Race Weekend Central

Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola Lead First Practice at Atlanta

One week after a heartbreaking crash derailed his hopes of winning the Daytona 500, Clint Bowyer tops the speed charts in Monster Energy Cup Series first practice from Atlanta Motor Speedway with a fast lap speed of 180.152 mph.

His Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Aric Almirola was second, followed by Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin inside the top five.

Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top 10. Only Hamlin and Jones completed runs of 10 laps or more, and Hamlin topped the 10-lap average with a speed of 175.497.

Some surprises in the session were Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott who were 28th and 29th respectively. Harvick, the defending race winner, was the only SHR driver to post a time outside the top 10 int he Friday session.

The 90-minute session started with many teams electing to run one or two laps in qualifying trim before switching over the race trim. This highly anticipated practice was essentially uneventful as most teams were figuring their setups out for the weekend.

The MENCS Fold of Honor Quik Trip 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway takes place Sunday Feb. 24 at 2:00 ET on Fox.

Practice 1 Results

About the author

Embarking on his first season with Frontstretch, Alex Timms brings forth a lifelong passion for all things NASCAR. Hailing from the beaches of Long Island, Alex serves as a freelance multimedia journalist and formerly interned at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and CBS Sports Radio. With his versatility across all digital media channels, you can catch Alex producing all types of visual content. Follow along on Twitter @AlexTimmsMedia.

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Bill B

The led qualifying too…. Almirola P1, Bowyer P2

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