Anyone who has followed Kyle Busch’s NASCAR career knows he likes to make history.
So as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 25th annual Brickyard 400, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will look to add himself to an elite list of stock-car winners at the 2.5-mile oval.
After winning the 2015 and 2016 400-mile races at the historic oval, Busch become the second driver to win back-to-back Brickyard 400s at Indianapolis. The only other driver to do so, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2009.
There are relatively few winners of multiple Brickyard 400s to begin with in the race’s 24-year history. Just four drivers reside on that list, and Busch, who loves being a part of history, wants to add his name as the fifth driver to win at least three Cup Series races at the Brickyard. Busch hopes to one day catch five-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon, who scored his wins in 1994, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2014, and four-time winner Johnson, who brought home victories in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012. He’ll also look to best Indiana native Tony Stewart, who won in 2005 and 2007, and Dale Jarrett, who won in 1996 and 1999, in total victories at the Brickyard.
While Busch has an impressive 10 top-10 finishes in 13 starts at Indianapolis for an average finish of 10.9 – third among active drivers – he has always been a frontrunner there. But until he led the final 19 laps in his first Brickyard 400 victory in 2015 and a whopping 149 of the 170 laps in his 2016 victory, Busch had led just 42 laps there prior to 2015. In addition to his strong Cup Series record at Indianapolis, he also has three wins and four top-five finishes in the six Xfinity Series races he’s contested at Indianapolis.
This weekend’s Brickyard 400 also marks the final race of the regular season with the playoffs kicking off next weekend at Busch’s hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Along with looking for his seventh win of the season to tie Kevin Harvick for most this season, Busch hopes to seal the regular-season championship on Sunday, as he holds a 39-point lead on Harvick in the standings. The regular-season title means Busch would add 15 more playoff points to his current 35 bonus points this season, a total that can be carried throughout the playoffs.
Sunday’s race at Indianapolis also marks the final race of the season for the M&M’S Caramel scheme on the No. 18 Toyota. While Busch hopes to kiss the famed Yard of Bricks yet again Sunday afternoon – a tradition for the winning driver and his team at the century-old speedway – fans will be able to sample M&M’S Caramel in the infield display area as part of the “Have you tried M Yet” campaign. Fans who visit the display not only get a chance to try the popular M&M’S Caramel product, they can be a part of a one-of-kind experience with unique merchandise items available as well.
So it goes without saying, Busch would like nothing more than to enjoy the taste of M&M’S Caramel along with the taste of kissing the famous Yard of Bricks for a third time. While twice is nice, the third time would put him in elite company in stock-car history at Indianapolis.