HAMPTON, Ga. – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the first Sprint Cup pole of his career at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Stenhouse turned a lap of 189.688 mph Friday night on the 1.54 tri-oval. His previous best qualifying run was third at Kansas this season.
Carl Edwards, a teammate of Stenhouse at Roush Fenway Racing, was second-fastest at 189.021, giving him a starting spot on the outside of the front row for Sunday night’s race.
Juan Pablo Montoya (188.539) and Denny Hamlin (188.533) will start on the second row.
The rest of the top 10 is Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson.
Changes at Ganassi
Kyle Larson has been tapped to replace Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 42 car at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
EGR dumped Montoya after only two wins in eight Sprint Cup seasons. The former Indianapolis 500 winner and Formula One driver is 22nd in the Cup standings.
Larson, 21, ranks eighth in the Nationwide standings as a rookie. He has never competed in a Cup race.
IndyCar installs new pit rules after error
IndyCar has installed new rules involving drivers and the safety of pit crew members in the wake of Scott Dixon’s mishap at Sonoma last week.
Dixon was on his way to victory when he received a drive-through penalty with 15 laps to go for clipping a tire in the left hand of a member of Will Power’s crew. The incident occurred when Dixon’s Honda left his pit directly behind Power’s Chevrolet.
The rules instituted Friday define where pit crews should stand during the race.
As drivers prepared for the Grand Prix of Baltimore, IndyCar added point-of-reference courtesy zones to the outside edges of each pit box to aid in monitoring pit stop conduct. In addition, IndyCar added a rule that reinforces its pit stop code of conduct.
Brittany Force leads Top Fuel qualifying
NHRA rookie Brittany Force raced to the Top Fuel qualifying lead Friday in the U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Force, daughter of Funny Car star John Force, powered her 8,000-horsepower dragster to a 3.820-second run at 313.44 mph.
I’m so excited, and we’re definitely feeling good right now, Force said. My guys have worked so hard and we’ve certainly struggled and a had a lot of ups and downs this year, but to get this first (provisional) No. 1 I’m really excited about it. We’re fighting for our first win and hopefully we can do it at the biggest race of the year.
Bob Tasca III topped the Funny Car field, Allen Johnson had the Pro Stock lead and Matt Smith led in Pro Stock Motorcycle.