While Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s involvement with NASCAR team sponsorship started all the way back in 1990, the beginnings of the M&M’S brand scheme fans see today with the core yellow M&M’S scheme started back in 2004, when the M&M’S lentils first fully adorned the No. 38 Robert Yates Racing machine.
As Kyle Busch heads back to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the annual “Throwback Weekend”, M&M'S will go back to the base of the scheme he’s taken to victory lane so many times during his 13-plus seasons driving the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
In this most unusual year, Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 will be the third NASCAR Cup Series race of 2020 at Darlington, where the series made its return from the 10-week layoff during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted its first two races back on May 17 and 20. Making this year’s Labor Day-weekend race at Darlington even more intriguing is that it’s the first time the historic, egg-shaped oval has kicked off the 16-driver, 10-race Cup Series playoffs.
Busch has conquered Darlington before, having brought home the Cup Series win at “The Track Too Tough To Tame” in May 2008. It earned him the distinction of being the youngest Cup Series winner – at 23 years of age – in the track’s storied history. Busch also has two NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at Darlington, coming in May 2011 and 2013.
From 1950 through 2003, the traditional Southern 500 at Darlington was held every Labor Day weekend. In 2004, the race was moved to the penultimate race of the season during the first year of NASCAR’s playoffs before it was moved to the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend from 2005 through 2014. In 2015, the race returned to its rightful and traditional spot on the calendar, and Sunday night’s race will mark the 60th time NASCAR’s top series will race in Darlington on Labor Day weekend, albeit it's first turn at kicking off the 10-race Cup Series playoffs.
So, as Busch returns to “The Lady in Black” for Sunday night’s 500-mile marathon, he and the M&M’S team look to bring home their second win in what many consider to be one of NASCAR’s crown jewel races. They’ll also take a trip down memory lane with a throwback scheme that takes them back to the original core yellow M&M’S scheme fans are very familiar with today.