Throwing it Back to Where it all Began

HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (Aug. 27, 2019) –Mars Wrigley Confectionery's involvement with NASCAR teams began in 1990 when the SNICKERS logo appeared on Bobby Hillin Jr.’s No. 8 Stavola Brothers entry. The SNICKERS paint scheme returned to the Stavola’s team in 1991 with Rick Wilson as its driver. A redesigned SNICKERS paint scheme debuted in 1992 when Dick Trickle took over driving duties.

Fast forward almost 30 years to this weekend, NASCAR is once again preparing to celebrate its history with the annual “Throwback Weekend” at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. With its humble beginnings in mind, Mars Wrigley and it’s SNICKERS brand are proud to bring back one of its most memorable schemes from their first years in the sport – that of Hillin’s 1990 SNICKERS racecar. It will adorn Kyle Busch’s No. 18 SNICKERS Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) retro scheme during Sunday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington. Bringing back the original SNICKERS scheme from when Mars Wrigley and many of the company’s iconic brands entered the sport further shows the company’s longtime commitment as a supporter of NASCAR racing, its teams and, most importantly, its great fans.

Many of those fans from the early 1990s will recognize the memorable white SNICKERS scheme when Busch takes to the “The Lady in Black” this weekend almost 30 years later. Mars Wrigley and its associated brands are having yet another exceptional year, as Busch and his No. 18 SNICKERS Toyota team have driven to four wins en route to his 39-point lead atop the driver standings with just two races remaining in the Cup Series regular season.

The SNICKERS driver has conquered Darlington before, having brought home the Cup Series win at “The Track Too Tough To Tame” in May 2008. It earned him the distinction of being the youngest Cup Series winner – at 23 years of age – in the track’s storied history. Busch also has two Xfinity Series wins at Darlington, coming in May 2011 and 2013.

From 1950 through 2003, the traditional Southern 500 at Darlington was held every Labor Day weekend. In 2004, the race was moved to the penultimate race of the season during the first year of NASCAR’s playoffs before it was moved to the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend from 2005 through 2014. In 2015, the race returned to its rightful and traditional spot on the calendar, and Sunday night’s race will mark the 59th time NASCAR’s top series will race in Darlington on Labor Day weekend.

So, as Busch returns to “The Lady in Black” for Sunday night’s 500-mile marathon, he and the SNICKERS team look to bring home their second win in what many consider to be one of NASCAR’s crown jewel races. They’ll also take a trip down memory lane on their way to victory lane with a throwback scheme that honors Mars Wrigley’s longtime and loyal support of NASCAR racing and its fans. 

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS  1990 Throwback Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

How did your throwback scheme for Darlington come about?

“We just talked with our partners at M&Ms and Snickers and tried to decide who wanted to take the Darlington race knowing that it’s always the throwback scheme. We knew as soon as we could get SNICKERS on board, we knew which one – it was pretty simple which one to go back to since it’s a scheme a lot of people who followed racing in the early ’90s remember well. We’ve had some really cool schemes the last couple of years with the throwback theme, but I’m hoping we get this SNICKERS throwback to victory lane at Darlington.” 

What makes Joe Gibbs Racing so strong at Darlington?

“I like going to Darlington – it’s a fun place although it’s bit me a lot of times. I should have won probably twice as many races as I’ve won there, which is frustrating. I was glad to win there in 2008 and get my Southern 500 win – that was pretty cool. Why we’re good there? I don’t know, but it’s a place that a lot of the driver comes into play and I feel like all the JGR drivers, obviously, are really, really good. Of course, our equipment is good, too, and we can run fast there – run well there – and, if you can keep air in the tires, you might win.”

Have you put any more emphasis on winning the regular-season championship?

“Yeah, the last couple of weeks, certainly. We’re trying to make sure that we can close the regular season with that championship and get those bonus points. That’s what’s most meaningful is those bonus points to carry you on through each round of the playoffs. You get those for every segment, so that’s going to be important. As far as what we can do to make sure that we still achieve that is just run strong. Points are going to take care of themselves if you’re running up front and doing all the right things. Certainly Joey (Logano) has been running well this year and we’ll try to keep the lead we have for the next couple of weeks before we reset for the playoffs. If you have a bad week here in the next couple of weeks and erase that deficit, it’s going to be a close battle all the way to the finish of the regular season.” 

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 the challenge with our SNICKERS Camry this weekend. 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 a lot harder to pass now, with the fresh asphalt, than it used to be. 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.”

Can you describe the “Darlington Stripe” and what it’s like to get one?

“A Darlington Stripe is pretty easy to receive. Running at Darlington is so tough and we are carrying so much speed there nowadays that you have to run right up there against the wall in order to get your car pointed correctly for the next corner, the next apex you have to make. So, running next to the wall in (turn) one and (turn) two and turning down coming off of two and carrying big momentum and big speed down the backstretch in order to set yourself up for turn three is important. Running high in three and four all the way through the corner, trying to keep the momentum going, because it’s such a tighter corner that the radius difference between each end of the track, you try to spread that radius as wide as you can and that’s right up against the wall. So, at any moment that car can slip and, during a run when the tires fall off, you have to be aware of one to two seconds of tire fall-off and your car is slowing down and at any moment you might slip a little bit and tag that wall. It can be very easy to do.”

Notes of Interest:

  • The Bojangles’ Southern 500 will mark Kyle Busch’s 523rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 15th NASCAR Cup Series start at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
  • Busch has career totals of 55 wins, 31 poles, 195 top-five finishes, 289 top-10s and 16,898 laps led in 522 career Cup Series racesHis most recent Cup Series win came in June at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Busch’s most recent pole, the 30th of his career, came in October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
  • Busch has one winthree top-five finishes and nine top-10s and has led a total of 598 laps in 14 Cup Series starts at Darlington. Busch’s average Darlington finish is11.6
  • Regular-Season Race: Following the race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway two weekends ago, Busch extended his lead to 39 points ahead of Joey Logano in the regular-season standings. Busch has four wins to Logano’s two victories so far this season. With two races to go in the regular season, both are battling it out for the 15-point playoff bonus for winning the regular-season title. Busch has 29 playoff points to lead all drivers while Logano has 17.