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Kurt Busch fires up feud with Newman

Kurt Busch thought he and Ryan Newman were friends. He's learned the hard way this week that he was mistaken.

Maybe that's how it goes between drivers looking to lock down jobs for next year?

Busch is once again in the starring role as NASCAR's resident villain, this time for a series of incidents involving Newman and his team last week at Darlington Raceway. It's led to a series of scathing remarks from Newman, who has accused Busch in various interviews of having a "chemical imbalance" and lying about why he ran into the back of Newman's car after Saturday night's race.

On Friday, Busch offered his version of events for the first time. He seemed agitated about the entire episode, and characterized it as the kind of "WWE-type action" that fans enjoy.

"This is good for our sport. This is WWE-type action," Busch said, snapping at reporters gathered behind his team hauler at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "This is fun. This is entertainment, right guys?"

The drama comes as NASCAR heads into tonight's Sprint All-Star race, which is traditionally billed as a no-holds-barred event with nothing more at stake than the $1 million prize.

Busch goes into the event fresh off a $50,000 fine he received Tuesday for what NASCAR said was reckless driving on pit road at Darlington and a post-race incident with Newman's crew members.

It all began when a flat tire caused Busch to wreck with six laps remaining in the race. Newman, who was running behind Busch at the time, also spun as traffic stacked up trying to avoid Busch.

Busch then headed to pit road, and in his desire to not go a lap down, apparently sped through Newman's pit stall. Some of Newman's crew members were over the wall at the time, and complained they could have been hurt.

Busch insisted Friday no one was in danger. After the race, Busch ran into the back of Newman's parked car, but said he was taking his helmet off at the time and didn't see Newman's car.

He was greeted on pit road by several angry crew members, which led to yelling and slight shoving.

In addition to the fine against Busch, NASCAR also placed Newman crew chief Tony Gibson on probation through June 27 for failing to control his team, and crew member Andrew Rueger was fined $5,000 and placed on probation for failing to comply with a directive from a NASCAR official.

Kyle Busch, meanwhile, captured the pole for the All-Star race for the second straight year.

Busch completed the unique three-lap qualifying that included a mandatory four-tire pit stop in 1 minute, 19.11 seconds. He was the last qualifier on the track and knocked Newman to the outside of the front row.

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Fast start for Andretti

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marco Andretti is taking advantage of an IndyCar power boost.

The 24-year-old American turned the first 226 mph lap this week at Indianapolis, then outdid himself with the only 227 mph of the week -- making him one of the favorites to the Indianapolis 500 pole.

Andretti posted a fast lap of 227.540 on Friday, the final full day of practice before qualifications begin today.

Ryan Briscoe and three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves, teammates on Roger Penske's team, were second and third. Briscoe went 226.835 while Castroneves went 226.716.

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