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Aric Almirola Leading Field to Green in Quaker State 400 at Atlanta

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver will lead the field to green in Sunday's Quaker State 400 at Atlanta, leading a sweep of the top-six spots for Ford Performance.


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In what has been a difficult season for Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR Cup Series qualifying from Atlanta Motor Speedway has provided a bit of a bright spot.

Aric Almirola, piloting the No. 10 Smithfield / IHOP Ford Mustang, was the benefactor of this positive profession for the organization, capturing his fifth career pole at NASCAR's top level.

The Tampa, Florida native posted the quickest time in the final round of single-car qualifying from the 1.5-mile superspeedway on Saturday, clocking in at 31.261 seconds (177.346mph).

For the second consecutive weekend, qualifying would come down to the wire, with Ryan Blaney, the final driver to take time in the second round, coming within 14 thousandths of the pole-winning time, earning him a second-place start in Sunday's event.

Chase Briscoe, a teammate to Almirola at Stewart-Haas Racing, will start Sunday's 400-mile contest from third place, while Joey Logano and Harrison Burton completed the top five.

Ford Performance once again showed its strength on the superspeedways in 2023, earning the top-six qualifying spots, with Kevin Harvick in sixth place.

Ty Gibbs, Kyle Larson, Todd Gilliland, and Austin Cindric completed the top-10 in qualifying, and will make up the first five rows in Sunday's starting grid.

Of note, the lowest starter for Ford Performance in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series event is JJ Yeley, driving the No. 15 for Rick Ware Racing, who will start in 24th.

Notables starting outside the top-10 for Sunday's Quaker State 400 include Brad Keselowski (11th), Tyler Reddick (12th), Denny Hamlin (14th), Martin Truex, Jr. (16th), Kyle Busch (22nd), Chase Elliott (23rd), Daniel Suarez (26th), Ross Chastain (30th), Christopher Bell (34th), and Alex Bowman (36th).

Bubba Wallace, driving the No. 23 for 23XI Racing, will start in last place on Sunday, after being the only driver that failed to post a lap in Saturday's qualifying session.

Image Courtesy of Craig White, Racing America

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