Montoya claims Richmond pole

Juan Pablo Montoya claimed his second pole position of the season in qualifying for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond

Montoya claims Richmond pole

The Earnhardt Ganassi driver had been fastest in the final practice session of the day while making qualifying simulations, and then went on to improve his pace in qualifying lap by 0.6 seconds.

The Colombian, running late in the order, was the only driver breaking the 21 second bracket with a second flying lap of 20.989s, giving him his first NASCAR pole position at Richmond, his second of 2011 and the seventh of his Cup career.

"We unloaded this morning and it was a bit of a headache getting the car to run at the beginning. It [the front splitter] was dragging a lot," said Montoya. "When we finally got it rolling, we actually felt like we had a pretty decent race car. It's always hard to judge. But we figured out we've got a decent car.

"In qualifying trim, it was really good. We actually did three runs in the second practice and the first run was horrible; the second run was good and the third was really good. To come here and get it done was exciting."

Montoya bumped Furniture Row's Regan Smith from what would've been his maiden Cup pole, but gave Chevrolet a front-row sweep. Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer was third, ahead of Red Bull's Kasey Kahne, who held provisional pole for most of the session.

Hendrick Motorsports' Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon filled the third row of the grid, while their team-mate and reigning champion Jimmie Johnson struggled to 30th. Dale Earnhardt Jr was fastest in the opening practice, but ended up only 24th in the starting order.

Points leader Carl Edwards was eighth fastest and the best of the Roush Fenway Fords, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing's Joey Logano. His team-mates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, who have won the last four Richmond races between them, were 11th and 20th respectively.

David Stremme, making his return to the Cup scene driving for the newly formed Inception Motorsports team, was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers. qualifying an impressive 16th. Brian Keselowski was the only one who failed to make the field.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 20.989s 2. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 21.031s + 0.042s 3. Clint Bowyer Childress Chevrolet 21.049s + 0.060s 4. Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota 21.069s + 0.080s 5. Mark Martin Hendrick Chevrolet 21.085s + 0.096s 6. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 21.092s + 0.103s 7. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 21.092s + 0.103s 8. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 21.093s + 0.104s 9. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 21.097s + 0.108s 10. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 21.101s + 0.112s 11. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 21.130s + 0.141s 12. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 21.150s + 0.161s 13. Ryan Newman Stewart Haas Chevrolet 21.181s + 0.192s 14. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 21.181s + 0.192s 15. Casey Mears Germain Toyota 21.184s + 0.195s 16. David Stremme Inception Chevrolet 21.193s + 0.204s 17. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 21.201s + 0.212s 18. AJ Allmendinger Petty Ford 21.204s + 0.215s 19. David Reutimann Waltrip Toyota 21.204s + 0.215s 20. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 21.208s + 0.219s 21. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 21.209s + 0.220s 22. Michael McDowell HP Toyota 21.210s + 0.221s 23. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 21.238s + 0.249s 24. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 21.244s + 0.255s 25. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 21.252s + 0.263s 26. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 21.256s + 0.267s 27. David Ragan Roush Fenway Ford 21.257s + 0.268s 28. Travis Kvapil Front Row Ford 21.278s + 0.289s 29. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 21.279s + 0.290s 30. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 21.280s + 0.291s 31. Tony Stewart Stewart Haas Chevrolet 21.308s + 0.319s 32. Mike Skinner Germain Toyota 21.330s + 0.341s 33. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 21.362s + 0.373s 34. Landon Cassill Phoenix Chevrolet 21.369s + 0.380s 35. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 21.383s + 0.394s 36. Kurt Busch Penske Dodge 21.393s + 0.404s 37. Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota 21.397s + 0.408s 38. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford 21.405s + 0.416s 39. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 21.443s + 0.454s 40. JJ Yeley Whitney Chevrolet 21.516s + 0.527s 41. Andy Lally TRG Chevrolet 21.629s + 0.640s 42. Robby Gordon Gordon Dodge 21.846s + 0.857s 43. Tony Raines Front Row Ford 21.517s + 0.528s Did not qualify: Brian Keselowski K-Automotive Dodge 21.900s + 0.911s 
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