What to get a guy for his birthday who seemingly has everything?
If that guy happens to be Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Pretzel Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) who is the owner of 29 first-place trophies in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition and 130 winner’s trophies in all among NASCAR’s top three series, the answer is quite simple – more trophies. And, perhaps a slice of birthday cake topped with M&M’s Pretzel?
Busch blows out the candles to celebrate his 29th birthday Friday and will hope to carry the celebration on to victory lane at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway as the winner of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499.
Even though his birthday doesn’t fall on race day this time around, Busch has won on his birthday before. He became only the second driver in Sprint Cup history to celebrate a victory on his birthday with a win at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on May 2, 2009, a feat first accomplished by Cale Yarborough – twice. Yarborough won on his March 27 birthday at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway in 1977 and at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1983. Since then, Busch’s JGR teammate Matt Kenseth equaled the feat as he won in 2013 on his March 10 birthday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
As for this weekend, Busch has conquered the mammoth Talladega oval just once in 18 career starts at the track, his lone win coming in April 2008. Busch has accumulated six other top-15 finishes at the track but also exited six outings early due to accidents. While last year’s bid for an Aaron’s 499 victory ended when he was involved in an accident, and resulted in a 37th-place finish, Busch has scored three top-five finishes in his last four races at Talladega.
Busch knows the winner of Sunday’s 500-mile race will not only need to have a strong car, but must be in the right place at the right time during the final laps on NASCAR’s longest track. So, if anyone is considering what to get Busch as a belated birthday gift, any help earning a second career Talladega trophy would be greatly appreciated. And having the M&M’s Pretzel colors to celebrate with in victory lane would make for one “salty” and “sweet” birthday weekend.