Aric Almirola wins Cup pole at Atlanta

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Aric Almirola qualified first for Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, earning the second pole of his Cup career.

Almirola posted a top speed of 181.473 mph to claim his first pole since the 2012 Coca-Cola 600. The pole speed last year was 184.652 mph.

He will be joined on the front row by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (181.473 mph).

“That was awesome, obviously the Ford Mustangs are really fast,” Almirola told Fox Sports 1. “It was cool to be the first guy to out the Ford Mustang on the pole. … We came here with a plan and we executed our plan right from off the truck. Our car’s got great speed. … We’re running wide open now so it’s getting more and more about the car in qualifying.”

The top five is completed by Clint Bowyer (180.410), Denny Hamlin (180.328) and Daniel Suarez (180.216).

Kyle Larson was the fastest Chevrolet driver, qualifying seventh.

Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, Erik Jones and Alex Bowman were the first four drivers who did not advance to the final round, which determines the top 12.

Defending race winner Kevin Harvick qualified 18th after experiencing  steering issues.

Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano failed to make it out of the first round and will start 26th and 27th respectively.

Logano’s run was hurt after he got loose in Turns 1 and 2.

“Just got loose down there trying to draft thinking that was the fastest way,” Logano told FS1. “(On the second run) I was going to run two (laps) and out of habit I shut it off because that’s what we do, run one lap typically.”

The same habit plagued Jimmie Johnson in the second round, but he was able to make another run and advance. He will start 11th.

Click here for the qualifying results.