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.