Kurt Busch Moves Furniture Row To The Front Row
Kurt Busch earned his first pole of the season when he had the fastest lap during Friday’s qualifying session for Saturday night’s Bojangles Southern 500 Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.
Busch’s lap in his Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet was at a track record 181.918 mph.
Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports was second fastest in the session and Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing will start third.
Rounding out the top five are Kasey Kahne, Johnson’s teammate, and Martin Truex Jr. of Michael Waltrip Racing.
“I was real fast in (Turns) 1 and 2,” Busch said. “Maybe I left a little bit on the table getting into (Turn) 3, but it didn’t feel that fast. And when it doesn’t, that means the car was stuck really well. So that’s just a tribute to these Furniture Row guys. The confidence they had coming here this weekend stems from the years ago when they won here with Regan Smith. All the changes we made in practice, all of them made sense. Sometimes we took a step back; sometimes we took a step forward. But we had a distinct definition on each of the changes. So the car has been feeling pretty good.”
Kahne was the 10th driver to make a qualifying run, and he held the top spot until Johnson, 26th out, knocked him off the provisional pole. Johnson stayed there until Busch smashed Kahne’s former track record by .099 seconds.
Busch won the first pole of his career at Darlington in 2001—almost by accident, as he tells it today. Busch also was part of the historic finish in 2003 where he raced side by side with Ricky Craven and was second to the stripe by .002 seconds.
“When I first came here as a rookie, you hear all of the Darlington urban legend about how tough this place is, how it was going to chew you up and spit you out, how you have to respect it,” Busch said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever, I’ve got this.’
“There were even jokes about how you were supposed to hold it wide open off Turn 2. That’s like a rookie hazing—if you try that, you’re supposed to wreck. I accidentally held it open off 2 and got the pole. I got lucky that day. I beat Jeff Gordon for the pole and, honestly, I never thought it was a pole-sitting lap. It was because of my stupidity that I got it.
“It was very sweet to get that first pole… Today is great, the 10-year anniversary with Ricky Craven and the battle that we had. This gives me a great shot to stay ahead of the field and win by two thousandths of a second this time.”
Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr., second and third in the standings, qualified 17th and 16th, respectively.
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