With 16 NASCAR Cup Series points-paying races in the books and just 10 races to go before the playoffs start, it’s time for the annual NASCAR All-Star Race break. And as is the case with a handful of new venues scattered throughout the 2021 schedule, the Cup Series heads to yet another “new” venue for this year’s All-Star Race – new by virtue of the fact Sunday night’s 36th edition of the event will be held at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for the first time.
The inaugural All-Star Race was held at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in 1985. It moved to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the 1986 edition before moving back to Charlotte in 1987, where it was held for the next 33 seasons before moving to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for the 2020 edition. Texas now becomes the fourth All-Star Race venue.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Never Stop Summering Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), heads back to Texas as the most recent race winner there after bringing home a points-paying win there last October. Busch led a race-high 90 laps and saved enough fuel to hold off JGR teammate Martin Truex Jr. It extended his streak of consecutive seasons with at least one points-paying Cup Series victory to 16, and it brought Texas win total to four career victories.
Busch locked in his spot for Sunday night’s main event – comprised primarily of 2020 and 2021 Cup Series race winners, plus past All-Star Race winners and past series champions – via his aforementioned win at Texas last fall, and his May 2 win at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The Las Vegas native not only has earned the title of All-Star, he has recorded 217 career wins in NASCAR’s top three divisions and sits tied with Kevin Harvick for ninth on the all-time Cup Series wins list with 58. The two-time Cup Series champion brought home his first All-Star Race victory in 2017 at Charlotte and hopes to add another at Texas this weekend.
With the Cup Series summer swing well underway, Busch’s No. 18 Toyota will feature a special summer-themed paint scheme for Mars Wrigley’s latest Never Stop Summering promotion. With the Mars Wrigley brands come better moments and more smiles, and summer fun creates some of the best moments. Fans can check out the Never Stop Summering Instant Win Game promotion, which is open from now until Aug. 31 with thousands of prizes up for grabs, including M&M’S Racing diecasts, camping and barbecue gear, and more. Codes can be found on packs of Mars Wrigley favorites, including M&M’S, at retailers across the country. Fans can visit www.neverstopsummering.com to enter their code.
So as Busch heads back to Texas for the first-ever All-Star Race in the Lone Star State, he’ll look to bring home his second-ever All-Star Race victory, along with the traditional Texas victory lane cowboy hat, as the start of summer heats things up.
|KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Never Stop Summering Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:|
|What about the All-Star Race makes it so special for you? “I think it’s just all about the money on the line. First off, we are excited to have the new M&M’S Never Stop Summering on the car. Fans can grab a pack of M&M’S and then head to NeverStopSummering.com to enter to win some cool stuff. As far as the race goes, there’s a completely different set of how the race is going to unfold and things like that, but you essentially still have your stages, but they are mostly shorter. Other than that, it’s just about trying to go out there and win that million dollars and bring home a check or bring home a steering wheel, I guess.”|
What does it mean to be a part of the All-Star Race in this sport? “It matters, especially with who your fellow competitors are. For us, being an all-star and being in the All-Star Race is one of the most fun things we get to do each year. I’d say the Clash is another one of those and, with the All-Star Race, they are certainly two fun races where we get a chance to go after just a win and bring home the checkers or end up on the wrecker. It’s an exciting night and there’s a lot of energy there. It gives you the opportunity to run that many qualifying laps in a row. That’s all you’re doing – you’re giving it all you’ve got every single lap. You’re definitely up on top of the wheel and your guys do the best they can to give you a good car and to make it as lightweight as possible and throw away the air conditioning unit and keep all the front fans away from you – no radiator fan. All that stuff, just try to lighten that baby up and make it fast.”
What driving style does it take to succeed in the All-Star Race? “I think just being aggressive and knowing when to be aggressive and how to be aggressive is the biggest thing. It’s a race where you have to get to the front and you have to get out there and get yourself, more importantly, in clean air in order to keep yourself out front and on your own.”
What drivers do you think are best suited for the All-Star Race? “We haven’t qualified too much these last two seasons, but you look at the guys who historically are better in qualifying. I think qualifying well can always lend itself to racing the All-Star Race well because you’re running however many laps that segment is, which are usually short, and you’re running that many qualifying laps in a row. You’re just trying to get the most you can out of your car there. It’s sometimes hard to pass because the guy in front of you is trying to get the most out of his car and so are you, so you just can’t get there.”
|● Event: NASCAR All-Star Race|
● Time/Date: 8 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 13
● Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
● Layout: 1.5-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 100 laps/150 miles
● Format: Rounds 1-4: 15 laps / Round 5: 30 laps / Round 6: 10 laps
● TV/Radio: FS1 / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio