BRISTOL, Tenn. — Across the board, drivers marveled at the NASCAR Gen-6 cars after qualifying for Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
None more than Kyle Busch, the fastest of nine drivers to break the 15-second mark on their lap. Before Friday, only three drivers (Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon) had turned a Sprint Cup qualifying lap in less than 15 seconds.
''I like driving it,'' said Busch, whose first pole at Bristol was his 11th in Cup. "You can drive it a lot more like the older car we had years ago where you can abuse it a little bit.
Busch turned a lap of 129.535 mph (14.813 seconds) on the 0.533-mile oval to edge Newman's 2003 record (128.709).
Kasey Kahne (128.995) lines up second, followed by Denny Hamlin, who said he felt NASCAR disrespected him by not contacted him about the sanctioning body's fine. Hamlin was docked $25,000 for criticizing the car this month.
Back from suspension: Nationwide series driver Jeremy Clements was back at the track after a two-week suspension for using a racial slur, hopeful his lapse in judgment hasn't caused irreparable harm to his career. "I think everybody deserves a second chance," he said. "I hope it doesn't hurt. I don't know."
Formula One: Three-time reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel led practice for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Qualifying was held overnight.
Motorcycles: Cameron Beaubier earned the pole for today's Daytona 200 AMA Sportbike race at Daytona International Speedway with a lap of 1:49.612 on the 3.51-mile road course.