M&M'SÂ® Chocolate Candies Names Gilliland Driver Of The ...
M&M'S® Chocolate Candies Names Gilliland Driver Of The #38
PARROTT RETURNS AS CREW CHIEF FOR #38 FORD
HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. (August 18, 2006) --- Masterfoods USA announced today that David Gilliland will be the new driver for its M&M'S® Chocolate Candies sponsored entry in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series effective immediately. Gilliland will be behind the wheel of the M&M'S #38 Ford for the remainder of the 2006 season and will compete full-time on the NEXTEL Cup circuit beginning in 2007, the first year of a three year agreement between the driver and Yates Racing. Todd Parrott returns as crew chief of the #38 this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
"We are proud to announce David as the driver for M&M'S Chocolate Candies," said William Clements, director of Sponsorships and Sports Marketing for Masterfoods USA. "NASCAR fans, like M&M'S consumers, are extremely loyal and passionate and we are excited to continue our partnership with the Yates family. Our 39,000 associates worldwide welcome David to the Mars, Incorporated family and look forward to seeing him behind the wheel of our colorful M&M'S Ford."
Gilliland, a native of Southern California, began his racing career on the West Coast stock car circuit as mechanic and crew chief for his father Butch, a championship driver in the NASCAR Winston West Series. Behind the wheel, Gilliland posted numerous wins in the NASCAR Southwest Tour, the Grand National West Series and the Toyota All-Star Showdown. This season he scored his first NASCAR Busch Series victory at Kentucky Speedway.
"To sign on as the new driver of the M&M'S Ford and to join forces with a championship winning organization is a dream come true," said Gilliland. "My goal has been to partner with a winning team in NASCAR's top division, but to drive one of the most colorful and most recognized cars in the sport is just amazing. I have to thank Doug Yates and all the associates at M&M'S for this opportunity and we all look forward to a long and successful relationship."
"It's great to welcome David to our organization," said Doug Yates, who will be listed as the team owner of the #38 beginning in 2007. "His track record is impressive and with his drive and dedication, he's a great fit for the M&M'S Team. We are also excited to have Todd Parrott return as the leader of the #38 Team. We believe his knowledge partnered with David's ability is the right combination to return our team to the front of the field."
Parrott joined Robert Yates Racing in 1995, serving as crew chief for driver Ernie Irvan, before joining forces with Dale Jarrett the following season. Over the past decade, Parrott has scored nearly 30 wins as a head wrench for RYR with multiple victories in the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. He also led the organization to its first series championship in 1999 with Jarrett behind the wheel.
"To come back to RYR is a very special opportunity for me," said Parrott. "This has been my home and it's an organization I helped to build. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with David. I believe we have a lot of great moments ahead of us and I look forward to putting the M&M'S Ford back into victory lane."
The 2007 season will mark the 14th season for Masterfoods USA as a primary sponsor in NASCAR's NEXTEL Cup Series and the fifth with the Yates family. The famous candy maker joined the NEXTEL Cup ranks in 1990, running its first three seasons under the SNICKERS® moniker. After serving as an associate sponsor for four seasons, the company returned with the SKITTLES® colors in 1997 before transitioning to M&M'S Brand Candies in 1999.