Sunday, September 24, 2023

Bubba Wallace Earns Pole for 'Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400'

Bubba Wallace Earns Pole for 'Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400'

#NASCAR Cup Series Round Of 12 Playoff Opener

Bubba Wallace Earns Pole for Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400


Championship contender Bubba Wallace opened the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 in promising fashion by earning the pole position in Saturday’s qualifying for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.


Wallace, driver of the No. 23 McDonald’s Toyota for 23XI Racing, posted a lap speed of 188.337 miles per hour (28.672 seconds) in the final round of qualifying to earn his first pole position of the season and second of his career. His other pole came last August at Michigan International Speedway.


Wallace, the final seed in the field of 12 playoff drivers, will lead the 36-car field to the green flag for Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 beginning at 2:30 p.m. (TV: USA, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM).


“We have the best track position right now, but we know with strategy, everything is going to change and evolve (tomorrow),” Wallace said. “We are going to get behind at some point, so it is just a matter of making the most of every situation that we are in. Right now, we start on the pole, if we lead all the laps – some people may pit and cut it. You are going to get behind at some point, so we’ve got to figure out how to get back up there, but you can’t get complacent on the small victories. It takes a lot of them to get to a big victory, but it’s a good start.”


Wallace easily topped his previously best starting position at Texas Motor Speedway of 10th, which came in the spring race of 2019, in eight career starts.


“Was I expecting it? I don’t know,” he said. “In qualifying, I tend to try too hard and overthink things. I need to stop that and just go out and do. So that was a good surprise.”


Wallace, the last driver to qualify in the 10-driver final round of qualifying, edged out Prosper, Texas native Chris Buescher of RFK Racing. Buescher, driver of the No. 17 Fastenal Ford, ran a lap of 188.081 mph (28.711), which was .039 of a second shy of Wallace’s pole-winning time. The qualifying run was his best of the season, topping his fourth at Michigan.


NASCAR #23 Bubba Wallace - Round of Twelve



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