Kurt Busch set a new track record qualifying time of 27.032 seconds at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Friday for Saturday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track. Right after climbing out of the car, Busch wasn’t sure his time would hold up for the pole, but it did.
“There still may be a little time out there,” Busch said, soon after climbing out of his car. “Was really fast in (turns) one and two; may have lost a little getting into three.”
Busch will be joined on the front row by fellow-Chevrolet driver, Jimmie Johnson, who qualified second on Friday.
“Great lap,” Johnson said. “We had some frustration in qualifying trim in practice. Fortunately, we got that corrected.”
At the end of qualifying, Johnson was the only driver between brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch, as Kyle qualified third. After the session, Kyle Busch joked that by putting up a faster lap than him, Johnson ruined the perfect Mother’s Day gift.
Chevrolet and Toyota dominated qualifying, leaving only one spot for Ford. Greg Biffle was the only Ford representative in the top-10 at the end of qualifying, posting the ninth-fastest lap.
At one time during the session, Hendrick Motorsports was in command of the provisional front row, with Johnson on the provisional pole and Kahne in second. Kurt Busch then went out and posted a lap faster than both of them, and then Kyle Busch went out a little later and came between the teammates. Kahne wound up fourth.
Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top-five in qualifying. He’ll share the third row with Denny Hamlin, who qualified sixth for what is expected to be his first full race after returning from a back injury. Other top-10 qualifiers include Matt Kenseth in seventh, Jeff Gordon in eighth and Kevin Harvick in 10th.
Only 43 cars, the exact number required for a full race field in the Sprint Cup Series, made qualifying attemps, so all who made a lap during qualifying received spots on the starting grid for Saturday.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR