After teammate Clint Bowyer led opening practice and the first two rounds of qualifying, Aric Almirola took the Busch Pole Award at the end of the day. It was his 2nd career pole and his first since 2012 when he was with Richard Petty Motorsports. Joining him on the front row is a fellow blue oval in Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who won the pole at Atlanta back in his rookie season in 2013.
Bowyer ended up qualifying 3rd after a near mishap to start the final round. When the track went green to start the 5-minute session, both the #14 of Bowyer and the #3 of Austin Dillon rolled off pit road. While Dillon was slowly picking up speed, Bowyer built his momentum early and intended to fly by. Normally, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but Dillon was either trying to block or didn’t know the #14 was coming as he pinched Bowyer next to the inside pit wall. Luckily, there was no incident. But a close call, nonetheless.
A notable appearance in the final round was Michael McDowell in his Front Row Motorsports Ford Mustang. At the end of the second round, he was ahead of many big names advancing including both Busch brothers. His speed didn’t hold in the final round though as McDowell qualified 12th. Each round eliminated a different FRM car; Matt Tifft was eliminated in Round 1 and qualified 31st and David Ragan qualified 23rd after being eliminated in Round 2.
Some more on Tifft, his car chief was ejected from the infield for the weekend after failing pre-qualifying inspection twice. The car chief of the #52 for B.J. McLeod was also ejected for the same reason. Both teams will also have 15 minutes deducted from the end of their final practice session.
Ford held 4 of the Top-5 qualifying positions but not all Fords were fast on Friday. All three Team Penske cars struggled to find speed, including Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney who were eliminated after the first Round. Brad Keselowski advanced but qualified back in 19th. Another Ford that experienced issues was Kevin Harvick. He had limited practice earlier in the day due to a power steering issue that lingered into qualifying and relegated him to an 18th qualifying position. The team is continuing to address and work on the issue.
The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will be on Sunday, February 24 at 2:00pm on FOX.
|2||6||18||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||30.727||180.428|
|9||11||17||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||30.852||179.697|