Juan Pablo Montoya probably won't need much help from his sponsor this weekend. Montoya, who is driving a Chevrolet, featuring Tums Dual Action on the hood, this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, will start at the front of the field for the ...
Juan Pablo Montoya probably won't need much help from his sponsor this weekend.
Montoya, who is driving a Chevrolet, featuring Tums Dual Action on the hood, this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, will start at the front of the field for the first time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career after laying down a fast lap time of 188.171 miles per hour in qualifying for the Aaron's 499.
Montoya's best previous qualifying effort was second at Indianapolis in 2007. His previous best starting spot this season was fourth in Atlanta in March.
"We were really fast right away so we didn't do much to it yesterday," said Montoya, who was just 34th fastest in the first practice session and 42nd fastest in the second session on Friday.
"I'm kind of surprised we're on the pole," Montoya said. "We knew we had a good race car but getting our first pole is big. It takes a lot of weight off of everybody's shoulders and it shows where the team is heading. It's very encouraging."
Montoya said that he had trouble putting in time after his effort to wait to see if it would hold up.
"It takes forever here," said Montoya, who thought he won the pole in Kansas last year but his time was disqualified after inspection. "It's not like you're antsy or anything, you've just got to wait. Hopefully we can translate this into a win here."
Montoya, who finished second in this race last year, said that starting up front at Talladega is important.
"This is one of those race tracks where you don't even really want to qualify but it's exciting to get the pole," Montoya said. "I think we're definitely heading in the right direction."
Montoya edged Greg Biffle by 8/1000ths of a second in his fast lap time. It is Biffle's best starting spot of the season and fourth time this year that he has qualified in the top-five.
Martin Truex Jr. qualified third while Sam Hornish Jr. qualified a career-best fourth and Clint Bowyer qualified fifth.
Regan Smith will start sixth on Sunday while Mark Martin qualified seventh. Two rookies qualified in the top-10. Scott Speed qualified eighth while Brad Keselowski will start ninth.
David Ragan rounded out the top-10.
Points' leader Jeff Gordon qualified 14th while Carl Edwards was fastest in practice but slipped to 16th in his qualifying effort.
Robby Gordon and Reed Sorenson both had to make the field using the owner points contingency. Their lap times were disallowed per NASCAR.
Eric McClure and Michael McDowell failed to make the field.