NASCAR Cup Series
Starting Lineup: NASCAR Cup Series 4EVER 400 at Homestead
Oct 21, 2023
Martin Truex Jr. was all smiles after a pole-winning run heading into Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series 4EVER 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. You could sense the weight being lifted off of his shoulders.
Truex turned a lap of 32.256 sec. (167.411 mph) to narrowly defeat Bubba Wallace for the pole position for Sunday's race at the 1.5-mile speedway in Miami.
This pole is the second of the 2023 season for Truex, and it is the 22nd pole position of his stellar NASCAR Cup Series career.
While Truex was the regular season champion and came into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as the top seed, the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry had struggled mightily through the Round of 16 and again in the Round of 12.
Heading into the Round of 8, Truex had not scored a single top-15 finish in the opening six races of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
However, the 43-year-old racer finally got off the schneid last weekend with a ninth-place finish to open the Round of 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Now, Truex will look to keep building momentum from the pole at Homestead, and if he can score his fourth win of the season on Sunday, he'll lock his way into the Championship 4 with a chance to pick up his second NASCAR Cup Series championship.
For Wallace, who came up just 0.057 sec. shy of the pole, it was a solid day on the track.
The driver of the No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota Camry was fastest in practice earlier in the morning, and Wallace also posted the fastest 10-lap consecutive average in practice, which should indicate he has great long run speed.
Wallace may have been eliminated from the Playoffs in the Round of 12, but there is still a lot to race for the rest of the way in 2023. The 30-year-old has yet to score a win this season, but he definitely has a car capable of it this weekend.
Tyler Reddick slotted in right behind his 23XI Racing teammate in the third starting position, which made it an all-Toyota Racing top-three in the session.
Brad Keselowski was the top non-Toyota in the fourth position. Keselowski, like Wallace, was recently bounced from the Playoffs and is looking for his first victory of the 2023 season.
Kyle Larson will roll from the starting grid in the fifth position in the No. 5 car. Larson can approach Sunday's race worry-free as he secured his place in the Championship 4 field with a victory last weekend at Las Vegas. Now, he'll look to further cement his status as a favorite for the championship.
Austin Dillon turned in an excellent run in qualifying and will start sixth on Sunday ahead of William Byron, Ross Chastain, Ty Gibbs, and Ryan Blaney.
All eight of the remaining Playoff contending drivers, and Chase Elliott (alive in the owner's championship Playoffs) will start from inside the top-17 on Sunday.
Here are the starting positions of those in the Playoff hunt:
Martin Truex Jr., 1st
Tyler Reddick, 3rd
Kyle Larson, 5th
William Byron, 7th
Ryan Blaney, 10th
Denny Hamlin, 11th
Christopher Bell, 13th
Chase Elliott (Owners Championship), 16th
Chris Buescher, 17th
Joey Logano, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series champion who was eliminated from Playoff contention in the Round of 16, will start from the rear of the field in Sunday's race after he crashed in the final minutes of practice earlier in the morning.
Logano was working on passing Tyler Reddick off of Turn 2 when his No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang whipped around on him. Logano would pound the inside wall and would have to go to a backup car.
Photo Credit: Craig White, Racing America