Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, is nicknamed “Tricky Triangle” for a reason. The only three-turn track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit presents drivers and crew chiefs with the most unique setup challenges in their efforts to get their racecars to make it around the 2.5-mile circuit quickly and efficiently.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), heads into Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 NASCAR Cup Series race hoping that the return of the M&M’S Caramel scheme this week will be just what he needs to render the Tricky Triangle “unsquared,” just like he did a year ago this weekend.
After narrowly missing a victory at Pocono in June 2017, Busch returned in late July looking for his first Cup win in the Pocono Mountains. Not only did he bring home his first career Pocono Cup Series win, he did so with smart strategy by crew chief Adam Stevens and smart driving. With other top competitors coming to pit road earlier for fuel and tires during the last run of the race, Stevens elected to leave Busch out longer than the rest of the top cars. While others were faster on newer tires, Busch took advantage of a clean track to make up time, and when he was finally called to pit road, he had much fresher tires than his fellow competitors for the closing stages of the race, eventually driving by Kevin Harvick to bring home an impressive first Pocono victory.
Busch will find plenty of encouragement this week during his usual pre-Pocono visit to Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. headquarters in Hackettstown, New Jersey. There, the M&M’S Caramel driver will have the opportunity to meet with hundreds of Mars Wrigley associates, and many of those same associates will make the one-hour drive to Pocono Sunday to cheer for Busch and his M&M’S Caramel Toyota.
On the heels of Busch’s headquarters visit, this weekend’s race will mark another M&M’S Caramel scheme on the No. 18 Toyota. Debuting in stores last year, M&M’S Caramel was arguably the biggest innovation in M&M’S history as it took years to develop the technology and machines required to get the soft caramel ingredient into the signature hard candy shell. Gone are the days of the square-shaped, square-wrapped caramel candies with M&M’S updating one of the most popular flavors by covering soft caramel in a delicious, candy-coated shell. More than a year later, M&M’S Caramel has been so popular that customers have been picking it up at a rapid pace ever since its debut.
So, as the series heads back to the Pocono Mountains, Busch, crew chief Adam Stevens and the entire M&M’S Caramel team will hope to unsquare the triangle for the second time in as many years as teams head toward the end of summer and into the homestretch of NASCAR’s regular season.