Wallace grabs first career pole at Michigan

Bubba Wallace will lead the field to the green flag in a NASCAR Cup Series race for the first time in his career Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway.

Wallace, the last driver to make a qualifying run, blistered the track in the final round of qualifying to earn his first career pole with a lap of 190.703mph (37.755s). Not only is it the first pole for Wallace, it is also the first pole in company history for 23XI Racing.

The No. 23 team is one of the hottest teams in the series entering Michigan as they rides a streak of three consecutive top-10 finishes.

“[It’s] about time,” Wallace said. “It took me five years to get my first pole. It’s just a testament to everybody at 23XI; everybody on this No. 23 team. They’ve been doing a tremendous job all year long — really just haven’t had the finishes that we deserve, but I’m proud of everybody just sticking through it — a lot of adversity on this team, and we keep showing up ready to battle. That means a lot and so for us, to come out here and get this pole, we knew we had speed from the test so that’s good when things are lining up.

“Now the real job is tomorrow, and we know that’s a totally differently ball game. So, [it’s] a good starting spot for us but we [have to] reset and get on ready for tomorrow.”

Toyota locked down the top three starters in qualifying. Christopher Bell qualified second at 189.898mph, and Kyle Busch, who was fastest in practice, qualified third at 189.868mph.

Joey Logano qualified fourth at 189.509mph and Austin Cindric fifth at 189.449mph.

Sixth was Tyler Reddick (189.026mph), seventh was Martin Truex Jr. (188.724mph), eighth was Kyle Larson (188.605mph), ninth was Denny Hamlin (188.437mph), and 10th was Erik Jones (187.666mph).

Ty Gibbs qualified 11th for 23XI Racing in the No. 45. Gibbs clocked in at 188.393mph.

Championship points leader Chase Elliott qualified 13th. Elliott’s fastest lap was 188.137mph.

Defending race winner Ryan Blaney qualified 24th at 186.766mph.

Austin Hill qualified 31st for Richard Childress Racing for his Cup Series debut.