Almirola fastest in a.m., Kurt Busch tops in p.m. in Atlanta open test

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While rain washed out the scheduled Goodyear tire test Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Mother Nature cooperated during Thursday’s NASCAR open test at the 1.5-mile facility.

Six Sprint Cup drivers and soon-to-be Cup driver Chase Elliott took part in the session, which took place from 9 am to 5 pm ET.

There were two sessions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Drivers and teams worked on a number of different elements, including the low downforce package that NASCAR will mandate next season.

Aric Almirola was the fastest of the day, hitting 185.198 mph early in the morning session. Next fastest in the morning session was Rickey Stenhouse Jr. (184.989 mph), followed by Kurt Busch (184.951), Ryan Blaney (183.830), Joey Logano (183.755), Chase Elliott (181.281) and David Ragan, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, at 180.796 mph.

As temperatures rose, speeds dipped somewhat in the afternoon session. The elder Busch brother was fastest at 178.518 mph, followed by Logano (177.632 mph), Blaney (176.783), Elliott (176.062), Ragan (175.793), Almirola (175.205) and Stenhouse Jr. (174.842).

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