NASCAR at Atlanta: Michael McDowell wins first career pole for Sunday's Cup Series race

Shane Connuck, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

HAMPTON, Ga. — Michael McDowell had the fastest car in qualifying, and Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be his first starting on the pole.

The NASCAR Cup Series veteran, a recent Daytona 500 winner, ran the lap in 30.999 seconds after being the last competitor to get on the track during the final round of Saturday’s qualifying session. McDowell will start on the front row alongside Joey Logano for the second straight week.

“Yes, it is for sure my first career pole in the Cup Series, and I’m proud of that, but at the same time, it’s more of a testament to my team,” said McDowell, who will make his 467th start as a Cup driver Sunday. “This qualifying session, you have to execute everything perfectly. But having a fast race car is what it’s all about, and I’m really proud of my guys.”

It’s the first pole for Front Row Motorsports in nearly a decade — since David Gilliland led the field to green at Daytona in July 2014.


Front Row, a Ford team, has a technical alliance with Team Penske and uses the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse. The new race cars looked fast at qualifying.

After McDowell and Logano, Front Row’s Todd Gilliland will start fourth, Penske’s Ryan Blaney sixth, RFK’s Chris Buescher seventh, Penske’s Austin Cindric eighth and Stewart-Haas’ Chase Briscoe ninth.

“I qualified fifth, Kyle Busch qualified third, so there’s two Chevys in the top five,” Kyle Larson said. “That’s an improvement on where we were last year. I was the only Chevy in the final round last year. It pays absolutely nothing to qualify on the pole in any of these races.”

©2024 The Charlotte Observer. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus