NASCAR Cup Series
Starting Lineup: NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington
May 13, 2023
Martin Truex Jr. got it done in the final round of qualifying on Saturday at Darlington Raceway, as he turned a lap time of 29.028 sec. (169.409 mph) in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry, which was enough to snag his first Busch Light Pole Award of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Even though Truex was second fastest in Group B of Round 1 of qualifying, he felt like a surprise at the top of the speed charts in Round 2. Truex credits his team for some quick adjustments on his car between Rounds 1 and 2 for the pole.
"You know, honestly, just the guys made a really good adjustment," Truex said. "I feel like we left a little on the table in Round 1. They made the adjustment to try to help me off of [turn] 4 and it worked. I was not really sure what kind of lap time we were going to need to run, or how the tires would affect it, but we just nailed the balance really good. I was definitely happy with that."
For Truex, this marks the 21st pole position of his NASCAR Cup Series career, and he edged out Bubba Wallace by 0.012 sec. to score the top starting spot for Sunday's race.
Wallace just missed out on his second-career NASCAR Cup Series pole, but he was all smiles after turning in a solid lap, which was incredibly slightly faster than his lap in Round 1.
"It was good definitely. Congrats to the No. 19, [Truex] just got me," Wallace said. "0.02 to 0.04, I believe. But all-in-all solid start to our weekend on the Cup side."
Wallace ran the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday night, and said he was able to learn some tricks that will help him be in the mix for a good finish, or even a win, in Sunday's Goodyear 400.
The incredible season for JTG Daugherty Racing and its driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. continued, as Stenhouse qualified third for Sunday's race. Stenhouse will be joined by William Byron, who is running the Jeff Gordon 1998 Chromaluison paint scheme this weekend.
Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick and Brad Keselowski will round out the top-10 starters for Sunday's race.
Keselowski was the fastest car in Round 1, as he laid down a stirring lap. However, in Round 2, Keselowski slipped up and scrubbed the wall, which led to him being the slowest of 10 cars in Round 2.
However, he showcased that he has a very fast No. 6 RFK Racing Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, and he'll look to snag the first win of the season for the RFK team on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett, LAT Images, Courtesy of Toyota Racing