Bubba Wallace laid down a 28.672s lap in qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway, good enough to earn him his second career Cup Series pole and first this season.
“When it’s time to step up to the plate and deliver, this is what these (23XI Racing) guys do,” Wallace told NBC Sports after his qualifying lap. The No. 23 was the 10th and final car in the final round of time trials.
Wallace entered last weekend’s Round of 16 cutoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway 19 points below the cut but made up that ground and then some to advance to the Round of 12 in his first ever postseason appearance. It was the second-largest deficit in playoff history to be made up in an elimination race.
His one other pole came last season at Michigan, where he led 22 laps and eventually finished second behind Kevin Harvick. This is also 23XI’s second pole this season (Tyler Reddick at Richmond).
RFK Racing teammates Chris Buescher (28.711s) and Brad Keselowski (28.740s) qualified second and third, with Ty Gibbs (28.760s) and Ross Chastain (28.769s) rounding out the top 5. AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, Christopher Bell (was going for four poles in a row) and Denny Hamlin (aborted his flying lap) complete the top 10 starters.
Playoff drivers who failed to advance to the second round of qualifying included Kyle Larson (11th), defending race winner Tyler Reddick (15th), Martin Truex Jr. (16th), William Byron (18th) and Ryan Blaney (23rd).
A piece of debris laid down by Todd Gilliland’s No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford was subsequently run over by Ty Dillon’s No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet on his lap.
Aric Almirola also scrubbed the wall with his right rear off Turn 2 and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun coming off the same corner on his warmup lap to bring out a brief yellow flag.
There are 36 drivers starting the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400. Green flag is slated to fly on Sunday at 3:50 p.m. ET on USA.