Montoya takes pole at Loudon
|By Diego Mejia||Friday, June 25th 2010, 21:40 GMT|
Juan Pablo Montoya claimed his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career pole in qualifying for Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The Colombian had been fastest in practice earlier in the day and he backed up his speed on his flying lap, setting a time of 28.781 seconds at an average speed of 132.337 mph, beating the previous benchmark set by Penske's Kurt Busch.
Earnhardt Ganassi driver Montoya had been on pole the last time the series competed at Loudon back in September 2009, when he was a contender for victory and finishing third. He believes his third Cup pole places him a step closer to his maiden win on an oval, in what has been a tough season for the former Formula 1 racer thus far.
"The lap was really good until the middle of Turn 3," Montoya told AUTOSPORT. "I got loose and lost a bunch of time in the corner. But I think we had enough speed in the car to run a good lap time. We matched what we ran in practice, so I was pretty happy with that.
"We led a lot of laps here last year so I'm hoping that we can stay up front and give ourselves at least a chance. If we can give ourselves a chance to win, I'd be more than pleased.
"It would be interesting if we could get some practice tomorrow to at least get some things we want to try in the car a little bit different to what we have and see what happens."
Kasey Kahne came closest to beating Montoya's time and ended up on the front row beside the Colombian. Alongside Kurt Busch, last year's Loudon winner Mark Martin placed his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy fourth on the grid for Sunday's race, while Ryan Newman rounded out the top five for Stewart Haas Racing.
Joe Nemechek was fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in an impressive seventh place in his NEMCO Motorsports Toyota, right behind the fastest Camry of Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann.
Casey Mears, driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing after being dumped by Red Bull last week, was 23rd, while his replacement Reed Sorenson was 29th on his debut in the #83 machine.
Roush Fenway's Matt Kenseth qualified poorly in 33rd on his first weekend with new crew chief Jimmy Fennig. Meanwhile Bobby Labonte did not set a time after crashing in practice, while filling in for Robby Gordon in the Californian's #7 RGM Toyota. However he will be in the field thanks to his status as a former champion.
Andy Lally will start his Cup oval debut from 40th on the grid driving for TRG, while Travis Kvapil and Mike Bliss failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Car Speed Time Gap 1. Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 132.337 28.781s 2. Kasey Kahne Ford 132.158 28.820s + 0.039s 3. Kurt Busch Dodge 132.062 28.841s + 0.060s 4. Mark Martin Chevrolet 131.998 28.855s + 0.074s 5. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 131.966 28.862s + 0.081s 6. David Reutimann Toyota 131.874 28.882s + 0.101s 7. Joe Nemechek Toyota 131.742 28.911s + 0.130s 8. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 131.633 28.935s + 0.154s 9. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 131.556 28.952s + 0.171s 10. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 131.456 28.974s + 0.193s 11. Joey Logano Toyota 131.329 29.002s + 0.221s 12. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 131.315 29.005s + 0.224s 13. Paul Menard Ford 131.279 29.013s + 0.232s 14. Brad Keselowski Dodge 131.211 29.028s + 0.247s 15. Scott Speed Toyota 131.189 29.033s + 0.252s 16. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 131.180 29.035s + 0.254s 17. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 131.103 29.052s + 0.271s 18. Regan Smith Chevrolet 131.049 29.064s + 0.283s 19. David Ragan Ford 131.035 29.067s + 0.286s 20. Denny Hamlin Toyota 131.017 29.071s + 0.290s 21. Carl Edwards Ford 130.945 29.087s + 0.306s 22. Kyle Busch Toyota 130.801 29.119s + 0.338s 23. Casey Mears Chevrolet 130.734 29.134s + 0.353s 24. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 130.626 29.158s + 0.377s 25. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 130.599 29.164s + 0.383s 26. Martin Truex Jr Toyota 130.586 29.167s + 0.386s 27. Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 130.456 29.196s + 0.415s 28. AJ Allmendinger Ford 130.367 29.216s + 0.435s 29. Reed Sorenson Toyota 130.313 29.228s + 0.447s 30. Elliott Sadler Ford 130.300 29.231s + 0.450s 31. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 130.220 29.249s + 0.468s 32. Max Papis Toyota 130.024 29.293s + 0.512s 33. Matt Kenseth Ford 130.020 29.294s + 0.513s 34. Greg Biffle Ford 129.714 29.363s + 0.582s 35. JJ Yeley Dodge 129.626 29.383s + 0.602s 36. Dave Blaney Toyota 129.600 29.389s + 0.608s 37. Michael McDowell Toyota 129.278 29.462s + 0.681s 38. David Stremme Ford 129.221 29.475s + 0.694s 39. David Gilliland Ford 128.893 29.550s + 0.769s 40. Todd Bodine Toyota 128.178 29.715s + 0.934s 41. Andy Lally Chevrolet 127.997 29.757s + 0.976s 42. Travis Kvapil Ford 127.679 29.831s + 1.050s 43. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 127.436 29.888s + 1.107s 44. Kevin Conway Ford 126.956 30.001s + 1.220s 45. Bobby Labonte Toyota