Kyle Busch Is Focused On Winning At His Hometown This Weekend

Kyle Busch

Aside from NASCAR’s biggest events like the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a win at the hometown racetrack is high on the priority list for many in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Las Vegas native Kyle Busch crossed off an all-important hometown win in just his fifth NASCAR Cup Series start at his hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s Kobalt 400.
The driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and 2002 honors graduate of Las Vegas’ Durango High School would like to double his number of Cup Series wins at the 1.5-mile oval after he brought home that emotional first win there in 2009.
Driving the yellow M&M’S Toyota that day, Busch qualified on the pole but was forced to start at the rear of the field because the team needed to change engines during Friday practice. Unfazed, Busch remained patient on race day as he and the M&M’S team worked their way to the front of the field by the 54th lap. Busch went on to lead three times for 51 laps en route to claiming what he called at the time the biggest win of his young career.
While that win was special, Busch already was no stranger to winning on Las Vegas Motor Speedway property. From 1999 to 2001, he earned more than 65 wins in Legends cars while racking up two track championships at the facility’s “Bullring,” which existed for several years before the 1.5-mile oval was built. Busch eventually moved up to Late Model Stock cars and his winning ways continued as he captured 10 victories in Late Model competition at the Bullring in 2001.
In addition to celebrations at the Bullring and the aforementioned 2009 Cup Series win in his hometown, Busch came agonizingly close last year to bringing home his second Cup Series win in the shadows of his childhood home. An incredible restart vaulted Busch from sixth to the lead of last year’s Las Vegas race with less than 40 laps to go. However, a vibration that turned out to be a loose wheel caused Busch to lose the lead with five laps to go. It was a tough pill to swallow as he had another Vegas celebration in his sights.
This weekend, Mars brand Ethel M Chocolate, which has a factory and store located in nearby Henderson, Nevada, will also get into the act. Not only will Ethel M have its logo adorn the rear decklid of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota, it will also sport decals for the Kyle Busch Chocolate Collection in honor of Busch’s return to his hometown.
The Kyle Busch Chocolate Collection is a limited, 16-piece chocolate assortment featuring Busch’s favorite Ethel M specialties. Wrapped in custom NASCAR-branded packaging, the collection is available for fans to purchase online at, and at Ethel M locations, including its factory store in Henderson, at McCarran Airport Boutique, and at M&M’S World® on Las Vegas Boulevard.  Busch will also visit the Ethel M location in Las Vegas Thursday for an exclusive question-and-answer session at 4 p.m. PST.
So as Busch returns to Las Vegas this weekend, the only thing that will be sweeter than winning his first Cup Series race there would be winning a second one as Busch looks to avenge the tough finish to the 2016 race and add another Vegas trophy to his list of accomplishments.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
Is there more pressure racing at your hometown track?

“Yeah, Vegas always means a little bit more pressure – more pressure on myself – just because it’s the hometown and you want to win there. Thankfully, I have won there and I’ve knocked that one off the list, but certainly you want to win there every year. It seems like either Jimmie (Johnson) and even Carl (Edwards) at one point were better than most there, but I love Vegas, the atmosphere and everything going on around that place. Last year was tough to swallow. We led at the end and had a loose wheel, so all I could do was just hold onto it and not put our car in the fence. It’s always been a big race for us and the M&M’S team, so I’m hoping we can bring home another win there.”

What was it like to bring home a Cup Series win in your hometown in 2009?

“It was cool. To go out there and to run a smooth race and to have a shot at winning at the end of the race, that’s what it’s all about. I watched Vegas being built from the ground up, and I remember when it wasn’t anything but a gleam in the eye of Richie Clyne (founder of Las Vegas Motor Speedway) – all those guys who made that place happen.”

Having grown up in Las Vegas, do you still have a lot of friends in the area? Do you get a lot of ticket requests from friends and family?

