Newton: Weekend fit for 'The King'Aric Almirola may have put Richard Petty's iconic No. 43 car on the pole for Sunday's Coke 600.
• Coca-Cola 600 starting grid
Aric Almirola took the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 192.940 mph Thursday night and teammate Marcus Ambrose finished second at 191.598, giving Petty a front-row sweep at Charlotte Motor Speedway for NASCAR's longest race.
"Hey ya'll," Petty said to reporters as he walked into the news conference and took a spot behind the table in the front of the interview room. "Haven't sat up here in a while."
Petty won a Sprint Cup-record 123 poles during his career.
But his No. 43 car hasn't sat on the pole at the Coca-Cola 600 in 46 years.
"This really makes me feel good because our guys have been working hard for a long time and they finally got a little recognition," Petty said. "It shows what these guys have been doing is right. Tonight the circumstances were right. It's a confidence builder for us, even though it's just qualifying. We have bragging rights for a couple of days here anyway, so that makes all of us feel good."
Almirola, gearing up for his first series race at Charlotte, got his first pole by taking advantage of cooler track conditions late in qualifying.
Jimmie Johnson, who won last week's All-Star race, qualified third, followed by Greg Biffle andClint Bowyer. Mark Martin will start sixth andKasey Kahne seventh, followed by Denny Hamlin,Paul Menard and Regan Smith.
Kurt Busch will start at the back of the field after wrecking in qualifying.
Danica Patrick qualified 43rd for her first Coca-Cola 600.