Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

May 10, 2013

Kurt Busch turns record lap at Darlington

DARLINGTON, S.C. — 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 was the surprise winner at Darlington two years ago, Regan Smith holding on to bring victory to the single-car program and the only NASCAR operation based west of the Mississippi River, in Denver.

“To put it on the pole is a great surprise, but it’s also showing the strength of the team,” Busch said.

Busch joined with Craven earlier in the week to talk about their metal-swapping duel, where both crossed the line in a virtual tie while grinding on each other. Busch said he felt like a winner despite finishing second because he raced hard, clean and gave all he could in chasing victory.

“Maybe I’m on the way to winning by two-thousands of a second,” he said, grinning.

Busch was also stoked about his Indy Car session, where he turned laps in excess of 220 mph. “It was a kid in a candy store moment,” he said.

Busch has had five previous top-10 finishes at Darlington, the last coming when he took third in 2010. He remembered his first pole here, set in 2001 when he became the youngest driver in history to start up front at the Southern 500. Busch was young and brash and did not listen to veteran comments about how difficult the track “Too Tough To Tame” could be.

These days, Busch acknowledged how lucky he was to win that pole 12 years ago, doing about everything wrong on the way to surpassing Jeff Gordon for the top spot. “Just because of my stupidity, I got it,” he said.

The former NASCAR champion is much smarter these days, although he has plenty of talented colleagues right behind. Johnson, the Sprint Cup points leader, has won three times at Darlington and brother Kyle won this event in 2008. Also among the top 10 starters are past champions Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle and seven-time winner Gordon.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 16th fastest, while Danica Patrick had to go to a backup car after hitting the wall in practice and will start 40th for Saturday night’s race.

Kyle Busch joked with Johnson after qualifying that the five-time series champions’ second-place finish meant the Busch brothers’ mother — drivers’ moms typically accompany them during pre-race introductions — would have to walk across the stage twice instead with her boys on each arm.

“She’s happy I finished second,” Johnson jabbed with a smile.

Kurt Busch hopes he’s got a smile on his face Saturday night in Victory Lane. He says his Furniture Row team is feeling good, knowing how it won here two years back.

“They’ve just come in here with a lot of confidence,” he said.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Alco beats Northern Alco beats Northern

    CRESAPTOWN — Ashleigh Eisentrout knocked in four runs to lead Allegany to an 11-2 win over Northern in Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference action Wednesday at Carl Belt Field, marking the 200th victory in the Camper head coaching career of Rick Twigg.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Allegany blanks Bishop Walsh

    CUMBERLAND — Colton Sivic and Dylan Shockey doubled and singled, and four pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout to lead top-ranked Allegany to a 7-0 win over Bishop Walsh Wednesday at Al Martin Field.

    April 16, 2014

  • Christopher Newport tops FSU 2-1 on Nicely’s RBI

    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A.J. Nicely’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a tie game and lifted third-seeded Christopher Newport to a 2-1 victory over fourth-seeded Frostburg State in the opening round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament Wednesday afternoon.

    April 16, 2014

  • FSU rallies, defeats Saint Vincent, 15-13

    LATROBE, Pa. — Malory Brunett, Megan White and Ellie Garner combined to score nine goals as Frostburg State rallied for a 15-13 women’s lacrosse victory over Saint Vincent on Wednesday afternoon.

    April 16, 2014

  • Sports Roundup - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

  • Sports Calendar - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

  • Jets Chris Johnson Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

    NEW YORK — Always fast on the field, Chris Johnson is looking to quickly prove his critics wrong.
    The New York Jets signed the former Titans running back Wednesday, a little over a week after he was officially released by Tennessee.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wizards vs Celtics Wizards head to playoffs with win

    BOSTON — Bradley Beal scored 27 points and Washington clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 118-102 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Quick-strike Keyser turns back Fort Hill, 6-4

    Keyser scored four runs in the bottom of the second and concluded the game with a bang-bang double play to defeat Fort Hill Monday in an Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference game at Keyser.

    April 15, 2014

  • Thompson leads Petersburg’s victory

    Marley Thompson had two hits, including a leadoff home run, to lead Petersburg over Pendleton County 9-1 on Monday evening.

    April 15, 2014