Kyle Busch at speed during Daytona 500 practice. (Toyota Racing photo)

Mars Inc. Set To Depart NASCAR, Joe Gibbs Racing

MCLEAN, Va. – Corporate giant Mars Inc., the parent company of M&M’s, is set to depart NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing at the conclusion of the upcoming season.

The news was first reported by Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal reported Monday.

It will end the brand’s three decades of sponsorship in NASCAR and, most notably, its 15-year run on Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, which has turned into one of the longest running partnerships in racing.

The company, along with its M&M’s brand, is also expected to spend next season celebrating its time in NASCAR.

Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, and Busch released statements to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass.

“One of the great things I love about NASCAR is the opportunity to build meaningful relationships,” Gibbs started. “Mars has been a tremendous example of that. We have experienced so much together over the past 15 years … while developing friendships that will extend well beyond next year. I know everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing feels that way and I’m glad we have the 2022 season to celebrate Mars and the contributions they have made to our sport over the past three decades.”

“I have been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to represent Mars for nearly 15 years now,” Busch started. “During this time, Mars Associates have been like family to myself, Samantha and Brexton. In particular, my friendship with the Mars family will be something that will last a lifetime. We have a relationship so much deeper than just having the honor of driving their colorful cars.

“I’m also proud that we’ve been able to bring them to victory lane 55 times in the Cup Seres, including two Cup Series championships. I know our 18 team will work as hard as ever to bring them to victory lane as many times as we can in 2022 and hopefully even another championship we can celebrate together.”

Mars has been a NASCAR sponsor since 2000 and a sponsor of Gibbs’ race team since ’08, producing two Cup Series titles with Busch at the wheel in that timespan. The brand first appeared in NASCAR in 1998 as Ernie Irvan’s primary sponsor.

Since its four-year extension with the team in 2019, Mars brands has served as a primary sponsor on Busch’s Cup car in 25 to 30 races.

Joe Gibbs Racing President Dave Alpern told Stern that the deal ending isn’t correlated to Mars not receiving a proper return and that Mars “wants to try some new things.”

“No matter how big a brand is, they have a finite budget, so when you want to try something new, it has to come from somewhere else,” Alpern divulged to Stern. “I don’t view it as a diminishing return or the deal wasn’t working; they just want to try some new things.”

Alpern said Busch’s position with Joe Gibbs Racing remains secure despite Mars leaving the team. Interstate Batteries recently extended its partnership with Gibbs for multiple years.

“Kyle is a huge part of our company and will be a huge part of our company,” Alpearn said

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