Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya’s first pole of the 2012 season at Pocono Raceway, with a qualifying lap of 176.043 mph (51.124 seconds), made him the 22nd driver to earn a starting spot in next year’s Daytona Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.
“This is a big boost for the Target team,” said Montoya. “We’ve been working so hard and we really needed a bit of light. We know we’re working in the right direction. We know we’re working hard and we feel the cars are getting a little better but to actually get out there and get a pole… we really needed something like this as a company and this is big for us.”
Driving the No. 42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Montoya’s qualifying lap was his eighth pole overall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and first since capturing the top spot at Richmond International Raceway in 2011.
This will be Montoya’s third start in the fan-favorite, star-studded event that will kick off Budweiser Speedweeks 2013. His best finish was 10th in 2010.
Eligibility requirements for next season’s Daytona Shootout return to its roots with the field consisting of pole winners and past Shootout winners who have attempted to qualify for at least one race during the 2012 season.
2012 Pole Winners:
Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Busch.
Past Shootout champions:
Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte, and Ken Schrader