When Martinsville (Va.) Speedway installed lights starting in late 2016 to be used for the 2017 season and beyond, track officials had aspirations to one day run a NASCAR Cup Series that started and ended under those lights. That vision became a reality in 2019 when it was announced that there would be a true night race in May of 2020.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans, and the race was postponed until the Cup Series got back to racing in 2020. While the inaugural night race originally scheduled for Saturday night, May 9, will now happen this Wednesday night, much like everything else in our world, it will be run under different circumstances than originally planned.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Fudge Brownie Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), heads to the .526-mile short track for 500 laps of racing in Wednesday night’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. He’s coming off a solid runner-up finish Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he notched his second consecutive top-five finish and his sixth top-five finish in the 10 races contested so far this season.
As for his record at paperclip-shaped half-mile oval, Busch has some impressive recent statistics. In his last nine starts there, Busch has two wins to go along with eight top-five finishes as the M&M’S Fudge Brownie driver is a staple at the front of the field at the Virginia short track. Martinsville was a much bigger challenge for Busch earlier in his career, especially during his early years racing under the JGR banner. In fact, Busch finished outside the top-10 in three of his first four races there with JGR in 2008 and 2009, but has come into his own there in recent years along with crew chief Adam Stevens.
Busch will no doubt shine bright under the lights with the scheme for the new M&M’S Fudge Brownie product adorning his No. 18 Toyota for the third time this season. The sharp, new look highlights the newest permanent addition to the M&M’S lineup. M&M’S Fudge Brownie is in stores now and features the fresh-out-the-oven brownie taste without the hassle of baking.
So as Busch and the rest of his NASCAR Cup Series competitors head to Martinsville for the third Wednesday night race of the season, the defending Series champion is hoping to be in the spot that will shine brightest after Martinsville’s first true night race – victory lane.