Halloween is here and, as has been typical for Kyle Busch the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), the colorful candy maker will go racing with a special Halloween scheme Sunday afternoon at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway to celebrate Halloween the following day.
The spooky-looking M&M’S scheme will race Sunday at a place that used to challenge Busch earlier in his career and early on in his now almost nine-year tenure with JGR. In fact, Busch finished outside the top-10 in three out of his first four races with JGR in 2008 and 2009. By contrast, Busch has scored four top-five finishes in his last seven starts there, with his worst finish being 15th.
At the pinnacle of recent Martinsville success for Busch and the M&M’s team is the defending Sprint Cup champion’s first career win at the paperclip-shaped oval this past in April. Not only did he bring home his first Martinsville clock, he did it in dominating fashion, leading five times for a race-high 352 laps en route to victory lane.
With just four races left in the season, and with the series kicking off the Round of 8 of the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs at Martinsville this weekend, Busch knows a repeat performance from April could go a long way in his efforts to repeating as Sprint Cup champion for the M&M’S team. If Busch were to win Sunday at Martinsville, or at any of the following two events, he would guarantee a spot as one of the four drivers advancing to the winner-take-all finale Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway that will decide this year’s Sprint Cup champion.
All season long, Busch and his M&M’S Halloween team have not been ones to back down from a challenge. He was able to slip through the first two playoff rounds, most recently avoiding major trouble at Sunday’s Round of 12 elimination race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Now that he’s made it to the final eight, Busch feels he has just as good a shot as anyone to vie for his second Sprint Cup title.
So as the season heads into the homestretch, Busch and the M&M’S Halloween team know that when it comes to being championship eligible at Homestead, they’ll take the confidence built during the last several years at Martinsville. Since he has already conquered the .526-mile short track in southern Virginia once this year, Martinsville is not so spooky to Busch anymore.