When it comes to racing at the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, there’s arguably no current driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series who puts on a show for the fans better than Kyle Busch.
When it comes to their commitment to the sport of NASCAR and its fans, there may be no sponsor that has shown it more than Mars Wrigley Confectionary U.S. and the M&M’S brand over its more than 30 years in the sport.
So it’s only appropriate, as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol, that Busch will be competing for his ninth win on the .533-mile short track while primary partner M&M’S keeps showing its commitment to NASCAR fans by showcasing the second M&M’S Glampground of 2019.
The all-inclusive, branded glamping experience will provide race fans with a turn-key race weekend combined with the colorful fun that only M&M’S can provide. Located in Bristol’s Hospitality Village, the event includes 30 “glamorous camping” tents for fans, along with race tickets, prerace access and a number of activities and driver appearances, including a visit by Busch. The M&M’S Glampground came about as M&M’S was looking to give new and seasoned race fans an exclusive experience at NASCAR races. The Bristol event sold out in eight hours following a popular and sold-out first foray with the M&M’S Glampground at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta back in July.
On the racetrack, Busch will be coming off his eighth career Bristol Cup Series win that came this past April – the most among active drivers. The driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) holds the distinction of being the only one in NASCAR history to win all three national series races in a single weekend, which he’s done twice at the Bristol bullring. Busch captured the “Bristol Triple” in 2010 and 2017 when he swept NASCAR’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series races those years. In addition to his eight career Cup Series wins, which is tops among active drivers, Busch has notched 11 top-fives and 16 top-10s in 28 career starts at Northeast Tennessee’s “Thunder Valley.”
With this year’s April Cup Series win in mind, the 2015 champion will look to win back-to-back races in the top series at Bristol for the fourth time in his career. Busch swept both races in 2009, then won the August 2010 and March 2011 races consecutively, then won the August 2017 and April 2018 races.
While he is a factor any time he travels to Bristol, it’s interesting to note Busch didn’t immediately take to the place. During his rookie year in 2005, he posted finishes of 28th and 33rd. But his record since then has been impressive, to say the least. After bringing home finishes of eighth and second in 2006, Busch captured his first Bristol Cup Series win in March 2007. The track was resurfaced after that race and, from 2008 to 2011, nobody has been better at the concrete oval than Busch. He scored four wins and six top-10s from 2008 until another change to the track surface prior to the August 2012 race weekend. Busch has seemed to recapture the magic from his four years of dominance there as the new racing grooves there have better suited Busch’s driving style over the past couple of seasons.
So, as Busch and the M&M’S team head to Bristol this weekend, both the M&M’S driver and his primary partners hope to yet again put on a show for the fans on and off the racetrack.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
Bristol is arguably your best track. How do you feel going into this weekend?
“Obviously we’re kind of on a hot streak with Bristol. We love going there. I would like to think that we can go there, be fast and be able to respond, absolutely. So we’ll see what we can do getting there, and hopefully having a fast racecar and doing what we normally do there, just try to stay out of trouble. It’s a tough place to stay out of trouble. Looking forward to this weekend with our M&M’S Camry and hopefully we can make it another back-to-back wins there for us and keep making some progress in the points in the regular-season championship.”
What makes Bristol Motor Speedway so unique and a place that fans love?
“Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the best racetracks on the circuit. All the fans love it because of the excitement, the run-ins and the close-quarter action with all the cars being packed on top of one another at a half-mile racetrack with us 40 lunatics running around in a tight circle. With the fans, the atmosphere there always makes for a good time and sometimes a frustrating time when things don’t always go your way.”
You and your brother have strong records at Bristol – he has five wins and you have eight. What do you remember most about Bristol from over the years?
“I remember watching when I was a kid – I wasn’t there racing, yet – watching Kurt win his first race at Bristol and then having the epic battle with Jimmy Spencer there. That was a lot of fun to watch and see how Kurt was able to get his first win there and, of course, the years that I’ve been able to put cars in victory lane or wishing I could go back and get a few more of those wins that I missed out on – I’d have a heck of a lot more than just eight. I think nothing comes close to races in the fall of 2010 and two years ago when I won the Truck race, the Xfinity race and the Cup race all in the same weekend. That was awfully special to pull off with as many things as can happen there and as much carnage that can happen there. It certainly made for an awesome weekend and one for the record books. Doing it the first time was a bit more special, but doing it for the second time back in 2017 are great memories I’ll always have, as well.”
