Montoya takes pole at Loudon

Juan Pablo Montoya claimed his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career pole in qualifying for Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Montoya takes pole at Loudon

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 
Burton: Sears was 'demolition derby'

Previous article

Burton: Sears was 'demolition derby'

Next article

Patrick 30th on NASCAR return

Patrick 30th on NASCAR return
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

Feb 11, 2021