DARLINGTON, S.C. – Kurt Busch must have thought he was still at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
One day after exceeding 218 mph while testing an Indy car at Indianapolis, Busch set a track record during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway Friday afternoon.
Busch circled the 1.366-mile oval in 27.032 seconds at 181.198 mph to score the pole in his Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet. The previous track record, 181.254 mph, was set by Kasey Kahne in 2011.
“I flopped into a pole when I was a rookie. I didn’t know what I was doing in the Southern 500. They told me to hold it wide open, but they were kidding, but I did it anyway,” said Busch. “This time around very stable in (turns) one and two. This Furniture Row car, these guys just have this confidence this weekend.
“So these guys, added in with a some of my stupidity, holding it wide open through two, gave ourselves a pole and a track record. When you set a track record it is something you carry for a little while. It is neat to dance with the Lady in Black today,” Busch added.
It is Busch’s first pole since 2011.
Defending race winner and Sprint Cup championship leader Jimmie Johnson qualified second, followed by Kyle Busch, Kahne and Martin Truex Jr.
There were only 43 cars at the track on Friday, meaning everyone will start Saturday’s 500-mile event.