Mars Inc is leaving NASCAR after the 2022 season, it was reported earlier this month.
That means that a significant canine presence in stock car racing’s highest levels is also disappearing, as Pedigree dog food is one of the Mars Inc brands that often saw primary branding on the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry driven by Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Cup Series, in addition to the JGR Triple-A level Xfinity Series Toyota Supras and the Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundras in the Double-A level Truck Series.
Over the past decade, Pedigree and Royal Canin dog food have often appeared on the No. 4, No. 18, No. 46 and No. 51 KBM trucks, in addition to Banfield Pet Hospital.
M&M’s candy was the main primary on Busch’s No. 18 Cup Series ride, though Doublemint gum, Combos crackers, Skittles, Snickers and Twix also saw appearances.
Mars Inc leaving NASCAR after the 2022 season.
According to our FanSided Network sister site FoodSided, Mars Inc entered the NASCAR Cup Series in 1998 as Ernie Irvin drove the No. 36 Pontiac Grand Prix for MB2 Motorsports, and M&M’s took over the primary sponsorship the next season.
M&M’s went to Robert Yates Racing in 2003 with the No. 38 Ford Taurus, which was driven by Elliott Sadler and David Gilliland until M&M’s and Busch joined JGR in 2008.
David Gilliland and his son Todd later drove KBM trucks, often both with Pedigree yellow branding, and in those races where they were both entered Todd’s truck would have special Pedigree Puppy paint scheme, which was humorously appropriate.
(At one point Todd also accidentally ran over a fox in the middle of a race as well.)
While this news of a longtime presence is significantly disappointing for dog lovers among the racing community, drivers like Erik Jones, Alex Bowman and Chase Briscoe occasionally feature pet-related sponsors, as do Xfinity and Truck Series drivers in one-off appearances.
Daytona International Speedway kicks off the 2022 season February 18-20, stay tuned to our sister site Beyond the Flag for more racing news and opinions.