- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2011

GAINESVILLE, FLA. (AP) - Kurt Busch’s professional drag-racing career is off to a slow start _ really slow.

Busch botched both qualifying passes on Friday at the NHRA Gatornationals, leaving him little room for error heading into his final two runs on Saturday.

The 2004 NASCAR champion smoked his tires on the first run and covered the quarter-mile strip in 18.334 seconds _ 20th out of 21 competitors. His second attempt was even worse. Busch failed to “stage” his dragster within the 7-second time limit and was essentially black flagged. Officially, he “timed out,” and his run did not count.

Although Busch expressed confidence this week after strong practice sessions, he also said he expected a “full dose of humble pie” in his professional debut..

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