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Kurt Busch: Wife Ashley is ‘perfect support’ for racing life

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While Kurt Busch had a busy offseason that included competing in the Race of Champions in Miami, his most memorable moment had nothing to with racing.

It came on Jan. 9 when Busch saw his wife, Ashley Van Metre, walking down the aisle during their wedding in Saint Barthélemy, a Caribbean island.

“Getting a little choked up,” Busch said while recounting the moment to NBC Sports during last month’s NASCAR Media Tour.

The newlyweds have publicly been together since February 2015 and Busch proposed in August 2015.

“Ever since the day that I met her, I knew that she was special and she’s been wonderful,” Busch said, adding the model “adapted so well” to life in the world of NASCAR thanks to being “a competitor herself.”

Ashley Busch, a native of Middleburg, Virginia, has played polo internationally for more than 14 years.

“Growing up, playing polo in fierce competitions across the world,” Busch said, “She knows how to travel, she knows competition and she’s so much of perfect support person for good racing days and bad racing days. She gets it all.

“We complete each other. Not just the sport side of it, but who we are as human beings.

“She’s so caring, so passionate and loving that I knew I needed to grow in some of those areas and she’s helped me to that and it’s been wonderful this season” Busch said.

While Busch’s competitor, Dale Earnhardt Jr., also was married recently, only Busch can say a singer named Steven Tyler performed at his.

Tyler made a surprise appearance during the Caribbean wedding. At first, Busch said his guests didn’t know they were being entertained by the genuine article.

“We wanted it as a surprise for everybody,” Busch said. “So we had a curtain in front of the stage area and when the curtain dropped everybody like, ‘Wow, that’s an awesome tribute band. They look great. No, no, he’s starting to sound like Steven Tyler.’

“About halfway through the first song people just rushed the stage and it turned into a full-on rock concert. It was a great feeling and it all came together through some of my connections with Monster Energy.”

Busch said the surprise concert originated from meeting the right people during a post-race tailgate at Talladega Superspeedway last year.

“You make a phone call on Monday and the next thing you know Steven Tyler says, ‘Yeah, I like NASCAR. Yeah, I like the Busch brothers. I’ll come out and do it’,” Busch said

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Kyle Busch wins pole for Truck Series race at Atlanta

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Kyle Busch won the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his second Truck Series pole at the track.

Driving his No 4. Toyota, Busch put down a top speed of 179.743 mph.

Matt Crafton qualified second with a speed of 179.220 mph.

“My lap was pretty good, certainly felt more stuck (to the track) the first time around than the second time around,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “We even picked up a little bit of time on that second one. … We were really, really tight here last year and made some good changes to it through the offseason with notes and things and coming back here better prepared.”

The top five is completed by Noah Gragson (179.214), Spencer Davis (178.862) and Justin Haley (178.775).

Gragson and Davis give Kyle Busch Motorsports three of the first four starting spots.

Johnny Sauter, who won last week at Daytona, will start ninth.

Busch’s pole is his second of the weekend. He also won the pole for Sunday’s Cup Series race.

The Active Pest Control 200 begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Christopher Bell on Xfinity pole at Atlanta

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HAMPTON, Georgia — Rookie Christopher Bell qualified first for Saturday’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a 181.176-mph lap in his No. 20 Toyota.

it’s the second pole in 10 starts for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

Joey Logano was second in his No. 22 Ford, followed by John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer and Kevin Harvick.

Click here for the Xfinity Series qualifying results and click here for the Xfinity lineup by row.

The Xfinity race will start at 2:16 p.m. ET, starting a doubleheader with the truck series at Atlanta.

Sunday’s Atlanta race moved to 1:06 p.m. ET start with threat of weather

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HAMPTON, Georgia – The threat of inclement weather has moved up the start of Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway by an hour.

NASCAR announced Saturday morning that the green flag will fall on the second race of the 2018 season at 1:06 p.m. ET.

Races become official after the second stage. The second stage of Sunday’s 500-mile race will end on Lap 170 of 325.

The wunderground.com site calls for an 80 percent chance of rain Sunday with the forecast worsening from 10 a.m.

Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson top list of drivers docked practice

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HAMPTON, Georgia — Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson both will be held during the final Cup Series practice Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Because his No. 78 Toyota failed to clear prequalifying inspection three times Friday, Truex will miss the final 30 minutes of the 80-minute session that will begin at noon ET. Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet will be out for the last 15 minutes because it failed the new Optical Scanning Station twice.

Harrison Rhodes also will miss 15 minutes for failing inspection twice. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Gray Gaulding Jr., Michael McDowell and Cole Whitt each will miss 15 minutes because they were late to qualifying inspection.

NASCAR changed its policy on how practice holds will be conducted this season. Instead of serving the penalty in the pits at the start of the session, drivers will park their cars for the length of the penalty up until the end of the session.