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Xfinity Qualifying Canceled At Atlanta, Best NASCAR Ford To Start Fifth

Rain wreaked havoc on Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, March 17th, 2023, canceling all on-track activity, including qualifying for the Xfinity Series race. As a result, the lineups were set by formula rather than on-track speeds, placing the best NASCAR Ford Mustang racer in the fifth-place starting position.

Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Mustang, will roll off the line behind a slew of Toyota Supra racers and one Chevy Camaro. Last weekend’s race winner, Sammy Smith, will start from the pole in his No. 18 Supra, followed by John Hunter Nemechek in the No. 20 Supra. Daytona winner Austin Hill will start third in the No. 21 Camaro, followed by Ryan Truex in the No. 19 Supra. Cole Custer, meanwhile, is the only other Ford to have secured a top-10 starting position, and will take the green flag from eighth in the No. 00 Mustang.

As a reminder, in the event that qualifying cannot be completed for any reason, NASCAR relies on a formula in order to set the lineup. This formula takes into account an individual driver’s performance in the previous weekend’s race with the following metrics:

  • Fastest lap time position (15 percent)
  • Driver’s final race position (25 percent)
  • Owner’s final race position (25 percent)
  • Owner points position (35 percent)

Ford has yet to secure an Xfinity Series victory so far in 2023. In fact, The Blue Oval has only claimed one victory in the top three NASCAR series, as Zane Smith’s No. 38 F-150 won the rain-shortened Truck Series race at Daytona. However, just last weekend, a 15-year-old driver scored his first career victory behind the wheel of a NASCAR Ford Fusion in the ARCA Series.

The Xfinity Series race at Atlanta is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 18th, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET, weather permitting. NASCAR did not provide a lineup for this event, but the starting grid can be viewed on its website.

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Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

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