Wednesday, Oct 20

Kyle Busch The Candy Man Can

The song “The Candy Man” first appeared in the 1971 movie classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” It was later made famous by a version sung by legendary singer Sammy Davis Jr. in 1972.


But to help celebrate the 75th anniversary for iconic candy brand M&M’S, the song was reimagined by producer/artist Zedd and singer Aloe Blacc earlier this year for a whole new generation.


Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S 75th anniversary Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is known as quite the Candy Man himself. He’s wearing the bright, yellow colors of M&M’S this weekend at the half-mile bullring known as Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway while also sporting the colorful and iconic candy brands throughout the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with fellow Mars products that include SNICKERS and Skittles.


Racing’s “Candy Man” is on quite the streak as the series heads to the Tennessee track known as the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” and “The Last Great Colosseum.” Busch posted his second consecutive NASCAR sweep of the weekend by winning the Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup Series races last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, following up a Camping World Truck Series and Sprint Cup sweep of Martinsville the week prior. The Texas double was Busch’s ninth Xfinity and Sprint Cup weekend sweep. The back-to-back NASCAR sweeps mark the first time it has been done in more than 25 years as Harry Gant swept both races in consecutive weekends in 1991 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway and Dover (Del.) International Speedway. In addition to Gant’s weekend sweeps, he was also riding a four-race win streak in Sprint Cup competition, in addition to the two wins in what is now called the Xfinity Series.


In the 32 Sprint Cup races Busch has started since returning from injury last May, he has won seven times, a stretch that also includes the 2015 Sprint Cup championship. Along with the seven wins, Busch has posted 18 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s and has led 1,255 laps. To go with his two wins thus far this season, Busch has posted top-five finishes in six of the first seven races. He finished the season in 2015 on a streak of four consecutive top-five finishes.


Not only is Busch winning everywhere as of late, another thing the “Candy Man” can do is win races in bunches at Northeast Tennessee’s “Thunder Valley,” site of Sunday’s Food City 500. Busch has five Sprint Cup wins at Bristol among his eight top-fives and 13 top-10s in 21 career starts. Amazingly enough, Busch won three of the four Sprint Cup races at the .533-mile short track in 2009 and 2010.

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 at the half-mile bullring has been impressive, to say the least. After bringing home finishes of eighth and second in 2006, Busch captured his first Bristol Sprint Cup win in March 2007. The track was resurfaced after that race and, from 2008 to 2011, nobody has been better at the concrete short track 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 is looking to recapture the magic from his four years of dominance there on the current surface.


So, as Busch goes for his sixth career Sprint Cup win at Bristol and third in a row this season Sunday afternoon, the “Candy Man” flying the yellow M&M’S colors certainly can add another Bristol trophy to the collection during what has already been an amazing season so.  The “Candy Man” Can. 


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