Do you think anyone will ever win another seven races in a row at Bristol, like Darrell Waltrip did from 1981 to 1984?
“No, I don’t think so. I think the way the sport was then is certainly different than the way the sport is now. When you hit on something back in that day, you might have been able to keep it at that particular racetrack for a lot longer than you can, now. The way that tech goes and the way you have to tear down your car at the racetrack and having people looking at it from not very far away, they can see what you’re doing and, then again, they go to the tech center and they pull apart the shocks and they pull apart the bump stops and they basically give away to everybody else what you’re doing. I don’t think you’ll ever see seven in a row at a particular racetrack again, but I could be wrong. Deep down, I would like to say that I could do it, but I know that, even with the team I have and the crew and the talent and everything we’ve got going on with the M&M’S car, that’s going to be hard to do. It’s fun to reminisce about those days and about what it’s all about but, sometimes you hear these comments about our sport. And they talk about how great it was in the ’70s or the ’80s, and you look at some of the results and there are eight cars that finish and the second-place car is three laps down and this guy has now won five in a row at a particular racetrack and it’s, like, ‘How is that the good old days?’ Is that really what would be exciting these days? I don’t think so. Not unless it’s your favorite driver, and there are a lot of fans out there who pull for different drivers.”
What is your first memory of Bristol and what is your best story of success?
“I remember my first time. It was in an Xfinity Series car at a test session for Hendrick Motorsports. I remember I needed about 27 laps before I thought I was going to knock the wall down, with all the optimism and pumped-up feelings I had about going there. But after that, it’s been pretty fun. We’ve had some challenging times there, but also I’ve had some good times there. Looking to continue that there this weekend with our M&M’s Camry. What’s the highlight? You can’t dismiss the sweeps there. I would say that the first one was really, really awesome and really, really special, and the second one was special, as well.”
Race 24 of 36 – Bass Pro Shops Night Race – Bristol
Car No.: 18 – M&M’S Toyota Camry
Teammates: Denny Hamlin – No. 11 Toyota Camry; Martin Truex Jr. – No. 19 Toyota Camry; Erik Jones – No. 20 Toyota Camry.
At-Track PR Contact: Bill Janitz, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 803 or Bill.Janitz@TrueSpeedCommunication.com).
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: Tyler Allen
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Engine Specialist: Mike Johnson
Hometown: Bozeman, Montana
Spotter: Tony Hirschman
Hometown: Northampton, Pennsylvania
Over-The-Wall Crew Members:
Gas Man: Matt Tyrrell
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Front Tire Changer: Cam Waugh
Hometown: Johnstown, Colorado
Jackman: T.J. Ford
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Tire Carrier: Joe Crossen
Hometown: Salisbury, North Carolina
Rear Tire Changer: Jeff Cordero
Hometown: Salem, Connecticut
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
Mechanic: Wesley Lape
Hometown: Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
Race Engineer: William Hartman
Hometown: Laingsburg, Michigan
Ride and Handling Engineer: Chris Chase
Hometown: Nichols, New York
Rear End Mechanic: Chris Jones
Hometown: Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia
Interior Mechanic: Todd Foster
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Notes of Interest:
The Bass Pro Shops Night Race will mark Kyle Busch’s 522nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 29th NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Busch has career totals of 55 wins, 31 poles, 194 top-five finishes, 288 top-10s and 16,868 laps led in 521 career Cup Series races. His 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 eight wins, 11 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s and has led a total of 2,304 laps in 28 Cup Series starts at Bristol. Busch’s average Bristol finish is 13.8.
Regular-Season Race: Following the race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn last weekend, Busch extended his lead to 20 points ahead of Joey Logano in the regular-season standings. Busch has four wins to Logano’s two victories so far this season. With four 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.
55 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Pocono this past June, the 55th points-paying win of his career, Busch sits tied for ninth all-time in Cup Series wins with NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace. With his 40th Cup Series victory at Bristol 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 51 wins for JGR to Stewart’s 33 following his most recent win at Bristol, along with besting Stewart’s Cup Series career win total.
206: Busch enters the weekend at Bristol with 206 wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Cup (55), Xfinity (95) and Truck (56) – following his most recent Cup Series win at Pocono in June.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!