the day on Sunday?
“It seemed to go really smoothly and really easy. Just being able to walk around the track from your bus to the car and just be there to do a job and a duty and less chaos kind of going around, the day seemed to make it a bit easier. Other than that, you kind of miss just being with or around your guys.”
What do drivers mean when they say you have to “race the track” at Darlington?
“It’s tough to pass there, for sure. It’s so difficult. So you run your laps until you get to a pit stop and try to get your guys to have a good stop for you so you can jump a couple of guys. Pit stops become really important there, as is track position and trying to stay up front.”
What makes Darlington a track that is too tough to tame?
“It’s a very narrow and challenging racetrack, especially for the speeds that we carry around there, now. We’re looking forward to getting another shot at Darlington with our M&M’S Fudge Brownie Camry on Wednesday night. You’ve really got to be able to get as close as you can to the wall in order to carry your momentum through the corners because you’ve got to make the straightaways as long as you can. The track is very narrow on entries and exits, so you’re always trying to round the place as much as you can. It’s very one-groovish. You can’t really run side-by-side there. Any time you get alongside somebody, you basically have to let them go. It’s a very big give-and-take type of track. It’s really aero-sensitive now, to where it used to be more about mechanical grip and getting your car to handle well and handle over the bumps well and keep the tires on it. Now you’re restricted off the car in front of you and are trying to find some air, basically.”
Notes of Interest:
- The Toyota 500k will mark Kyle Busch’s 540th career NASCAR Cup Series start and his 17th NASCAR Cup Series start at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
- Busch has career totals of 56 wins, 32 poles, 202 top-five finishes, 298 top-10s and 17,446 laps led in 539 career Cup Series races. His most recent Cup Series win came in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, resulting in his second Cup Series championship. Busch’s most recent pole, the 32nd of his career, came in November at Phoenix Raceway.
- Busch has one win, four top-five finishes and 10 top-10s and has led a total of 716 laps in 16 Cup Series starts at Darlington. Busch’s average Darlington finish is12.0.
- 2019 Darlington:When NASCAR’s top series raced at Darlington in September, Busch led once for a race-high 118 laps. Busch’s lead was late in the race, but he lost it to JGR teammate and eventual race-winner Erik Jones during a round of yellow-flag pit stops on lap 277. He restarted third on lap 281, and later moved himself up to second behind Jones. However, with less than five laps to go, Busch scraped the wall trying to catch Jones and he dropped to third when the checkered flag fell.
- 56 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Homestead in November, the 56th points-paying win of his career, Busch passed NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace for sole possession of ninth place on the all-time win list in NASCAR’s top series. Next up for Busch on the list is eighth-place Dale Earnhardt, who had 76 wins during his Hall of Fame career. With his 40th Cup Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway 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.
- All-Time JGR Wins Leader: With his Brickyard 400 win in July 2016, Busch passed Tony Stewart for most all-time Cup Series wins for JGR. Busch now has 52 wins for JGR to Stewart’s 33 following his most recent win at Homestead last year.
- 209 and Counting: Busch enters Wednesday night’s race at Darlington with 209 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Cup (56), Xfinity (96) and Truck (57) – following his Truck Series win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway back in February.