Busch earns pole at Darlington with record-setting lap

Kurt Busch ended up on top at Darlington Raceway a week after finishing upside-down at Talladega.

Five days ago, Busch went airborne near the end of the Aaron's 499 and crash landed on Ryan Newman.

On Friday, Busch sped around Darlington with a fast lap of 181.918 mph for his third career pole here. It surpassed the two-year-old mark of 181.254 mph held by Kasey Kahne.

"Last week, we ended on our lid and this week, we're here with a track record," Busch said.

Defending Southern 500 champion Jimmie Johnson will start alongside Busch, followed by Busch's younger brother Kyle, Kahne and Martin Truex Jr.

It's been quite a week for the elder Busch.

There was the frightening crash in the last Sprint Cup race, then an Indy Car test session for Michael Andretti at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday. It's also the 10-year anniversary of the thrilling, side-by-side duel with Ricky Craven in which Busch lost the race by .002 seconds - the closest finish in Sprint Cup since the series went to electronic timing in 1993.

"It's been surreal," Busch said. "It's been an amazing ride."

And it might not be finished. Busch's Furniture Row team were the surprise winners at Darlington two years ago, Regan Smith holding on to bring victory.

- Associated Press

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