Reddick earns Busch Light Pole at Richmond

Tyler Reddick earned his first Busch Light Pole Award of the season – and first with his new team, 23XI Racing, Saturday afternoon with a lap of 113.669 mph in the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota at Richmond Raceway. He outpaced Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch – the track’s winningest active driver – in the No. RCR Chevrolet by a slight .011-second.

“Really excited to be on the pole for the first time this year with 23XI and nice to finally get that first pole with the team,’’ said Reddick, who made slight contact with the Turn 4 wall during the first session of qualifying and wasn’t sure if the team would need to make any repairs before Sunday’s Cook Out 400 (3 p.m. ET, USA Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“I pretty much knew I was going to hit the wall but I knew if I lifted I wasn’t going to be able to make that second round, so I stayed in it,’’ Reddick said of the close call. “Hit the wall pretty good but was able to transfer into that second round.’’

The Californian Reddick, 27, who has a win already this year at the Circuit of the Americas road course, was especially pleased to notch his first pole position for his new team as well. And  with Toyota winning three of the last six races – including the last two – he is optimistic about the make’s chances come Sunday.

“I feel like we’ve been really strong since the year started,’’ Reddick said, adding, “We had the speed and were kind of giving away the races and opportunities and all of us have done a better job of executing and closing out those races and getting those wins.’’

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott and Reddick’s teammate Bubba Wallace rounded out the Top Five at the 0.75-mile Richmond oval.

Hendrick’s William Byron, JGR rookie Ty Gibbs, defending race winner Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and current NASCAR Cup Series championship leader, JGR’s Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the Top-10 cars that advanced to final qualifying.

Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson, who won at Richmond in the Spring, will roll off 14th.

Of note, the cars of Ross Chastain (No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet), Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) and Justin Haley (No. 31 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet) failed pre-race inspection twice and will lose their car chiefs and pit selections for Sunday’s race.