Toyota is picking up right where it left off last year at Michigan International Speedway.
Practice and qualifying are complete for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Christopher Bell, the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota Camry TRD, has scored the pole position for the event with a fast lap of 37.232 sec, which equates to a 193.382 mph average speed around the 2-mile track at Brooklyn, MI.
The quick lap in Round 2 of qualifying secured the second pole of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season for Bell, and it’s the sixth pole of his NASCAR Cup Series career.
Bell was close to winning the pole at Michigan last year, but felt he overdrove Turns 3 and 4. This time, he executed the corners perfectly to put together a thrilling qualifying lap.
“I live for those moments in qualifying where it’s right on the edge and full commitment and maximum,” Bell explained after his qualifying run. “Just right on the edge of being able to hold it wide open and it’s awesome. It’s an adrenaline rush. All the intermediates with this car have been that way and it seems like we have excelled at that with this 20 car.”
Ross Chastain will line up alongside Bell on the front row after turning the second-fastest lap in qualifying.
Chastain was 0.027 sec. off of the fast time set by Bell.
Ty Gibbs, and last weekends winner, Chris Buescher, will make up row two on the starting grid for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event, while Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, William Byron, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, and Chase Elliott will round out the top-10 starters for the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
There were no issues in Saturday’s qualifying session, but Turns 3 and 4 gave a couple of drivers issues in Practice earlier in the afternoon. Notably, Corey Lajoie slapped the wall with his No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in Turn 4 and spun out.
Though Bell is on pole, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. led the way in practice for Saturday’s race with a fast lap of 37.496 sec. Three of the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota’s had top-five pace in practice while Denny Hamlin’s practice speed had him 16th fastest.
Twenty-one drivers completed more than 10 consecutive laps. Overall, William Byron was the fastest over a 10-lap consecutive run with an average speed of 190.592 mph.