Why Are Mars (M&M’s) Breaking Their Historic NASCAR Partnership With Kyle Busch?

Published 12/20/2021, 5:23 PM EST
May 9, 2021; Darlington, South Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) races during the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


In a move that nobody saw coming, it is now confirmed that Mars Inc. will exit NASCAR. This also means that the brand and Joe Gibbs Racing will part ways at the end of the 2022 season. This will wrap up a three-decade partnership with NASCAR, making it one of the longest-running sponsorships.

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Now, for the coming season, the brand will celebrate its partnership with JGR all year long. Together, they have achieved a lot of success, including two Cup Series championships and several wins. The Mars brand linked up with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008. The most recent contract extension lasts until 2022, with Kyle Busch expected to run at least 25-30 primary races annually.

This deal was worth $20M annually, and it was a very fruitful one. Under the Mars umbrella, the #18 JGR led the most laps and won the most races compared to any sponsor/driver combination. Naturally, the outfit was sad to see their long-time partner exit the team and the sport as a whole. So, why are they breaking their contract with Kyle Busch and JGR?

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As quoted by JGR President, Dave Alpern, it is because it “wants to try some new things — and 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.” He added, “I don’t view it as a diminishing return or the deal wasn’t working; they just want to try some new things.”

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What next for Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch after Mars’ departure?

According to Alpern, the good news is that they have well over a year to find a replacement. One option could be Interstate Batteries, which recently penned a multi-year contract. Alpern insisted that the split is not because of a lack of a proper return for Mars. Instead, the company wishes to explore a new avenue.

Sep 26, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Although the company has mainly used the M&M’s brand in NASCAR, other brands have also been present. This includes the likes of Skittles candy and Pedigree dog food. On a more important note, Kyle Busch’s position at JGR is under no threat from Mars’ exit. One thing is for sure, the Joe Gibbs Racing team will cherish this final season and try to give them a good send-off.

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Dhruv George

12555 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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