Kyle Busch And M&M’s Look To Get Back To Victory Lane At Richmond

Kyle Busch

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for the last weekend of the regular season and the series’ inaugural Fan Appreciation celebration, race fans aren’t the only ones who appreciate the .75-mile short track in Virginia’s capital city.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S 75th Anniversary Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), has an appreciation for Richmond, as well, and his numbers there make it easy to tell why. His most recent win at Richmond in May 2012 was the fourth of his career there to go with four runner-up finishes and an amazing 15 top-fives in just 22 career Sprint Cup starts.

Additionally, the Las Vegas native has an average finishing position of 6.9 at Richmond, tops among active drivers. Next best is Kevin Harvick, whose average finish there is 8.4. Busch has completed all but one of the 8,816 laps available to him in his 22 Richmond starts. Of those laps completed, Busch has run in the top-15 for 7,732 laps, or 87.1 percent, which is second-most among active drivers.

Saturday night, Busch and the M&M’S 75th Anniversary team look to get back to victory lane, where Busch ended up after four consecutive spring-race wins from 2009 to 2012, besting Richard Petty’s previous record of three Richmond spring-race wins in a row from 1971 to 1973. This past April, Busch came so very close to bringing home his fifth Richmond win, but teammate Carl Edwards bumped and slipped past the defending Sprint Cup champion on the last lap. With those impressive statistics and records to back him up, it’s little wonder that a visit to the “Capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia” is one of Busch’s favorite stops on the NASCAR tour.

This weekend, on top of the always-exciting on-track action at Richmond, fans will be able to enjoy some off-track fun. A partnership forged between the track and M&M’S has enabled the colorful brand to continue its 75th anniversary celebration with a thank you to all the fans throughout the weekend at Richmond as part of Fan Appreciation Weekend. The celebration will include an interactive area in the Richmond midway, where fans can sample M&M’S products, along with an exclusive question-and-answer session with defending Sprint Cup-champion Busch at the Toyota Pit Pass Saturday afternoon, hosted jointly by M&M’S and Toyota. That evening, the fan appreciation will continue as Busch will sport a “Thanks Fans” message on the rear bumper of his M&M’S 75th Anniversary Camry.

So, as the series wraps up the regular season Saturday night at Richmond, Busch and Company hope to finish off NASCAR’s regular season with a series-high fifth win that would be a fifth career Richmond win, as well. With the pressure being off for one more race, the defending series champion hopes his appreciation for Richmond ends in victory lane before his attention shifts to the Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs opener next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’S 75th Anniversary Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
You enter Richmond tied for a series-high four wins. Would a fifth this weekend give you momentum going into the Chase?


“We show up every week to win. Richmond has been a good track for us, and we almost pulled off the win there in the spring. It’s always nice to have as many wins as possible heading into the first round since you never know what’s going to happen in the first round of the Chase, or any round, for that matter. We had trouble with a blown tire at New Hampshire, and if we didn’t have the bonus points from our four wins, we wouldn’t have made it to the second round. So, you would certainly rather have those points than not. Richmond is one of my favorite tracks, so hoping we can get our M&M’S 75th Anniversary Camry to victory lane this weekend and add a few more bonus points to start the Chase.”


What does it take to get around Richmond?


“Richmond is getting a little trickier, it seems like, just with the asphalt kind of getting older and the way the cars are, and the tire hasn’t really changed there in the last few years. We may be due for an update on that. The consensus at Richmond is, of course, just trying to get your car to turn, but also having really good forward bite. You have to be able to get off the corners at Richmond. You have to have good brakes, as well, and be able to turn the center. All of it correlates. Everything you want as a racecar driver, you’ve got to have most all of it and, if you don’t, then you better hope you have more forward bite than the rest of them. That’s sort of the equation of Richmond – it’s a fun place to race, it’s really cool. As a driver, you wish it could widen out and give you more options of being able to run around in different grooves, but it hasn’t shown us that the last couple of years. We’re hoping to get our M&M’S 75th Anniversary Camry back to form there from a couple of years ago.”


What is it about Richmond that suits your driving style?


“I love Richmond. It’s one of my favorite racetracks and one of my best racetracks. I love being able to go there and, of course, we put on some pretty good races there. We won four spring races in a row and I would have loved to have made it five or more. It’s a neat racetrack and it’s certainly an excitement track and there is a lot of action that happens under the lights on Saturday night there.”


Why is Joe Gibbs Racing so strong at Richmond?


