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Ethel M Chocolates Racing: Kyle Busch Las Vegas Advance

Born in Las Vegas

HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (March 1, 2022) – Kyle Busch is set to return to his hometown this weekend and another sweet piece of Las Vegas will be riding along with him once again.

For the second consecutive year, the craft chocolate division of Mars Wrigley – Henderson, Nevada-made Ethel M Chocolates – will be a primary sponsor of a NASCAR Cup Series car. The hometown duo has teamed up for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Ethel M Chocolates, maker of handcrafted chocolates in the Nevada desert, will serve as primary sponsor of Busch’s No. 18 Ethel M Chocolates Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).

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.

Busch is focused on getting back to victory lane at Las Vegas after crossing an all-important hometown win of his checklist in 2009 in just his fifth NASCAR Cup Series start at his hometown track. He’s just missed out on a few other Las Vegas wins since then. This weekend, Busch looks to bring home career Cup Series win No. 60 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 13 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 make an engine change 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. He 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 1.5-mile 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.

As he returns to Las Vegas this weekend, Busch is hoping the “Born in Las Vegas” connection will be just what he needs to celebrate along with Ethel M Chocolates, right at “home” in victory lane.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Ethel M Chocolates Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

How exciting is it to have Ethel M Chocolates on your car again on Sunday, especially with the Las Vegas connection?

“It’s always a big deal. I’ve been able to go out to the plant several times, now, and met with the associates there and I’ve really enjoyed it. I didn’t realize it until I visited the plant and the retail store that I had been to the cactus garden there before with my grandma. So it’s nice to have that memory of being there as a child with my grandma right next to the plant where they make Ethel M. I’m really looking forward to getting out there on Sunday and hoping we can get Ethel M a good run and go for the win. We had some issues at Fontana, so hopefully we have those corrected for this weekend and we have a shot to run up front and see what we can do from there.”

Being from Las Vegas, is there always more pressure to perform when you’re at that racetrack?

“Yeah, certainly, you always want to do well. I feel like I’ve won that race before and just the huge sense of relief that kind of comes off your shoulders when you’re able to do that and win at your home track. It was pretty awesome. Kurt (Busch) was just able to finally get it done a few years ago, so that was really awesome to see. I remember mine, I think it was 2009. It’s been a long time. Back at that time, it felt like winning the Daytona 500. I hadn’t won as many big races as I have now, or won as often as I have now. So a lot of guys look at the Daytona 500, everybody puts extra emphasis on the Daytona 500 because it is our sport’s biggest race, right? Then you’ve got the guys who all go to their home tracks, and those guys put extra emphasis on their home track and they want to do well there. So it’s just kind of that same philosophy, I think. It’s really cool to have Ethel M Chocolates on the car again this weekend and it would be a great weekend to be able to bring home another win there, not only for myself but everyone down the road at Ethel M.”

What does it mean to your family to race in Las Vegas again?

“It’s cool to be able to come back home and to have the notoriety, I guess, that we have now. When we went out there years ago, there were many other drivers who were way bigger than us and way more popular than us. Now that we’ve been here for a while and those other drivers aren’t there anymore, we’ve kind of upped ourselves on the ladder of that and it’s cool. One of these days, hopefully, there might be a road out there named after us, or a grandstand or something of that nature. Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves because that just means I get closer to retirement if they start doing that, I guess.”

What was it like to bring home a Cup Series win in your hometown in 2009?

“It was cool. To go out there and to run a smooth race and to have a shot at winning at the end of the race, that’s what it’s all about. I watched Vegas being built from the ground up, and I remember when it wasn’t anything but a gleam in the eye of Richie Clyne (founder of Las Vegas Motor Speedway) – all those guys who made that place happen.”

What is your fondest racing memory of growing up in Las Vegas?

“My fondest racing memory is probably my first Late Model race. I started about eighth or 10th and ended up winning it. My first-ever start, I won. So that is definitely a great memory to have.”

Event Overview:

● Event: Pennzoil 400 (Round 3 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 6
● Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
● Layout: 1.5-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 267 laps/400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 85 laps / Final Stage: 102 laps
● TV/Radio: FOX / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Meet the No. 18 Ethel M Chocolates / Joe Gibbs Racing Team

Primary Team Members:

Driver: Kyle Busch
Hometown: Las Vegas

Crew Chief: Ben Beshore
Hometown: York, Pennsylvania

Car Chief: Nate Bellows
Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont

Spotter: Tony Hirschman
Hometown: Northampton, Pennsylvania

Race Engineer: Seth Chavka
Hometown: Soldotna, Alaska

Race Engineer: Jaik Halpainy
Hometown: Blockville, New York

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Matt Tyrrell
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Front Tire Changer: Thomas Hatcher
Hometown: Middleburg, Florida

Jackman: Kellen Mills
Hometown: Mesa, Arizona

Tire Carrier: CJ Bailey

Hometown: Outer Banks, North Carolina

Rear Tire Changer: Lee Cunningham
Hometown: Leaf River, Illinois

Road Crew Members:

Engine Tuner: Dan Bajek
Hometown: Camden, New York

Truck Driver: Chris Miko
Hometown: Bronx, New York

Truck Driver: Mike Curtis
Hometown: Grandby, Connecticut

Mechanic/Tire Specialist: Justin Peiffer
Hometown: Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Mechanic: Scott Eldridge
Hometown: Warsaw, Indiana

Mechanic: Tony Hamm
Hometown: Walla, Walla, Washington

Notes of Interest:

● All in the Stats:Busch has one win, nine top-five finishes and 12 top-10s and has led a total of 262 laps in 21 career Cup Series starts at Las Vegas. Busch’s average Las Vegas finish is 11.5.

● Family Ties: Kurt Busch joined younger brother Kyle Busch as a winner at their hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway with his victory there in September of 2020. Other noteworthy brothers who have brought home Cup Series wins at their hometown tracks include Hueytown, Alabama, natives Bobby Allison (four wins) and Donnie Allison (two wins), who both brought home victories at their home track, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

● Looking Closer: The record books show Busch won the 2009 Shelby 427, his first win at his hometown track, from the pole. But, because of an engine change during the Friday practice session, Busch had to do it by starting at the rear of the field and storming to the front. It was an emotional win in the city where he grew up.

● Home Sweet Home: From 1999 to 2001, Busch earned more than 65 wins in Legends cars while racking up two track championships at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway “Bullring” before moving up to Late Model Stock cars. Winning seemed to come naturally no matter what Busch drove as he captured 10 victories in Late Model competition at the Bullring in 2001.

● Cap and Gown: Busch graduated with honors from Durango High School in Las Vegas – one year ahead of schedule.

● Drivers Training: In 2001, at age 16, Busch made his debut on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval with a solid ninth in the Orleans 350 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Just a few weeks later, Busch was about to make his first Truck Series start at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, but NASCAR officials were forced to pull him from the event because of a conflict between his age and the weekend’s open-wheel race that featured cigarette sponsorship. The unexpected ruling by NASCAR put new age limitations for competitors and sidelined Busch from NASCAR competition until his 18th birthday.

● Looking for Four: Busch went 17 years between Truck Series starts at Las Vegas, but his return to the series at his hometown track has been nothing sort of sensational. With changing schedules, the series started running on the same weekend as the Cup Series in 2018 and Busch has won all three of last four starts since his return to the series at the 1.5-mile oval. He’ll aim to bring home his fourth Truck Series win at his hometown track as he is entered in Friday night’s race in his No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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