- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
Kurt Busch turns record lap at Darlington
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) - 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.
“Last week, we ended on our lid and this week, we’re here with a track record,” Busch said.
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.
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- House Democrats trying to force unemployment insurance vote
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Redskins bypass big splash - for now - as free agency period begins
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again