As happens so often in NASCAR when a team is in need of a sponsor, Kurt Busch set a new track record at Darlington Raceway during today’s qualifying session for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with a blistering speed of 181.918 m.p.h. in 27.03 seconds in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing/Serta Chevrolet SS. This marked his second pole at Darlington, and credited him as the 26th driver to score multiple poles on the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. He also won the top starting spot in 2001.
This Furniture Row car and these guys just have this confidence this weekend," said Busch after his pole winning run. “These guys, added-in with some of my stupidity of holding it wide-open through (Turn) 2, and gave us a pole and a track record. When you set a track record at a track, it’s something that you carry for a little while. So, it’s neat to dance with the Lady in Black today.
Busch set a fast speed of 181.918 mph around the historic 1.366-mile track, eclipsing Kasey Kahne's two-year-old record of 181.254. Fresh from an IndyCar test with Andretti Autosport at Indianapolis Motor Speedway a day earlier, Busch will start Saturday night's Bojangles' Southern 500 from the No. 1 starting spot in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.
Series leader Jimmie Johnson, the defending race winner here, will start second after a 180.874 mph lap in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. He broke up a potential all-Busch front row after Kyle Busch qualified third at 180.920 mph in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Kahne, Johnson's Hendrick teammate, was fourth-fastest and Martin Truex Jr. completed the top five.
Denny Hamlin, planning to compete in his first full race since suffering a back injury March 24 at Fontana, Calif., qualified sixth. Jeff Gordon, a seven-time Darlington winner scheduled to make his 700th Sprint Cup start Saturday night, was eighth fastest.
Rookie Danica Patrick, who was scheduled to take the track first in the qualifying order, went out mid-pack instead after the Stewart-Haas Racing team was delayed in preparing her No. 10 Chevrolet for the qualifying grid. She'll start 40th in the 43-car field in a back-up car after wrecking her primary car in the day's opening practice.
|1||Kurt Busch||78||Chevrolet||Furniture Row Racing-Serta||181.918||27.032||Leader|
|2||Jimmie Johnson||48||Chevrolet||Lowe's Emerald Green||180.974||27.173||-0.141|
|4||Kasey Kahne||5||Chevrolet||Time Warner Cable||180.741||27.208||-0.176|
|5||Martin Truex Jr||56||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||180.284||27.277||-0.245|
|6||Denny Hamlin||11||Toyota||Sport Clips||180.158||27.296||-0.264|
|7||Matt Kenseth||20||Toyota||The Home Depot / Husky||180.112||27.303||-0.271|
|8||Jeff Gordon||24||Chevrolet||Cromax Pro||180.105||27.304||-0.272|
|12||Juan Pablo Montoya||42||Chevrolet||Target||179.632||27.376||-0.344|
|13||Clint Bowyer||15||Toyota||RK Motors Charlotte||179.599||27.381||-0.349|
|14||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||17||Ford||Zest||179.514||27.394||-0.362|
|15||Paul Menard||27||Chevrolet||Menards / Pittsburgh Paints||179.468||27.401||-0.369|
|16||Dale Earnhardt Jr||88||Chevrolet||National Guard||179.409||27.410||-0.378|
|17||Carl Edwards||99||Ford||Geek Squad||179.004||27.472||-0.440|
|20||Tony Stewart||14||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1||178.750||27.511||-0.479|
|21||Ryan Newman||39||Chevrolet||Quicken Loans||178.497||27.550||-0.518|
|22||Mark Martin||55||Toyota||Aaron's Dream Machine||178.316||27.578||-0.546|
|23||Bobby Labonte||47||Toyota||Kingsford Charcoal Grill Out of Mom||178.219||27.593||-0.561|
|26||Brad Keselowski||2||Ford||Miller Lite||177.961||27.633||-0.601|
|27||Regan Smith||51||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction||177.948||27.635||-0.603|
|28||Travis Kvapil||93||Toyota||Burger King / Dr. Pepper||177.730||27.669||-0.637|
|29||David Gilliland||38||Ford||Long John Silver's||177.685||27.676||-0.644|
|31||David Ragan||34||Ford||Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts||177.646||27.682||-0.650|
|32||Landon Cassill||33||Chevrolet||Little JoesAutos.com||177.300||27.736||-0.704|
|33||David Reutimann||83||Toyota||Burger King / Dr. Pepper||177.051||27.775||-0.743|
|34||Josh Wise||35||Ford||MDS Transport||176.670||27.835||-0.803|
|35||Michael McDowell||98||Ford||Curb Records||176.657||27.837||-0.805|
|38||Mike Bliss||19||Chevrolet||Plinker Tactical||175.874||27.961||-0.929|
|39||David Stremme||30||Toyota||Swan Energy||175.748||27.981||-0.949|
|41||Timmy Hill||32||Ford||OXY Water||175.128||28.080||-1.048|