Kurt Busch earns Sprint Cup pole at Darlington

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One day after experiencing an IZOD IndyCar Series machine for the first time at Indianapolis, Kurt Busch stepped back into his familiar stock car environment and nabbed the pole for tomorrow night’s Sprint Cup Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Busch took the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet to the top of the charts in qualifying with a track-record lap of 181.918 miles per hour around “The Lady in Black.” It was enough to push defending Southern 500 champion Jimmie Johnson (180.974 mph) to the outside of the front row.

“I was real fast in [Turns] 1 and 2,” said Busch, who earned his 16th career Cup pole and first since 2011 (Michigan). “Maybe I left a little bit on the table getting into [Turn] 3, but it didn’t feel that fast. And when it doesn’t, that means the car was stuck really well. So that’s just a tribute to these Furniture Row guys. The confidence they had coming here this weekend stems from the years ago when they won here with Regan Smith [in 2011].”

“All the changes we made in practice, all of them made sense. Sometimes we took a step back; sometimes we took a step forward. But we had a distinct definition on each of the changes. So the car has been feeling pretty good.”

Kyle Busch, who is on pole for tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington, qualified third in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (180.920 mph) and will be joined on the second row by Kasey Kahne (180.741 mph). Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin are in Row 3, followed by a fourth row of Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon (who is making his 700th career Cup start this weekend), and Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick rounding out the Top 10 starting spots.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will go off from 16th on Saturday night, Cup champ Brad Keselowski from 26th, Talladega winner David Ragan from 31st, and Danica Patrick from 40th in a backup car after crashing her primary Chevy in practice.

Continental Tire named exclusive provider for Red Bull Global Rallycross series

Image courtesy Continental Tire
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Red Bull Global Rallycross will have new rubber going forward in the 2018 season.

Continental Tire the Americas on Tuesday announced a multi-year partnership with GRC starting with the upcoming racing season.

Continental Tire will be the exclusive tire provider for Supercars, GRC Lites and Polaris RZR this season. Electric vehicles will be added to the mix starting in 2019.

“Continental Tire is an industry leader in technical tire development,” Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne said in a media release. “Their experience in developing tires that work in both pavement and non-pavement situations, as well as their ability to develop race tires for a wide variety of vehicles, tracks and circumstances make them the ideal partner.

“As the official tire supplier for the Red Bull GRC series, they will bring a new level of excellence and high performance to the events.”

This will be Continental Tire’s first foray into Red Bull GRC competition. The season opener is set for May 19-20 in Louisville, Kentucky.

GRC, Supercar and GRC Lites cars will use one compound while a second compound/tire will be developed for the Polaris RZR side-by-side class.

“We’re thrilled to add Global Rallycross to our motorsports portfolio,” said John DeSalle, president of Continental Tire Motorsports. “We’re looking forward to providing a tire that will give the fans the great racing they expect while also making it fun for the drivers.

“This series is action-packed and we can’t wait to get on track!”

The 2018 GRC season will be composed of 12 events across eight events and will be televised on NBC.