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Almirola takes first pole at Coca-Cola 600

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By Associated Press

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Aric Almirola took the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 192.940 mph Thursday night, giving Richard Petty Motorsports a front-row sweep at Charlotte Motor Speedway for NASCAR's longest race.

Teammate Marcus Ambrose was second at 191.598 in qualifying for the Sunday night race.

Petty won a Sprint Cup-record 123 poles during his career.

Almirola, gearing up for his first series race at Charlotte, and Ambrose took advantage of cooler track conditions late in qualifying. Jimmie Johnson, who won last week's All-Star race, was third, followed by Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer.

Kurt Busch will start at the back of the field after wrecking in qualifying.

Danica Patrick qualified 43rd for her first Coca-Cola 600.

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