Friday, December 2, 2022

Bubba Wallace Bests Toyota Teammates for First Career Cup Pole at Michigan

Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing NASCAR Cup Series Michigan International Speedway FireKeepers Casino 400
Bubba Wallace rocketed to his – and 23XI Racing – first career NASCAR Cup Series pole position at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, leading a Toyota sweep of the top-three positions for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 PC: David Rosenblum | LAT Images | Courtesy of Toyota Racing.

It’s been absolutely no secret that Toyota has been firing on all cylinders in the NASCAR Cup Series as of late, bringing extremely fast cars to the track every single week for all six of its entries out of Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing.

Saturday at Michigan International Speedway was no exception, with the manufacturer sweeping the top-three spots in qualifying for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at the two-mile oval.

Leading the way was Bubba Wallace, who put down a stunning lap of 37.755 seconds (190.703mph) to secure his first career pole in the NASCAR Cup Series, and the first career pole for second-year team 23XI Racing.

With Wallace’s triumph in Saturday’s single-car qualifying session, Toyota has now won seven of the last 10 poles on ovals in the NASCAR Cup Series, dating back to earlier this season at Talladega Superspeedway.

The pole is only the second in NASCAR Cup Series history to be won by an African-American driver, after Wendell Scott, who claimed the pole at Savannah in 1962.

Christopher Bell will start alongside his Toyota teammate on the front row, after posting a lap 16-hundredths of a second slower than Wallace, but a lap that was barely good enough to squeak onto the front row in front of Kyle Busch, who will start third.

Joey Logano and Austin Cindric, teammates at Team Penske, will start Sunday’s 400-mile contest from fourth and fifth place, the only two Ford drivers to earn starting spots inside the top 13.

Tyler Reddick, the NASCAR Cup Series’ latest winner from last weekend’s Verizon 200 at Indy’s Road Course, will start the race from sixth, with Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Erik Jones completing the top-10.

Just outside the top-10 was a pair of impressive qualifying efforts by drivers making their first handful of starts at NASCAR’s top level, with Ty Gibbs – in his third career start – qualifying 11th, and Noah Gragson – in his ninth career start – earning a 12th-place grid position.

Other notables include: Chase Elliott (13th), Daniel Suarez (15th), Kevin Harvick (16th), William Byron (20th), Ross Chastain (22nd), Chase Briscoe (23rd), Ryan Blaney (24th), Alex Bowman (30th), Austin Hill (31st), and Brad Keselowski (33rd).

With only 37 drivers entered for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan, every driver to attempt a qualifying lap will take the green flag on Sunday.

Qualifying Results: 2022 NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400

Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigley
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at

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