HAMPTON, Ga. — Aric Almirola gave the new Mustang its first pole of the NASCAR season in a Ford sweep of NASCAR Cup qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Almirola grew to become a lap at 181.472 mph Friday to take the pinnacle qualifying spot and deny Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer a slot on the front row. Bowyer turned into fastest in the lone exercise session of the day however slipped to third, at the back of Roush Fenway Racing driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. “It’s cool to be the primary man to place the Ford Mustang at the pole,” Almirola said. “It’s like my first one in seven years, too.” The pole is the second of Almirola’s profession, but first when you consider that 2012 at Charlotte Motor Speedway within the Coca-Cola 600. Ford turned into the heavy favorite to win remaining week’s Daytona 500 but changed into locked out of even a podium finish as Toyotas took all 3 of the spots. Denny Hamlin received the Daytona 500, and led two of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates throughout the end line for the sweep, and changed into the very best-qualifying Toyota driver at Atlanta in fourth. Daniel Suarez, some other SHR motive force, qualified 5th in a sturdy day for that camp. Only Kevin Harvick, the defending race winner, struggled but his problem turned into a steerage problem. He certified 18th. “Everybody at SHR is
constructing notable race automobiles, it doesn’t count what policies they throw at us,” Almirola said. “You supply four hundred sincerely gifted employees a challenge with a brand new race vehicle, with a Ford Mustang, and a new policies package deal from NASCAR and they just go to work. They placed their head down and go to work and determine out a way to make everything paintings to make the vehicles pass fast.” Kevin Harvick became the best SHR driving force no longer to improve to the very last round of qualifying. He struggled with a steerage trouble all afternoon and certified 18th, uncertain of what to anticipate of a competition package so one can be added in Sunday’s race. NASCAR has overhauled the guidelines package this season to sluggish the motors, bunch them together and create a greater competitive on-tune product, however due to the fact it is untested, Sunday is a thriller for maximum of the sphere. “Today has been a whole waste of time for us. The car won’t steer. It gained’t flip to the proper. We can’t discern out what is inaccurate with the guidance to make it move instantly,” Harvick said. • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Announced he’ll compete at Darlington Raceway’s Xfinity Series race on Aug. 31 in the course of the tune’s Southern 500 weekend. Earnhardt Jr. Retired from complete-time racing in 2017. He ran the Xfinity race at Richmond closing September and finished fourth.