McDowell will share the front row with fellow Ford driver Joey Logano for the second consecutive week but this time it’s McDowell who will lead the field to green.

The last of 10 cars to qualify in the final round of Saturday’s qualifying session, McDowell bolted to the top of the scoring pylon with an average lap speed of 178.844 mph.

McDowell just edged Logano (178.424 mph), who won the pole for last weekend’s season-opening Daytona 500.

The pole is the first of McDowell’s career and comes in his 467th start.

“That’s awesome,” McDowell said. “I’m just very proud of all the men and women at Front Row Motorsports. Two weeks in a row we’ve gotten on the front row. We’ve got a really fast Ford Mustang.

“That was a good lap but it really comes down to the team and execution. They’ve done a really good job. Now, we need to get back that up with a really good job tomorrow.”

Kyle Busch ended up third quick (178.235 mph – and the top Chevrolet driver – while McDowell’s FRM teammate Todd Gilliland was fourth and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.

Completing the top 10 starting lineup are Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe and Austin Dillon.

In all, Fords claimed seven of the top 10 spots while Toyota failed to advance any driver to the final round.

Round 1

As they did in single car qualifying at Daytona, Fords led the way to kick off the first round at Atlanta with McDowell posting the fastest average lap speed at 177.806 mph.

Fellow Ford drivers Logano (177.658 mph) and Gilliland (177.544 mph) were second and third, respectively. Cindric and Briscoe rounded out the top five as Fords swept the top five positions.

Also advancing to the final round were Busch (the top Chevrolet), Blaney, Dillon, Buescher and Larson.

Among those who failed to advance were Daytona 500 William Byron (11th fastest) and Martin Truex Jr.., who was 12th and the top performing Toyota driver.

“I don’t think we’re really surprised the Fords were up front in qualifying,” Truex said. “We were 27th last week, 12th today. “I really enjoy racing here, It’s a lot of fun and I have high hopes for tomorrow.”

Legacy Motor Club driver Eric Jones was last among 37 cars and well off the pace, more than 13 mph slower than McDowell.

“Just too free. We missed it, but hopefully we’ll race good,” he said. “Fortunately, it’s a superspeedway so you’ve got a chance to get back up there, just have to get the balance right.”

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