Front Row Motorsports driver Michael McDowell broke the NASCAR Cup Series track qualifying mark en route to collecting the pole position during Saturday’s qualifying session for the Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

McDowell recorded a pole-winning lap of 138.598 miles per hour (32.468 seconds) in his No. 34 Ford to break the previous record of 138.274 mph established by Chase Briscoe in the inaugural 2022 race. The pole was the third of the season for McDowell and gave him a share of the Cup Series lead with Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports.

McDowell will lead the 36-car field to the green flag for the 240-lap Enjoy Illinois 300 at 2:30 p.m. Sunday (TV: FS1, Radio: MRN, SiriusXM, WNOI 103.9 FM).

“Today we executed well and did everything we needed to do,” said McDowell, who is looking for his first win of the season. “If we do that tomorrow, we’ll have a shot at winning the race. But to win a Cup race you have to be perfect.

“We know what we have to do. We’ve been in this spot before as far as needing a win to get in the playoffs and having speed. We have to rise to the occasion, and I think we will.”

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McDowell, whose previous best start at World Wide Technology Raceway was 17th in 2022, was followed by the Team Penske duo of Austin Cindric and Ryan Blaney.

Cindric (138.134 mph / 32.577 secs.) will start on the front row beside McDowell while Blaney will start third (137.982/32.613). Both have earned top-10 starting positions in all three Cup Series races at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Rounding out the top five were Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell (137.669/32.687) and 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick (137.585 / 32.707), respectively. Defending Enjoy Illinois 300 winner Kyle Busch will start 10th (137.02 / 32.842).

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