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Kurt Busch sets qualifying record with 3rd career pole at Darlington Raceway

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    Chris Sherwood, a crew member for Clint Bowyer's car, checks on tires for Saturday's NASCÅR Sprint Cup auto race, during practice in Darlington, S.C., Friday, May 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Mic Smith) (The Associated Press)

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    Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti, left, and NASCAR driver Kurt Busch wait for the start of a testing session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Thursday, May 9, 2013. Busch was driving an Indycar for the first time during the test. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) (The Associated Press)

Kurt Busch has set at Darlington Raceway record in earning the pole for the Southern 500.

Busch's lap of 181.918 mph Friday earned him his third career pole at Darlington and broke the two-year old mark of 181.254 mph held by Kasey Kahne. Defending champion Jimmie Johnson will start alongside Busch, followed by Kyle Busch, Kahne and Martin Truex Jr.

Kurt Busch got a strong start toward erasing an agonizing, 10-year-old memory at Darlington. He was second here in 2003 behind Ricky Craven by .002 seconds — the closest finish in Sprint Cup history since the series went to electronic timing in 1993.

The record lap came less than a week after Kurt Busch finished his race at Talladega by going airborne and landing on competitor Ryan Newman.