HAMPTON, Ga. – NASCAR’s new rules package will debut Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway with Aric Almirola leading the field to green.
Almirola won the pole Friday with a lap of 181.473 mph. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. starts second. Clint Bowyer is third, giving Ford the top three spots. Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and Daniel Suarez (Ford) complete the top five.
Tapered spacers will limit cars to 550 horsepower. A larger spoiler and other aero changes will increase downforce. The changes are intended to tighten the racing, but drivers note that the tire wear likely will spread the field out Sunday.
Some drivers didn’t have as good a day in qualifying. Kevin Harvick‘s car had steering issues and he qualified 18th. Team Penske’s drivers all will start outside the top 15: Brad Keselowski qualified 19th, Ryan Blaney 26th and reigning series champ Joey Logano 27th.
Kyle Busch will give up his sixth starting spot after going to a backup car. Busch wrecked early in Saturday’s final Cup practice.