FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Bubba Wallace will start from the pole at Texas, the first race after he just made the cut to get into the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs.
Wallace turned a lap of 188.337 mph in the final round of qualifying Saturday, finishing ahead of fellow playoff contenders and RFK Racing teammates Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski.
“Was I expecting it? I don’t know,” Wallace said. “Qualifying, you know, I tend to try too hard and overthink things. And that’s my problem with life, I need to stop doing it, I just need to just go out and do. So that was a good surprise.”
It is the second career pole for Wallace, the 23XI Racing driver who entered the round of 12 in 12th place after the points were reset following the first three playoff races.
Buescher will start on the front row Sunday with Wallace after a final lap of 188.081 mph. Keselowski, who is the owner of Buescher’s No. 17 car, qualified third at 187.891 mph.
Christopher Bell was among the 10 drivers that advanced to the final round of qualifying at the 1 1/2-mile Texas track. But he will start ninth after being on the pole for each of the first three playoff races: at Darlington, Bristol and Kansas.
Defending race winner Tyler Reddick, Wallace’s teammate with 23XI Racing, starts 15th. Reddick won last year at Texas when still driving for Richard Childress Racing.
Points leader William Byron, who has a series-high five wins this season, will start 18th. That is two spots behind Martin Truex Jr., who has the same number of points but two fewer wins than Byron.
AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing