Kyle Busch is set to return to his hometown this weekend, but what makes Sunday afternoon different than the previous 19 times the Las Vegas native has raced in the NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is another sweet piece of Las Vegas will be riding along with him.
For the first time ever, the craft chocolate division of Mars Wrigley – Henderson, Nevada-made Ethel M Chocolates – will be a primary sponsor of a Cup Series car. The hometown duo has teamed up for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 as Ethel M Chocolates celebrates its 40th anniversary of making handcrafted chocolates in the desert and serves as primary sponsor of Busch’s No. 18 Ethel M Chocolates Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) this weekend.
To further commemorate Ethel M Chocolates’ 40th anniversary and celebrate its first foray into NASCAR, the brand will also be donating 40,000 meals to Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas, using its involvement in the race weekend to help those in the Las Vegas community who are most in need.
Ethel M Chocolates is a marquis offering, manufactured by Mars Wrigley North America and dedicated to creating premium chocolates with fresh ingredients and no artificial preservatives. 2021 marks the 40th Anniversary of Ethel M Chocolates, a momentous milestone for the brand.
For Busch, he is focused on getting back to victory lane at Las Vegas after crossing off an all-important hometown win in 2009 in just his fifth NASCAR Cup Series start at his hometown track and having just missed out on a few others since then. This weekend, Busch looks to bring home career Cup Series win No. 58 to add to his growing list of accomplishments.
The 2002 honors graduate of Durango High School in Las Vegas would like to double his number of Cup Series wins at the desert track after having brought home that emotional first win there 12 years ago.
Driving the yellow M&M’S Toyota that day, Busch qualified on the pole but was forced to start at the rear of the field because the team needed to change engines during Friday practice. Unfazed, Busch remained patient on race day as he and the M&M’S team worked their way to the front of the field by the 54th lap. Busch went on to lead three times for 51 laps en route to claiming what he called at the time the biggest win of his young career.
While Busch has NASCAR Xfinity Series wins in 2016 and 2019 and Camping World Truck Series wins in 2018, 2019, and 2020 to go with his 2009 Cup Series win on the intermediate oval, he already was no stranger to winning on Las Vegas Motor Speedway property. From 1999 to 2001, he earned more than 65 wins in Legends cars while racking up two track championships at the Bullring, which existed for several years before the NASCAR track was built. When Busch moved up to Late Models, his winning ways continued with 10 victories at the Bullring in 2001.
So as he returns to Las Vegas this weekend, Busch is hoping the “Born in Las Vegas” combination will be just what he needs to celebrate Ethel M Chocolates’ 40th anniversary in style right at “home” in victory lane.