“I get a lot of ticket requests for California, Vegas and Phoenix – all the West Coast stops that we run. It’s kind of hard to fulfill all of them, but we try when we can. We get to go to M&M’S World on the (Las Vegas) Strip to sign some autographs on Thursday and I’ll be doing a Q&A at Ethel M on Thursday as well, so I’m looking forward to seeing some of the hometown fans there, as well.”

Are you able to enjoy trips to your hometown?

“It’s fine going back there. There’s really not much family out there. It’s just family friends. There are a lot of friends you get to see and catch up with that you text back-and-forth or talk back-and-forth with during the year, but you never get to see them, so that’s always cool to go out there to the race. Besides that, there are the different appearances we do for M&M’S. You get to go to some of the restaurants that you liked there growing up, so that’s always cool. It’s just another weekend, but I particularly know my way around this city better than I do any other place.”

What is your fondest racing memory of growing up in Las Vegas?

“My fondest racing memory is probably my first Late Model race. I started about eighth or 10th and ended up winning it. My first-ever start, I won. So that is definitely a great memory to have.”

M&M’S Racing

Race 3 of 36 – Kobalt 400 – Las Vegas

Car No.: 18 – M&M’S Toyota Camry


Teammates:  Denny Hamlin – No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry; Daniel Suarez – No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry; Matt Kenseth – No. 20 DeWalt 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


Race 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: Jon Desrocher

Hometown: Plattsburgh, New York


Interior Mechanic: Wesley Lape

Hometown: Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania


Race Engineer: Tyler Allen

Hometown: Seattle, Washington


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 Kobalt 400 will mark Kyle Busch’s 429th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 13th NASCAR Cup Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
• Busch has career totals of 38 wins, 19 poles, 147 top-five finishes, 219 top-10s and 12,374 laps led in 428 career Cup Series races. His most recent Cup Series win came in July 2016 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 one win, five top-five finishes and six top-10s and has led a total of 230 laps in 12 career Cup Series starts at Las Vegas. Busch’s average Las Vegas finish is 13.5.
What’s your sign? In addition to the Q&A at Ethel M Chocolate earlier in the day, Busch will sign autographs for fans from 5 to 7 p.m. PST Thursday at the M&M’S World location on Las Vegas Boulevard. Fans can check with the store for details on wristbands that will be handed out Thursdaymorning.
• The record books show Busch won the 2009 Shelby 427, his first win at his hometown track, from the pole. But, because of an engine change during the Friday practice session, Busch had to do it by starting at the rear of the field and storming to the front. It was an emotional win in the city where he grew up.
Home Sweet Home: From 1999 to 2001, Busch earned more than 65 wins in Legends cars while racking up two track championships at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway “Bullring” before moving up to Late Model Stock cars. Winning seemed to come naturally no matter what Busch drove as he captured 10 victories in Late Model competition at the Bullring in 2001.
• In 2002, Busch graduated with honors from Durango High School in Las Vegas – one year ahead of schedule.
Driver Training: In 2001, at age 16, Busch made his debut at Las Vegas with a solid ninth in the Orleans 350 Camping World Truck Series race. Just a few weeks later, Busch was about to make his first Truck Series start at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, but NASCAR officials were forced to pull him from the event because of a conflict between his age and the weekend’s open-wheel race that featured cigarette sponsorship. The unexpected ruling by NASCAR put new age limitations for competitors and sidelined Busch from NASCAR competition until his 18th birthday.
38 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Indianapolis last July, the 38th of his career, Busch is tied for 19th on the all-time Cup Series 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 last season, Busch has won Cup Series races at 21 of the 23 tracks at which the series competes. The only two tracks he has yet to conquer in the Cup Series are Pocono (Pa) Raceway and Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. During his 2015 Cup Series championship season, Busch checked off Indianapolis and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Four of Busch’s last six Cup Series 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 Brickyard 400 last July, Busch passed three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart for most all-time Cup Series wins for JGR. Busch now has 34 wins for JGR to Stewart’s 33.
170 and Counting: Busch enters Las Vegas with 171 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Cup (38), Xfinity (87) and Truck (46) following his NASCAR Xfinity Series win last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.


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