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Gresham Tests for K&N Race

GREENVILLE, SC (March 17, 2011) – Max Gresham and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates turned in a overtime performance Wednesday in an effort to find the perfect chassis set-up for their upcoming NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season-opening event at Greenville Pickens Speedway.

The test at the venerable South Carolina half-mile oval was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but heavy rains washed out the session. Rescheduled for Wednesday, ‘weepers’ in the track surface delayed the start of testing until Noon and pushed back the end of the session to 8 p.m.

According to Gresham, the extra effort by his team over the two days all paid off in the end.

“We definitely saved the best for last,” said Gresham, who will pilot the No. 18 JGR Toyota in NASCAR K&N Pro Series action all season. “We worked all day to get the car handling good and while we gained on it, we never quite got it right. Then around 6:30, we went back to the original set up we started the day with and the car really came to life. We made a couple of changes after that and the car was almost perfect – very fast and fun to drive. We had some really great lap times and we were happy enough with the car to cover it up at 7:30, a full half hour before the test was over.”

Gresham wheeled an all-new, very sleek looking Toyota Camry Wednesday that was a part of the Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Nationwide stable last year. The test also proved to be a learning experience for 17-year-old Griffin, GA high school senior who won two NASCAR K&N events last season with JGR as this year’s team is populated with a whole new roster including crew chief Bryant Frazier.

“Working with Bryant today was really interesting,” Gresham stated of Fraizer, a long-time NASCAR racer. “He really listened to me and always immediately understood what I was feeling in the car. Bryant was also great at explaining every change he was making and why. His notes – especially his computer notes – were really impressive. He’s worked with a lot of great people for a long time and it showed. I really learned a lot from him in only one day. I just hope he learned a little back from me.”

Gresham, Frazier and the rest of the Joe Gibbs Racing crew will return to Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Saturday, March 26 for the 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series season opener.  After Wednesday’s test session, Gresham thinks he definitely has a chance to score his third NASCAR K&N Pro Series victory in just his 15th division start.

“The goal for me and this Joe Gibbs Racing team is to win every race we go to,” Gresham stated. “Greenville will be no different. The test today was very good for us. By the end of these past two days, everybody was very comfortable with each other. It felt like we were all brothers. I’m confident we’ll have a great car and a solid chance to win when we come back here to Greenville in a little over a week.”

A full photo gallery of Wednesday’s test at Greenville has been posted in the Images section ofwww.MaxGresham.com.

 

Before Gresham hits the track at Greenville on March 26, he’ll head to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for a NASCAR K&N Pro Series Pre-Season Press Conference. The event will be held in the Infield Media Center at BMS just prior to the start of Sunday’s Jeff Byrd 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup event.

“It was an honor to be invited,” said Gresham. “I’m looking forward to doing a Cup-style media event plus I’ll get to hang out with some of the JGR guys in the garage area and see the Cup race at Bristol. That sounds pretty good to me.”

The Saturday, March 26 NASCAR K&N race at Greenville is a one-day show with practice, qualifying and the race all held that day.

NASCARHomeTracks.com will feature live Internet radio broadcast of the NASCAR K&N Race at Greenville while SPEED television will show the race on a tape-delayed basis on Thursday, March 31 at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

For more information about Max Gresham, please access www.MaxGreshamRacing.com.

 

Bristol Sweep: Take 2. Kyle Busch Wins Again!

Last August Kyle Busch became the first NASCAR driver to ever a sweep a complete weekend with victories in all three of the sports’ national touring series events at Bristol Motor Speedway. His encore this weekend at the famed short track proved to be nearly as impressive, although with no Truck Series race on the schedule he had to settle for just two victories instead of three.

View 39 Photos from Sunday’s Event – Click Here

Busch, who captured Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday by leading 266 of the race’s 300 laps, would complete the sweep again with a strong first-place run in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Unfortunately the good fortune didn’t extend to his teammates as a late tire issue relegated Joey Logano to a 23rd-place finish and damage from an early wreck left Denny Hamlin with an ill-handling car and a 33rd-place finish.

Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota in the 12th position and was stellar from the outset yet again. Navigating his way to the front of the field Busch took the lead for the first time on lap 85. From there Busch spent the rest of the day inside the top-five and much of that was spent trading out of the lead position with Jimmie Johnson. As the leaders came down pit road for the final stop of the day late in the race, Busch was running in the second position, but the M&Ms crew put together a stellar stop to put him back out in front. Busch knew what to do from there as he would never relinquish the lead and went on to capture his first win of the 2011 season. In all he would lead seven times for 153 total laps.

Joey Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the 18th position and would report an apparent issue with his engine early in the race. Despite the problems he managed to race his way back inside the top 20 through the first third of the race and had entered the top 15 midway through the 500-lap affair. Logano continued to get stronger as the race went on and appeared set for a top-ten finish, but a problem with his right front tire following the day’s final pit stop would prove costly. The tire would give way with about 20 laps remaining and the trip to make repairs under green conditions would set him back several laps and leave him with a frustrating 23rd-place finish.

Hamlin qualified the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota in 25th position and found early misfortune on the tight confines of the half-mile track. With several cars wrecking in front of Hamlin on lap 28 he was unable to avoid contact and it caused damage to his No. 11 Camry. Although the FedEx team worked quickly to make repairs the damage affected the handle on the car and Hamlin was unable to keep it on the lead lap. Further diagnosis showed that the toe of his car had been knocked out causing an extremely loose race car and it was all Hamlin could do to keep the car on the track and out of trouble. He would ride it out to a 33rd-place finish 12 laps off the pace.

