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M&M's drops NASCAR's Kyle Busch for last two races

The response to Kyle Busch's on-track retaliation escalated Thursday when candy maker M&M's said it barred Busch from driving the M&M's-sponsored Toyota for the last two races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

Busch1The next race is Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway followed by the season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway on Nov. 20.

M&M's, a division of Mars Inc., has been a primary sponsor of Busch's No. 18 car but the company said Busch would not drive the car again until next year with "the expectation that no future incident take place."

"Kyle’s recent actions are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of Mars," Debra A. Sandler, chief consumer officer for Mars Chocolate North America, said in a statement.

"While we do not condone Kyle’s recent actions, we do believe that he has shown remorse and has expressed a desire to change," she said. "We believe our decision will have a positive impact on Kyle and will help him return next season ready to win."

Busch's team, Joe Gibbs Racing, said another longtime sponsor of the team, Interstate Batteries, would be Busch's main sponsor for the last two races.

The incident occurred a week ago in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. After Busch and Ron Hornaday Jr. -- who was in contention to win the series title -- had bumped earlier in the race, Busch shoved Hornaday's truck hard into the wall during a caution period, a move Busch later acknowledged was retaliation.

NASCAR promptly took the rare step of barring Busch from driving in the Cup and Nationwide races in Texas that weekend, then fined him $50,000, placed him on probation for the rest of the year and warned Busch, 26, that he faced an "indefinite suspension" if he was too aggressive again. Busch later issued a public apology.

Team owner Joe Gibbs, the NFL Hall of Fame coach, said in a statement Thursday that "we strongly support Mars' decision" and that the move "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."

Gibbs said he and Busch also would hold a news conference on the matter Friday at the Phoenix raceway.

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--Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.

Photo: NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and his M&M's Toyota at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Oct. 28. Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images

 
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