Kurt Busch, usually good at Texas Motor Speedway, is positioned better than ever for Saturday's race there.
Busch took the pole position for the Sprint Cup Duck Commander 500 by edging defending series champion Kevin Harvick with a run of 193.847 miles per hour on the high-banked 1½-mile track Friday.
It's the second pole of the season for Busch, who also took the top qualifying spot in Fontana, Calif. But it's the first time he has taken the top qualifying spot in Texas, where he has three career top-10 finishes and one win.
Harvick will start on the front row in Texas for the first time after turning a lap of 193.722. Busch and Harvick, teammates with Stewart-Haas Racing, also started 1-2 in California.
Brad Keselowski qualified third at 193.195 mph, followed by Kasey Kahne.
"A pole's a pole," Busch said after taking the top spot for the 18th time in 511 career races. "We now have to settle in to 500 miles and to be there at the end of the race tomorrow night."
Busch missed the first three races after he was suspended two days before the season-opening Daytona 500 when a Delaware judge ruled he likely assaulted a girlfriend in September. He was reinstated after he was not charged.
For Keselowski, the No. 3 starting spot is a season high. He won in Fontana after qualifying eighth.
"You can always be a little bit better, but the 4 and the 41 have been fast week in and week out and they're fast here again," Keselowski said of Busch and Harvick.
U.S. player Keys reaches semis
Seventh-seeded Madison Keys advanced to the Family Circle Cup semifinals, winning a matchup of rising young Americans with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Lauren Davis in Charleston, S.C.
Keys, 20, won 11 of the last 13 games in a dominant showing over Davis, 21, who knocked out top-seeded Eugenie Bouchard on Wednesday.
Next Keys will play another surprise semifinalist, Lucie Hradecka, a qualifier from the Czech Republic who knocked out No. 4 seed Sara Errani 6-2, 6-4.
St. Louis stadium push builds
St. Louis took another step toward a new NFL stadium when the Regional Complex and Sports Authority filed a lawsuit asking a court to clarify whether the city of St. Louis can contribute tax money for a new NFL stadium without a public vote.
The lawsuit claims that a 2002 city ordinance is "overly broad, vague and ambiguous." It asks that a judge clarify whether plans for a new riverfront stadium can move forward without a vote by city residents.
The Rams play in the Edward Jones Dome, a stadium deemed inadequate by the team. Owner Stan Kroenke is part of a joint venture planning a new stadium in suburban Los Angeles, a move that could lead the Rams to leave St. Louis as early as next year if no new stadium plan is in place.
Saints sign Spencer away from Dallas
•The New Orleans Saints signed former Dallas player Anthony Spencer to a one-year contract. Spencer, a first-round draft choice by the Cowboys in 2007, has played linebacker and defensive end during eight NFL seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012.
U.S. official touts World Cup
U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati believes his sport could receive a big domestic boost from hosting the World Cup in 2026.
He also thinks scandal-plagued FIFA would benefit immensely from putting its biggest show back on steadier ground. Gulati made his remarks during a discussion about the growth of soccer at the IMG World Congress of Sports in Los Angeles. He sat on a panel with players Landon Donovan and Abby Wambach.
"It's probably now at least as important for the international community to be in the United States as it is for the United States, in terms of hosting the World Cup," Gulati said. "That's my honest belief. It's as important for the global game and everything we've been talking about today, and keeping that brand … where we would all like it to be."
Gulati said it's "inevitable" that the U.S. will host another World Cup at some point. The U.S. was disappointed that the 2022 bidding process led to Qatar.
AROUND THE HORN
Obituary: Former Florida coach and athletic director Ray Graves, who helped the Gators reach national prominence in the 1960s, died Friday in Tampa. He was 96. Florida went 70-31-4 in 10 seasons under Graves, including 9-1-1 in 1969. Graves spent the next 20 years as the school's athletic director.
Horse racing: Jack Milton stormed from outside entering the stretch and took his first Grade 1 win, the $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 5-year-old's best finishes in five Grade 1 starts had been thirds at Belmont Park and Arlington.