Now in his 14th season as a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competitor, Kyle Busch has achieved numerous milestones during his time in NASCAR’s top series, not the least of which is his impressive number of 51 race wins.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS® Creamy Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is set to celebrate yet another milestone as the series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, as the 33-year old eyes his 500th Cup series start.
Ever focused on his number of wins as opposed to starts, Busch will try to parlay his 500th start into another win Sunday at a place where the winning began in 2008 with JGR, the SNICKERS® brand of Mars Inc., and Toyota. Back in 2008, his first year with JGR, Busch headed to Atlanta for the fourth Cup Series race of the season aiming to bring home the maiden victory for the team’s two new partners – Mars Wrigley Confectionary U.S. and Toyota. After leading a race-high 173 laps, the Las Vegas native broke through for the SNICKERS® brand and also for the first time in NASCAR’s top series for Toyota, which was in its second year of Cup Series competition and its first year with JGR.
The win also marked the end of a 147-race drought for JGR’s No. 18 team, and it was Busch’s first of 47 Cup Series wins for JGR to date. Busch now has 177 overall wins among NASCAR’s top three series driving Toyota vehicles – 47 in the Cup Series, 81 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and 46 in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Add his 21 wins prior to joining JGR at the beginning of 2008 and Busch is at 194 combined Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series wins overall, and counting.
Busch is no stranger to bringing home a victory during a milestone start. He scored the race win back in 2013 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth during his 300th career start, and he’ll hope to do the same on Sunday during start No. 500. If Busch is able to win Sunday, he would join some rare company as only the third driver in series history to win during his 500th start, joining Richard Petty, who did it in 1970, and Matt Kenseth, who did it in 2013.
To mark the occasion, Busch got a special surprise in Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway last weekend from his friends at Mars Wrigley Confectionary as William Clements and Tracey Massey presented him with a special silver SNICKERS-branded 500th helmet he’ll wear this weekend, and which he’ll cherish as a keepsake forever.
Speaking of SNICKERS®, Busch will be sporting the New Creamy SNICKERS® scheme, which replaces the signature crunch in a SNICKERS® Bar with three smooth nut butter varieties, including Almond Butter, Peanut Butter and Maple Almond Butter. The new Creamy SNICKERS® Bars feature everything fans love about SNICKERS® – gooey caramel and a milk chocolate coating – with the addition of freshly ground, creamy nut butters. They are available at stores nationwide.
So, as the Cup Series heads back to Atlanta, Busch and the SNICKERS® Creamy team will undoubtedly be feeling just a bit nostalgic with the SNICKERS® colors on the racecar as Busch is set to make his 500th career start, all the while recalling those 2008 and 2013 race wins at the 1.5-mile oval where their winning together began.