Kurt Busch Captures Pole in Darlington, Sets Track Record
Kurt Busch blistered the daunting Darlington Raceway oval Friday, setting a track record en route to claiming the No. 1 starting position for Saturday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 Sprint Cup Series race.
In Friday’s time trials at the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval, Busch’s No. 78 Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet SS posted a lap time and speed of 27.032 seconds at 181.918 miles per hour. The previous lap record of 181.254 mph was set by Kasey Kahne in 2011.
It was the 16th career pole for Busch, who won his first career pole at Darlington in September 2001. It was also the second career pole for Furniture Row Racing. The last time the Denver-based team took the No. 1 qualifying spot was in May 2008 at Talladega Superspeedway with driver Joe Nemechek.
“This is fantastic for the entire Furniture Row Racing organization,” said an elated Busch. “We’ve been knocking at the door both in qualifying and race day and today it came together. I sure hope this is an omen for tomorrow night. We have the resources to compete and it’s our job to get it done.
“I was real fast in (Turns) 1 and 2. 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 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.”
Busch added, “I sure hope all the men and women of the military — past and present — noticed Military Appreciation Night at All Furniture Row Stores on the hood of our car. The event takes place Friday May 17 at Furniture Row Stores nationwide. It’s going to be a grand event with free gifts, prizes and special pricing. The celebration is in observance of Armed Forces Day (May 18).”
Jimmie Johnson was second fastest qualifier with a speed of 180.974. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick.