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Kurt Busch wins Southern 500 pole with track record

May 10, 2013, Staff report,

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DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Kurt Busch dusted the field in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying Friday, storming to a blistering track-record lap at Darlington Raceway.

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.


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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.


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