Keselowski Wins Pole for Autotrader Echopark Automotive 500 Nascar Cup Series Playoff Race


RFK Racing driver/owner Brad Keselowski stunned NASCAR Cup Series playoff contenders by securing his first pole position since 2019 in qualifying for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Keselowski, driver of the No. 6 Ford, set a top lap of 188.990 mph (28.573 seconds) on the final qualifying lap, securing his first pole since Richmond 109 starts and his first with RFK Racing. The pole was the 18th of his career and his second in Texas, his other coming at this fall 2015 race.

“That was a Heckuva round,” said Keselowski. “It’s difficult to qualify at this track because the speeds are so high and the track is so slippery and hot. We could ride a lap together. (Turns) Three and four was one of those brave rounds where you hold it wide open and hope it holds. It was really close, but we made it. That was probably the difference maker.

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“It’s a super exciting time for me and our company here at RFK with a lot of the progress we’ve made over the past few months that is now actually showing. It’s been a painful journey, but a good one.”

Team Penske’s Joey Logano clocked a 188.805 mph lap on the 1.5 mile oval and joined Keselowski on the front row for Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500, the opening race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for the Round of 16, which begins at 2:30 p.m. CT (TV: USA Network, Radio: SiriusXM Ch. 90, PRN, 95.9 The Ranch local).

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Logano paced the playoff drivers as he qualified first of six in the top 10. William Byron qualified third with 188.805 and they weren’t the only two playoff drivers in the top five as Tyler Reddick finished fourth and Michael McDowell fifth.

Chase Elliott, top seed in the round of 16, qualified sixth (187.95 mph), Denny Hamlin eighth (186.987), defending champion Kyle Larson ninth (186.233) and Daniel Suarez tenth (185.401). The non-playoff driver in the second five was Austin Dillon, who secured seventh on the grid with a lap of 187.546 mph.

Playoff drivers Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain were just outside of top-10 qualification, finishing 11th and 12th on the grid, respectively, while Ryan Blaney finished 14th. The bottom three qualifiers among the playoff drivers were Alex Bowman (17th), Christopher Bell (22nd) and Chase Briscoe (30th) in the 36-car field.

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Chris Buescher, who hails from Prosper, Texas and won for RFK Racing at Bristol Motor Speedway last week, will start 13th.

TICKETS:

For ticketing information for this weekend’s NASCAR Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Playoff Doubleheader, including single day tickets to C. Bell’s MICRO MANIA, please visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

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