For the first time since the Summer of 2019, Daniel Suarez will lead the field to green in a NASCAR Cup Series event, scoring the pole for Sunday’s Verizon 200 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
Posting the quickest time in the final round of qualifying on Saturday, the driver of the No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro edged out some heavy hitters, including the race’s defending winner, Tyler Reddick, to score his third career pole at NASCAR’s top level.
The 87.968-second lap by Suarez – which equates to 99.814mph – falls just two-tenths of a second short of the NASCAR Cup Series track record at the 2.439-mile road course in Indianapolis, Indiana, set by AJ Allmendinger in 2021.
Tyler Reddick, a three-time road course winner at NASCAR’s top level, posted the second-fastest time in qualifying on Saturday, which will place him next to the Trackhouse Racing driver at the start of Sunday’s 200-mile contest.
Chase Elliott and Michael McDowell will start alongside each other in the second row for Sunday’s event, which will prove to be crucial to both drivers and their hopes of qualifying for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Kyle Busch rounded out the top five, clocking in about a half-second slower than the polesitter. Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell slotted in sixth and seventh in the final round of qualifying.
Shane van Gisbergen, who returns to the NASCAR Cup Series after a stellar debut at the Chicago Street Course, posted the eighth-quickest time in qualifying, while Alex Bowman and Ty Gibbs completed the top-10.
Brodie Kostecki, one of six foreign-born drivers competing in Sunday’s Verizon 200, was making a stellar run at the final round in qualifying when his Richard Childress Racing entry broke traction and smacked the outside wall. He will be credited with an 11th-place start.
Kamui Kobayashi made steady progress throughout practice and qualifying on Saturday, but will start his 23XI Racing entry from 28th, right around both Jenson Button (31st), and Mike Rockenfeller (37th) who struggled to get a handle on the historic venue.
Kevin Harvick will start from 38th on Sunday, after being the slowest driver to post a time at Indianapolis. William Byron was barred from qualifying after the No. 24 team failed pre-qualifying tech three times. Byron will start from last place, lose his car chief and pit selection, and have to serve a pass-through on the first lap of the race.