Almirola and his No. 10 Ford had topped the leaderboard early in the 50-minute session but returned to the top when a large group of cars began running together towards the end.

His average lap speed of 178.153 mph topped Clint Bowyer (178.153 mph) and Kyle Busch (177.160 mph) as Fords claimed three of the top four positions.

In Almirola’s three starts on 1.5-mile tracks this season, he has earned one pole and three top-10s with 39 laps led. 

“I feel really good about getting back to the 1.5-mile tracks,” he said. “We have had some bad luck and have made a few mistakes at the short tracks, so I’m ready to get to a track that we know we have to be good at because those are the tracks that make up the majority of the season.” 

Brad Keselowski was fourth and William Byron completed the top-five.

Rounding out the top 10 were Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Alex Bowman.

Harvick had the fastest average lap speed (175.974 mph) among those drivers who ran at least 10 consecutive laps. Keselowski and Austin Dillon were second and third, respectively, in that category.

Three drivers – Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Preece and Bowman – had to sit out the final 15 minutes of the session after their respective cars twice failed pre-race inspection last weekend.

Matt Tifft sat out the final 30 minutes of practice after his car failed pre-race inspection three times last weekend.

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