HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – When Kyle Busch was approached by M&M’S to re-create scenes from the blockbuster movie Days of Thunder, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, he didn’t need any convincing that it was a great idea. Besides, the driver nicknamed Rowdy counts it among his all-time favorites, and he can recite line after line from the legendary NASCAR movie.
A new video series, which launches tomorrow (Thursday, July 9) at YouTube.com/MMSChocolate, stars Busch, his crew chief Adam Stevens, team owner Joe Gibbs, and Busch’s wife Samantha. Along with the re-creation of several scenes, M&M’S Crispy will launch behind-the-scenes footage with each participant.
Real life sometimes imitates art, and that could be the case for Busch and the M&M’S Crispy team with regard to the Days of Thunder storyline. Like Tom Cruise’s character in the movie, Busch has also recovered from injury this season to return to the M&M’S Crispy Toyota – just 82 days following his February accident at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. And, in impressive fashion, Busch raced his way back to victory lane in just his fifth event back in the car during an emotional afternoon two weekends ago at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
The M&M’S homage to Days of Thunder comes as Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Crispy Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), continues his comeback tour as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to one of his best tracks, statistically – Kentucky Speedway in Sparta – for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400. The Las Vegas native has quite the record at the racetrack that sits some 65 miles north and east of Louisville’s Churchill Downs, a legendary racing facility known for horsepower of an altogether different variety.
Busch has notched victories at Kentucky Speedway in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions – Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck. Add his 2003 ARCA series win at Kentucky and Busch has been victorious in four racing divisions and has made quite a Kentucky home of his own in the state’s second-most-famous victory lane.
In the inaugural Sprint Cup event at Kentucky in 2011, Busch proved his worth when he led six times for a race-high 125 laps to be the historic first winner in NASCAR’s top series in the state. He enters Saturday night’s race tied with teammate Matt Kenseth with a series-best average finish at Kentucky of 4.5, and he also leads the series in several statistical categories during the four races contested there thus far in NASCAR’s top division.
Busch’s winning history at Kentucky started way back at the ripe age of 18, when he dominated the 2003 ARCA race there while competing for Hendrick Motorsports. He led a race-high 91 laps en route to the victory.
He returned to the Bluegrass State the following year and found victory lane again, this time in his Xfinity Series debut at the 1.5-mile oval. In all, Busch has one win, five top-fives, and has led 423 laps in seven Xfinity Series starts there. He also won the 2011 and 2014 Truck Series races to give him five top-10 finishes and 310 laps led in four Truck Series starts at the speedway.
So as the Sprint Cup Series makes just its fifth appearance at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night, Busch will hope to channel the dramatic ending to Days of Thunder and return to victory lane – this time for the second career Sprint Cup win there.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Crispy Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
M&M’S Crispy is launching a Days of Thunder video series featuring yourself, Adam Stevens, your wife Samantha, and Coach Gibbs. Are you excited for everyone to see it and did you enjoy filming it?
“When M&M’S approached me with the idea of re-creating scenes from Days of Thunder, I was pretty pumped about it. I think anyone who knows me also knows it’s probably my favorite movie and I’m always reciting lines from it. We did the filming for this back in January, and I didn’t need to memorize a lot of the lines as I knew them already, although we had some fun with the mentions of M&M’S Crispy. I had to do a little bit of coaching with Adam since acting is not really his thing, but even he caught on the longer we went. I’m really looking forward to everyone seeing this since we had so much fun filming this. Days of Thunder was a summer blockbuster 25 years ago, so this is the perfect time to launch this for everyone to see. We just want to give a big thanks to everyone at M&M’S for putting this together. It was a lot of fun.”
How does it feel to know you’ll always be the inaugural Sprint Cup winner at Kentucky for the rest of your career?
“I think it’s cool. You look at some of the new venues we’ve been to over the years and Jeff Gordon got to win a number of inaugural races, like the Brickyard, Fontana, and Kansas. He was always the guy who was known to figure out places the fastest, but we were able to be the ones to do that at Kentucky. There aren’t many opportunities these days to go to a new venue so, for us, being able to win the first race there was extra special.”
Is Kentucky a special place for you?
“I love Kentucky. It was special there in 2011, when we were able to win the first Cup race there. I look forward to going back there every year. It’s a pretty challenging racetrack. It’s a place that lends itself to different kinds of setups because it’s so rough. Fast lap times at Kentucky come from momentum. The place is so round that there’s not a ton of banking compared to some other 1.5-milers. It’s all about how round the corners are and just being able to maintain corner speed and stay on the gas. We certainly think we have as good a shot as any to get back to victory lane there with our M&M’S Crispy Camry. It’s a place we get excited about for sure.”
What are the bumps like on the racetrack?
“The place certainly has a lot of character. It really depends on what your setup is in your race vehicle. You can help the bumps out, but you can also slow your car down by doing the same thing. You really have a fine balance there that you have to work on in making sure that you can get over the bumps well enough, but yet keep your car fast. It’s a trade back and forth there a little bit.”
- Krista K. Massey
Former Group Vice President, Director of Sponsorships and Event Marketing
SunTrust Banks, Inc.