Mars to depart JGR after 2022 season, Busch’s status with the team luckily not affected

SBJ first reported the news that Mars will be leaving Joe Gibbs Racing at the conclusion of the upcoming season. That has since been confirmed by both the team and driver Kyle Busch, who issued a statement on his social media channels that the long time sponsor would be leaving.

Mars Inc has been with Busch since the 2008 season and is a partnership that’s one of the longest in the sport.

The SBJ report stated that the team found out last year that Mars wouldn’t be back for 2023 and have actively been searching for a new replacement since. This also doesn’t affect Busch’s contract or standing with the team however either. That’s great news in the sense that sponsorship dollars really make or break a drivers’ contract with a team. JGR is staying by Busch even with losing a major sponsor on his car.

This past October, Interstate Batteries announced that they had signed a contract extension with the team and will continue to serve as the official battery of Joe Gibbs Racing and as the primary sponsor on the NASCAR Cup Series No. 18 Toyota Camry driven by Busch for six races per season while adding support for a third generation of the Gibbs’ family, sponsoring three races with Ty Gibbs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

The extension then highlighted the successful partnership between Interstate Batteries and JGR.

“Norm and Tommy (Miller) really took a chance on us because we literally had nothing when we first went to see them. No race shop. No driver. No crew chief. It was just a dream on a sheet of paper,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “To have a successful partnership for more than three decades it first has to work for business, and I love that part of it. You have to prove value for your partners. But it is the relationships built over time that makes this so special. From Norm and Tommy to the leadership now of Scott (Miller), as well as Lain (Hancock) running operations. Of course, on our end, it’s been J.D. (Gibbs), and now it’s Coy (Gibbs), and of course we have the grandkids coming. When you reflect on all that has happened over the years and everyone that has been involved, I really think God had a role in bringing us together.”

Interstate Batteries has been a part of nearly every major moment in JGR history, including the organization’s first win when driver Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500 in 1993. Interstate Batteries was the primary sponsor on the No. 18 in 2000 when Bobby Labonte captured the organization’s first NASCAR Cup Series championship and continued to play a key role when Busch won JGR’s most recent championships in 2015 and 2019.

Together, Interstate Batteries and Joe Gibbs Racing have visited Victory Lane 32 total times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including twice with Jarrett (a Hall of Fame driver), 21 times with Bobby Labonte and nine times with Busch (current driver). In addition, Interstate Batteries and JGR have combined to win three NASCAR Xfinity Series races.

“We could not be more excited to continue our 30-plus year relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Norm Miller, chairman and owner of Interstate Batteries. “They have consistently been great partners in the battery business and ministry, so it just makes sense for us to all continue together. We are also hoping Kyle Busch and the No.18 Interstate Batteries/M&M’s team can win another NASCAR Cup championship in a few weeks!”

Said Interstate Batteries chief operating officer Lain Hancock: “The 30 years we’ve spent with JGR as a sponsor on the No.18 in the NASCAR Cup Series has helped establish trust, awareness and credibility for the Interstate Batteries brand with the pros who install our batteries. As we approach our 70th year in business, we are excited to partner with Coach Gibbs and Joe Gibbs Racing to write more history together in NASCAR and the automotive aftermarket.”

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