Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Chocolate Bar Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), has been on quite the roll during the early part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
While his series-high three wins and six top-five finishes in the nine races contested so far this season are impressive enough, Busch aims to extend his top-10 streak to start the season to 10 races as the series comes off the Easter off-weekend for Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Morgan Shepherd holds the record for most consecutive top-10 finishes to start a season when he scored top-10s in the first 11 races of 1990. Going back to last season, Busch has notched 11 top-10s in a row, a streak he hopes to continue this weekend.
While Busch and his No. 18 M&M’S Chocolate Bar team are capable of winning at any track, it will be a particular challenge for him this weekend at the mammoth, 2.66-mile Talladega oval, where he’s had a career of ups and downs. Compared to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, where he has eight Cup Series wins including one earlier this season, and Richmond, where he has six, Busch has won just once in 27 career starts at Talladega. His lone win came in April 2008, and he has accumulated 12 other top-15 finishes at the track but also exited five outings early due to accidents.
The M&M’S Chocolate Bar scheme on Busch’s No. 18 Toyota this weekend appears for the fourth time this season. The new permanent addition to the brand’s iconic candy lineup will be highlighted Sunday as Busch looks to continue an impressive showing in M&M’S Chocolate Bar Camry livery, having already notched a runner-up finish at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and third-place finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The M&M’S Chocolate Bar consists of smooth milk chocolate with whole M&M’S® Minis visible in a large bar, and it’s available nationwide in five flavors: Peanut, Milk Chocolate, Crispy, Almond and Crispy Mint.
So as Busch heads to Talladega this weekend, he would like nothing more than to keep his top-10 streak alive. But, in order to do so, he’ll have to somehow stay out of the inevitable multicar Talladega accident and be running at the end to put himself in position to continue one of the best starts to a season in his Cup Series career.