Joe Gibbs Racing hit the ground running Saturday (April 23) in NASCAR Cup Series qualifying for the GEICO 500 at Talladega. Young star Christopher Bell and elder statesman Martin Truex Jr. swept the front row, earning Toyota just their second pole of the 2022 season to date.
Bell and Truex swept both rounds of qualifying, clocking in the final round at 180.928 MPH and 180.652 MPH, respectively. After pacing the field in round one, it briefly looked like they’d play second fiddle to Daniel Hemric, who made a strong bid for Kaulig Racing’s first Cup pole position. But Hemric wound up third as Bell and Truex each picked up at least two-tenths of a second from their round one qualifying time.
“A really big thank you to Andy Graves (Technical Director for Toyota Racing Development),” Bell said after earning the top spot, crediting the engine department and superior horsepower. It’s the second pole position of Bell’s Cup career.
Daniel Suarez and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five starters. Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, 2021 fall Talladega winner Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick ran sixth through 10th in the final round of qualifying.
Since 39 teams were entered for a 40-car field, no one failed to qualify. Landon Cassill was the only driver not to complete a qualifying lap as his No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet failed inspection three times. That means Cassill will need to serve a pass-through penalty under green after the start of the race.
FOX will have coverage of the GEICO 500 on Sunday, April 24 starting at 3 p.m. ET.