AVONDALE, Ariz. – Kyle Busch will race in the final two Sprint Cup races of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing, albeit with a different look.
Busch's regular sponsor, M&M's, will not appear on his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway or next weekend at Homestead, Fla., the sponsor confirmed in a statement Thursday night.
Instead, Interstate Batteries, which sponsors Busch on a limited basis, will be on the No. 18 the next two races.
The decision comes after nearly a week of back-and-forth between JGR and sponsor M&M's over its continued participation with Busch in the Cup series this season.
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“While we do not condone Kyle’s recent actions, we do believe that he has shown remorse and has expressed a desire to change,” said Debra Sandler, chief consumer officer for Mars Chocolate North America.
“We believe our decision will have a positive impact on Kyle and will help him return next season ready to win.”
Busch missed last weekend's Nationwide and Cup series races at Texas Motor Speedway after he was parked by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday under caution during Friday's Truck series race.
After the incident, M&M's posted a statement on its Facebook page in response to several reader comments.
“The recent actions by Kyle Busch are not consistent with the values of M&M's and we're very disappointed. Like you, we hold those who represent our brand to a higher standard and we have expressed our concerns directly to Joe Gibbs Racing,” the statement said.
Earlier this week, NASCAR added a $50,000 fine and probation through Dec. 31 to Busch's punishment for the Texas incident.
Despite having NASCAR's permission to race, Busch still had to wait for his Cup series sponsor to decide its next move.
“We strongly support Mars’ decision,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “This gives us all time to work together to foster a positive change where Kyle can continue racing in a way we can all be proud of.”
Busch and Gibbs will address the changes at a news conference this morning at PIR.
In addition, Z-Line Designs, which planned to sponsor Busch in next weekend's Nationwide race, asked to have Busch's teammate at JGR, Denny Hamlin, drive the No. 18 car at Homestead, it was widely reported on Thursday.