For the first time, Bubba Wallace will start the NASCAR Cup Series race on pole position.
Driver #23 burned down the track at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday as the only driver to hit 190 mph in the final round of qualifying. He finished the session with an average lap speed of 190.703 mph, taking home the first Cup Series pole of his career.
The pole is also first in the 23XI race, which began sending cars in 2021.
“Time bout,” Wallace He told NBC Sports After getting out of the car. “It took me five years to get my first pole.”
Wallace wasn’t the only Toyota driver to find success on the track in Michigan on Saturday. Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch will start second and third, just behind Wallace, and all six Toyota entries have earned the top 11 starting points for Sunday’s race.
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Wallace’s playoff performance adds to a strong recent streak of leadership for the 28-year-old, who will start his 171st Cup Series this weekend. He has finished in the top 10 in the last three races, including third place in New Hampshire and a fifth place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Everyone on this 23rd team, we’ve done a tremendous job all year, really didn’t get the finishes we deserved,” Wallace said, on NBC Sports. “…we continue to appear ready for battle. It means a lot.
“Now the real work tomorrow, right?” he added. “We know this is a completely different game.”
Wallace will be seeking his second Cup Series race win when The FireKeepers Casino 400 begins at Michigan International Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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