Photo courtesy of Mike Mulholland | Getty Images
For the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Bubba Wallace will lead the field to green Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
He ran a 37.755 lap in the pole round to beat out Christopher Bell by 0.16 seconds.
Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 (3 p.m. ET, USA Network, MRN) will mark the 171st start for Wallace at the Cup level.
“About time. It took me five years to get my first pole,” Wallace told NBC Sports. “We knew we had speed from the test. Now the real job is tomorrow. Just very proud of everybody in my corner and proud of myself for being able to do it. It’s been a long journey and we’re here.”
It’s also the first pole for the Denny Hamlin-Michael Jordan co-owned 23XI Racing team.
Toyota was the manufacturer to beat Saturday as Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI all showed tremendous speed through practice and qualifying with five Toyotas topping the charts in the lone practice session.
Kyle Busch was fastest in practice followed by Wallace, Hamlin, Ty Gibbs (filling in for Kurt Busch for a third-straight weekend) and Martin Truex Jr.
The speed carried over into qualifying with five Camry’s starting in the top 10:
Wallace – 1st
Bell – 2nd
Ky. Busch – 3rd
Truex – 7th
Hamlin – 9th