DARLINGTON, S.C., May 10 (UPI) -- Kurt Busch
set a qualifying record at Darlington Raceway Friday and captured the pole for Saturday's Southern 500.
Busch was clocked at 181.918 miles per hour for a lap around the 1.366-mile track, eclipsing the previous record of 181.254 mph established by Kasey Kahne two years ago.
It was the 16th Sprint Cup series pole for Busch, but his first in almost 2 years. He won the pole at Darlington for a race n 2001 when he was 23.
His effort came one day after he took part in a rookie orientation for this year's Indianapolis 500. Busch has left open the possibility of one day driving in both the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR 600-mile race held on the same day in Charlotte, N.C.
Busch has said, however, he will not attempt that feat this year.
Jimmie Johnson, defending Southern 500 champion, qualified second while Kyle Busch, Kahne and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the first five.
They were followed by Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick. Gordon will be making the 700th start of his Sprint Cup career.
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