CONCORD, N.C. — The Richard Petty Motorsports teammates who will start Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 side-by-side on the front row have the same short-term objective — to lead the first lap.
After winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup pole in Thursday’s time trials, Aric Almirola will lead the field to green to start NASCAR’s longest race. Marcos Ambrose, who hasn’t won a Cup pole yet, will take the green flag in whichever lane — outside or inside — Almirola doesn’t choose.
Both Almirola and Ambrose have the same thing in mind.
“I want to lead that first lap, so I hope he treats me well,” Ambrose quipped. “It’s just a proud moment for us to be on the front row like that together. The worst thing we could do is to cause each other trouble, so we know what we need to do.
“Whatever lane he chooses, I’m just going to go for it and see if I can lead the first lap.”
Just don’t expect Almirola to back off.
“I fully expect to lead some laps tomorrow night,” Almirola said.Â “I think our (car) is fast enough to be able to lead some laps, so we want to go out and get a good start and get some clean air on the car and go have a good race.”