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Montoya On Cup Pole At Pocono

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 4 2012

Juan Pablo Montoya was fastest qualifier at Pocono Saturday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

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Juan Pablo Montoya will lead the field down to the green-flag in Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. The driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet earned his eighth career pole laying down a lap of 176.043 mph edging the second place qualifier by hundredth of a second.

Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing claimed the second starting spot.

Paul Menard, No. 27 Menards/Serta Chevrolet, looks for his second career trip to victory lane, when he starts from the third spot.

Kasey Kahne (175.439 mph) will start fourth in the 21st NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season, followed by Marcos Ambrose (175.432 mph) and Kurt Busch (175.339 mph).

Montoya was the 16th driver to make a qualifying attempt. Menard and Hamlin followed before the sun began to heat the track in earnest. But Montoya was happy for any good fortune during a season that has produced just two top-10s in 20 races for the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet.

“To be honest with you, I’m not sure if I’m more shocked that we’re on the pole right now — with how the last few races have been for us and how our season’s been — or that we’re on the pole at Pocono,” Montoya said. “This is a place where I normally struggle in qualifying.

“This is a big boost for everybody on the Target team. We really needed a little bit of light. We know we’ve been working in the right direction. We know we’ve been working hard, and we feel that the cars are getting a little better, but to actually get out there and get a pole . . .

“I just went through the hauler, and all the engineers are happy, laughing. I’ve seen a lot of long faces and a lot of stressful faces – we really needed something like this as a company.”

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, August 4 2012
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