Friday, September 21, 2007

Does Candy grow on Shrubs? Mars to Kyle Busch?

Silly Season continues to shock and amaze us! This week saw Kahne wearing the Bud crown, and JR getting AMPed with the National Guard.

Last night, a surprise hit the internet, with it all but confirmed that Mars will sponsor Kyle Busch!

I have known for some time that the Mars company had decided to leave Robert Yates Racing. The teams have not performed this year. Yates has been struggling with below standard equipment, and lack of engineering, and a lack of clear direction. Yates has made so many plans for the future, and we have watched them swimming in circles.

Yates and Mars apparently had a 3 year contract. Last year, after Yates lost both drivers, and one sponsor, Mars stepped up to sponsor a second car with Ricky Rudd in the seat. Mars has indeed paid for three years of sponsorship, two years on the 38 and one year on the 88. They have fulfilled their end of the deal, as far as I can tell.

I will be sad to see them leave Yates. From comments I have read, Robert will always respect the Mars family, and he is grateful for the support they have shown in the last year.

I had a deep and gnawing fear that my favorite candy company was going to take a step backwards and return to sponsoring Elliott Sadler. Elliott may still be popular, but his performance since transferring to Ray Evernham's stable has been less than spectacular. One Mars associate summed it up recently...."That guy didn't stay with us, why should we follow him?" I agree with that person.

That leads us back to Kyle Busch. I am still reeling in shock! Logic dictates that Kyle will provide Mars with some potential to win. Even with the change to Toyota, the Gibbs stable cannot be discounted on its quality of cars, drivers, and operations. Kyle is a helluva driver, one hungry to be on top, and he has the talent to get there.

However, the emotional side of me wants to shriek "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" I just can't see the Shrub wearing the Candy colors. I don't want the Candy driver to have ANY association with Tony Stewart. Hamlin I can handle, but Tony the Terrible is not an ideal team mate! Kyle is adored by the media, mainly because they can ALWAYS get a sound byte from him that makes headlines. Kyle will be giving his media handlers a headache, instead of a sugar high!

So, Mars, if this is true, I send congratulations! You have an awesome driver in your future, and I am sure there will be lots of wins! I hope the headaches will disappear as Kyle matures.

But, in the meantime, I will continue to support the current bearer of the Candy M. Next year, I am still going to be a Gilliland fan, and very proud of it!