Carl Edwards finished second behind Busch, while Jimmie Johnson was third, Matt Kenseth fourth, and Paul Menard rounded out the top-five. There were 10 cautions for a total of 59 laps and 17 lead changes among eight different drivers over the course of the 500-lap race.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to the west coast next week at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on Sunday, March 27. The race will begin at 3 PM ET with live, high-definition coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 2:30 PM ET. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

Kyle Busch: 10,000+ Laps Led NW Series

It’s been seven months since Kyle Busch last visited Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and made NASCAR history by sweeping all three NASCAR national touring series races in a single weekend when he won the Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races last August.

And in his return to the .533-mile oval in Saturday’s Scotts EZ Seed 300 Nationwide Series race, Busch showed no let up. The driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) was as fast as ever, leading twice for a race-high 268 laps en route to his 45th career Nationwide Series victory.

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“It was all in the team,” said Busch, who started fifth but needed only 31 laps before he took the lead. “These guys gave me a great racecar. We unloaded yesterday and played around with a lot of different setups to see exactly what we wanted to put underneath this Z-Line Designs Camry and get it here to victory lane. It was a great effort by everybody.”

On lap 265 of the 300-lap race, Busch notched an impressive milestone – 10,000 laps led in Nationwide Series competition.

“Anytime you’re able to break any kind of series record with the likes of Sam Ard and all the guys who made this series what it is, it’s big,” Busch said. “Kevin Harvick in his heyday was really good, and that was just a couple years ago. Of course, Mark Martin in his time, and all the guys – (Larry) Pearson and (Tommy) Houston and all those boys. It’s cool and I enjoy it. There’s still plenty more time, hopefully, to make some more records.”

Busch now has 89 victories across NASCAR’s top three divisions (Sprint Cup – 19; Nationwide – 45; Camping World Truck – 25). He could add to that total again this weekend with a win in Sunday’s Jeff Byrd 500 Sprint Cup Series race.

“I wish there was more opportunities for this on Sunday,” said Busch, who has four Sprint Cup wins in 12 career starts at Bristol. “I know what these guys go through and what kind of stuff they do on a daily, let alone weekly, basis in order to keep these cars competitive week in and week out. It’s like J.D. (Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing) says, ‘If we’re not competitive and we’re not winning races, then we’re not going to be here very long.’ I feel like these guys thrive on success and getting to victory lane. I give all the credit to them, but I would say that for some reason the Nationwide cars just suit my style perfectly. I don’t know what it is. I’ve always been really good in the Nationwide cars, ever since I started. In my first race I finished second, and I’ve had a lot of great success over the years with Hendrick Motorsports and NEMCO Motorsports and now with Joe Gibbs Racing. All in all, it’s fun. Let’s go do some more.”

When Busch entered victory lane upon the completion of the Scotts EZ Seed 300, it marked his second Nationwide Series win of the season and his third at Bristol. He is now just five wins shy of breaking the all-time Nationwide Series win record of 49, currently held by Mark Martin, who won the previous Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas.

“You all keep making a big deal that Mark got one away from me, well I caught back up one today,” Busch told the assembled media in his post-win press conference. “There’s still a few more before I get there, but I’m sure he’s watching and we’re hunting him down.”

Busch’s JGR teammates – Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry, and Brian Scott, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry – finished fifth and 12th, respectively.

Finishing .524 of a second behind Busch in the runner-up spot was Kasey Kahne. Dale Earnhardt Jr., came home third, while Elliott Sadler and Logano rounded out the top-five. Harvick, Carl Edwards, Jason Leffler, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were eight caution periods for 46 laps, with 12 drivers failing to finish.

The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the March 26 Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., where Busch is the reigning champion. The race starts at 5:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at 5 p.m.

M&M'S/Mars Sweetens Deal with JGR; Extends Sponsorship.

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. (March 17, 2011) – Mars, Incorporated announced today that it is continuing its partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) through a new multi-year deal. The deal will extend the winning partnership that has brought the No. 18 Toyota to victory lane 14 times since 2008. The centerpiece of the partnership will continue to be the popular M&M’S® brand as the primary paint scheme on JGR’s No. 18 Toyota.

“From connecting with NASCAR fans to engaging our retail partners, our partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing has proved to be tremendously successful,” explained Debra A. Sandler, Chief Consumer Officer at Mars Chocolate North America. “We’re thrilled to extend this partnership and look forward to celebrating more wins both on and off the track.”

“Mars and its iconic brands are a big part of the Joe Gibbs Racing family and we’re excited to continue what has become a winning relationship,” added Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We are blessed through our relationship with Mars and the privilege to continue our partnership for years to come. Their brands have been a big part of our sport for a long time and we’re honored to carry them on the No. 18. Everyone at JGR is committed to ensuring they experience the type of success on and off the track deserving of such an outstanding company.”

“Our partnership has worked so well because everyone at Mars welcomed us from the very beginning and it’s grown from there.” said Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota for JGR. “This is great news for everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and our fans, but also shows how dedicated Mars is to our sport. We’ve really enjoyed our trips to victory lane with all of the Mars brands and we are committed to doing our part to continue a winning partnership and friendship.”

The multi-year partnership will continue the current level of Mars sponsorship of the No. 18 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the sport’s top series.

About Mars, Incorporated:
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the philosophy of a “mutuality of benefits” for all stakeholders – this vision serves as the foundation of the Mars, Incorporated we are today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $30 billion and six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 65,000 Associates worldwide are putting our Mars Principles in action every day to make a difference for people and the planet through our performance.

Mars brands include: Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Petcare – PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, SHEBA®, CESAR® and ROYAL CANIN®; Wrigley – ORBIT®, EXTRA®, STARBURST®, DOUBLEMINT® and SKITTLES®; Food – UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS® and SEEDS OF CHANGE®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA CO.™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience –SERAMIS®, CIRKU™ and COCOAVIA™.

For more information, please visit www.mars.com.