An announcement came on Thursday morning that Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Kyle Busch had agreed to a multi-year contract extension that will keep the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion in one of that company’s Toyota race cars for the foreseeable future. Busch has won 47 races in the sport’s top division for JGR since joining that organization in 2008.
It was also announced that Mars, Inc. would continue to serve as a primary sponsor for the No. 18 team with its M&M’s brand candies as well as other products.
Prior to the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice for the Pennzoil 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday Busch spoke with reporters in the track’s media center. The 33-year-old driver pointed out that his relationship with team ownership was key to getting the new agreement completed.
“My relationship with Joe and J.D. and the family and everybody has grown a lot over the years and each and every year I feel like it gets better and better,” Busch explained. “With the time that I’ve been there since talking with them in the middle of 2007 to signing with them and being a driver for them in 2008 has certainly meant the most to my career. I feel like it’s been a lot of Joe and the team members at Joe Gibbs Racing as well too, the engineers, the fab people, and a lot of the guys that are familiar faces that love it there just as much as I do that don’t go anywhere.”
The racer who drove full-time in the Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports from 2005 to 2007 before joining JGR emphasizes that he feels at home with his current organization and with their partners.
“It’s all about relationships,” Busch declared. “I feel like the relationship with M&M’s has continued to get better and has grown over the years as well as Toyota. I’ve got a lot of friends there. With all of that, you never say never but I don’t know that you’d ever really see myself drive anything different other than a Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 M&M’s Toyota. Hopefully it can all stay that way and we know it’s going to stay that way in the future and I’m certainly looking forward to that.”
Busch re-signed with JGR a full year before his current contract was set to expire. He points out that he did not feel the need to test the waters of free agency.
“I didn’t go after anybody else,” Las Vegas native insisted. “They have a window in the deal that I’m restricted to them only in the negotiations. As we were going through the negotiations, they were very receptive and I was very receptive to all the things that we were looking for from one another so there was never a need to have that window expire to be able to go test the market.”
And again, Busch cited his relationship with Gibbs as a contributing factor in getting the deal done.
“I think that just tells you and shows you the belief and the truth that we have in one another in the relationship that we formulated over the years that myself and Joe can normally put our big-boy pants on and sit in a room and do a good deal. I think we did that. It’s a good deal.”
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
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