Less than a week after flipping through a Talladega early evening and turning laps in an IndyCar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the day before, Kurt Busch won the pole for Saturday night's Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington.
Busch's speed of 181.918 MPH knocked Jimmie Johnson off the top spot when Busch made his qualifying run late in the session. Johnson starts second while Kyle Busch is third.
Late in Sunday's race at Talladega, Busch's car was hit in the right rear quarterpanel and went airborne, turning over before landing on Ryan Newman's car. On Thursday, Busch drove an IndyCar for Andretti Autosport and registered a lap over 218 MPH. While Busch's session was essentially a version of IndyCar's Rookie Orientation Program and he was cleared by the sanctioning body, after running at Indy, Busch said that he didn't have the stamina to try to complete both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day this year.
It's Busch's first pole at Darlington since he started first in the fall race at the track in 2001, his rookie year. It's also the 10th anniversary of his incredible finish with Ricky Craven at the egg-shaped oval, when Craven and Busch banged fenders as they headed towards the finish line in a race that Craven won by inches. Busch hasn't won at Darlington, but Furniture Row Racing, Busch's team, won the 2011 Southern 500 when Regan Smith took home the checkered flag.
43 cars took a qualifying time after Brian Keselowski withdrew, so all who made a qualifying attempt made the race.