The driver of the No. 23 Toyota Camry TRD for 23XI Racing is celebrating another big moment. Bubba Wallace posted the fastest qualifying lap at Michigan International Speedway and won the first Busch Light Pole of his Cup Series career.
The Alabama native completed his final lap around the two-mile track in 37.755 seconds (190.703 mph). He beat out fellow Toyota Racing driver Christopher Bell, who posted the second-fastest time in 37.915 seconds at 189.898 mph. This marked Wallace’s first pole in 171 career Cup Series races.
“About time,” Wallace told media members on August 6, quote courtesy of the NASCAR Wire Service. “It took me five years to get my first pole. It’s a testament to 23XI, everybody on the No. 23 team. They’ve been doing a tremendous job all year long, really. Just haven’t had the finishes we deserve, but proud for everybody just sticking through it. A lot of adversity on this team, and we keep showing up ready to battle.”
This pole win was important for Wallace, and it was equally so for 23XI Racing. He secured the organization’s first win at Talladega Superspeedway in 2021, and then he captured its first Busch Light Pole.
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Wallace Joined a Unique Group of Drivers
The pole win was Wallace’s first in the NASCAR Cup Series, but it was not his first in a national series. He actually won the pole three times during his time in the Camping World Truck Series and twice in the Xfinity Series.
According to TSJ Sports owner Peter Stratta, Wallace is the 43rd driver to win the pole in all three national series. He joins such names as Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Boris Said, Greg Biffle, and Austin Dillon.
Wallace won the pole for the first time while running a part-time schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012. He started at the front of the pack at Dover Motor Speedway, his fourth and final start of the year. Wallace then won the pole at Dover once again in 2015 while running full-time for Jack Roush.
The Alabama native first won the pole in the Truck Series in 2013 while running full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports. The rookie posted the fastest lap at Dover Motor Speedway. One year later, Wallace added two more pole wins — and his first away from the Monster Mile.
He first captured the pole at Iowa Speedway before winning it again at Martinsville Speedway. This second pole win was the same race where he celebrated in Victory Lane after winning with a Wendell Scott tribute paint scheme.
The No. 23 Team Has Contended Recently
Wallace and the No. 23 team kicked off the season with a runner-up in the Daytona 500. This was a strong start, but there were numerous issues that derailed the majority of the regular season. They dealt with mechanical issues, problems on pit road, and crashes.
Wallace only secured one other top-10 before the calendar turned to July. He finished 10th at Kansas Speedway while teammate Kurt Busch won. However, he and the No. 23 team have been on a roll in recent weeks.
Wallace finished 14th at Atlanta Motor Speedway on July 10, which was a marked improvement after brake issues derailed the trip to Road America. He then finished third at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, eighth at Pocono Raceway, and fifth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This most recent top-five was actually Wallace’s first-ever top-10 on a road course.
These performances helped build confidence among the team members, and they also helped Wallace overtake some of his fellow drivers. He is now only four spots below the playoff cutline. Reaching the playoffs for the first time in his Cup Series career will still require a win, but he will be in a prime position to pursue this goal while starting from the pole.