“I think a lot of it comes from Denny (Hamlin), being that it’s his home track. I’ve been good there in Hendrick and JGR cars. But Denny and I really feed off each other an awful lot at Richmond. We use each other a ton there, just to be sure we can beat the rest of the competition, of course. We do like similar setups there, unlike some other places we run. Richmond is one of those places where we both know what it takes to get around and we’re both similar to one another in that we both run well. Matt (Kenseth) has only added to our information there and now, with Carl (Edwards) on board the last couple of years, he’s a guy who’s been very good over the years there, as well.”


Do you enjoy the atmosphere at Richmond?


“I think the coolest thing about Richmond is the atmosphere they have there with all the fans really getting into it. People love coming there and supporting that racetrack. It’s been around for a long time. It’s a fast racetrack. It’s only a three-quarter-mile oval but it has really high speeds that makes it fun for us drivers and makes excitement that’s fun for a fan. Martinsville is a short track and it’s slow, but Richmond is pretty quick.”

M&M’S 75th Anniversary Racing

Race 26 of 38 – Federated Auto Parts 400 – Richmond

Car No.: 18 – M&M’S 75th Anniversary Toyota Camry


Teammates:  Denny Hamlin – No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry; Carl Edwards – No. 19 Arris Surfboard Toyota Camry; Matt Kenseth – No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry.


At-Track PR Contact: Bill Janitz, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 803 or

Primary Team Members:

Driver: Kyle Busch

Hometown: Las Vegas


Crew Chief: Adam Stevens

Hometown: Portsmouth, Ohio


Car Chief: Nate Bellows

Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont


Team Engineer: Ben Beshore

Hometown: Hometown York, Pennsylvania


Engine Specialist: Mike Johnson

Hometown: Bozeman, Montana


Spotter: Tony Hirschman

Hometown: Northampton, Pennsylvania

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Tom Lampe

Hometown: Beatrice, Nebraska


Front Tire Changer: Josh Leslie

Hometown: Mount Clemens, Michigan


Jackman: TJ Ford

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina


Front Tire Carrier: Brad Donaghy

Hometown: Orange County, Virginia


Rear Tire Carrier: Kenny Barber

Hometown: Hoosick Falls, New York


Rear Tire Changer: Jake Seminara

Hometown: Steubenville, Ohio


Pit Support: Marcus Bonicelli

Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado


Pit Support: Jeff Koons

Hometown: Greenfield, Indiana

Road Crew Members:

Truck Drivers: Brendan Greene and Jamie Price

Hometowns: Midland, North Carolina, and Choteau, Montana, respectively


Tire Specialist: Gregory Katzke

Hometown: Wausau, Wisconsin


Interior Mechanic: Wesley Lape

Hometown: Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania


Team Engineer: Gene Watchtel

Hometown: Clearwater, Florida


Ride and Handling Engineer: Chris Chase

Hometown: Nichols, New York


Rear End Mechanic: Chris Jones

Hometown: Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia


Mechanic: Todd Foster

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama


Front End Mechanic: Brandon Griffeth

Hometown: Pittsfield, Illinois

Notes of Interest:
  • The Federated Auto Parts 400 will mark Kyle Busch’s 416th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 23rd Sprint Cup start at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
  • Busch has career totals of 38 wins, 19 poles, 141 top-fives, 209 top-10s and 11,964 laps led in 415 career Sprint Cup races. His most recent Sprint Cup win came six races ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, when he brought home his second consecutive win at the historic 2.5-mile oval. Busch’s win came from the pole position, his most recent pole and the 19th of his career.
  • Busch has four wins, 15 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s and has led a total of 1,018 laps in 22 career Sprint Cup starts at Richmond. His average Richmond finish is 6.9.
  • 38 Career Sprint Cup Wins: With his Sprint Cup win at Indianapolis, the 38th of his career, Busch is tied for 19th on the all-time Sprint Cup win list with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Matt Kenseth.
  • Trimming the List: With wins at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City added to the list this season, Busch has won Sprint Cup races at 21 of the 23 tracks at which the series competes. The only two tracks he has yet to conquer in the Sprint Cup series are Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Pocono (Pa) Raceway. During his 2015 Sprint Cup championship season, Busch checked off Indianapolis and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Four of Busch’s last six Sprint Cup wins have been his first at each track in NASCAR’s top series (Indianapolis, Homestead, Martinsville and Kansas). Of the 21 different tracks where Busch has won, he has multiple wins at 11 of them.
  • All-Time JGR Wins Leader: With his recent Brickyard 400 win, Busch passed three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart for most all-time Sprint Cup wins for JGR. Busch now has 34 wins for JGR to Stewart’s 33.
  • 166 and Counting: Busch enters Richmond with 166 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Sprint Cup (38), Xfinity (83) and Truck (45) – after sweeping both the Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis in July.

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