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Jim Utter

Bubba Wallace takes pole position for Texas Cup race

Wallace, the final car to make a qualifying attempt, went right to the top with an average lap speed of 188.337 mph to claim the pole for Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The pole is the first of the year for Wallace, who drives the No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota co-owned by Cup driver Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan.

It’s just the second pole of his career. His previous pole came at Michigan in 2022, in a race in which he finished second.

“It feels great,” Wallace said after his run. “I appreciate everyone on this No. 23 team. When it’s time to step up to the plate and deliver, that’s what these guys do. It’s the playoffs, you have to show up in big-time moments and make big-time plays.

“I’m excited for today it’s going to be a big task tomorrow. It’s good starting off on the right foot.”

Chris Buescher ended up second quick (188.081 mph) and his RFK Racing teammate Brad Keselowski was third (187.891 mph).

Ty Gibbs and Ross Chastain rounded out the top five.

Completing the top-10 starting lineup are A.J. Allmendinger, Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, Christopher Bell and Hamlin, who abandoned his final round qualifying attempt after getting loose in one of the turns.

Bell had won the pole for the previous three playoff races.

Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Mph
1 United StatesB. WALLACE23XI Racing 23 Toyota 1 28.672   188.337
2 United StatesC. BUESCHERRFK Racing 17 Ford 1 +0.039 0.039 188.081
3 United StatesB. KESELOWSKIRFK Racing 6 Ford 1 +0.068 0.029 187.891
4 54 Toyota 1 +0.088 0.020 187.761
5 United StatesR. CHASTAINTrackHouse Racing 1 Chevrolet 1 +0.097 0.009 187.702
6 United StatesA. ALLMENDINGERKaulig Racing 16 Chevrolet 1 +0.151 0.054 187.350
7 MexicoD. SUAREZTrackHouse Racing 99 Chevrolet 1 +0.213 0.062 186.948
8 United StatesK. BUSCHRichard Childress Racing 8 Chevrolet 1 +0.213 0.000 186.948
9 United StatesC. BELLJoe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 1 +0.221 0.008 186.896
10 United StatesD. HAMLINJoe Gibbs Racing 11 Toyota 0

Round 1 / Group A

Despite a spin in practice, Bell led the way in the first group with an average lap speed of 187.370 mph.

Allmendinger was second fastest (187.188 mph) and Busch third (187.149 mph).

Also advancing to the final round of qualifying were Keselowski and Suarez.

Among those who failed to advance were Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell, who was fastest in Saturday’s practice.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun out on his warm-up lap but did not make any contact with the wall in his No. 47 JTG Daugherty Chevrolet.

Round 1 / Group B

Wallace rocketed to the top of the speed chart in Group B with an average lap speed of 189.029 mph – which turned out to be the fastest lap of the day.

Hamlin was second fastest 9188.910 mph) and Chastain was third (188.554 mph).

Also advancing to the final round of qualifying were Gibbs and Buescher.

Among those who failed to advance were Kyle Larson, Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott.

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