Montoya Takes Pole Position at Talladega

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Juan Pablo Montoya won the first pole of his NASCAR career on Saturday with a strong lap at Talladega Superspeedway.

Montoya ran a lap at 188.171 mph, then had to wait almost two hours to see if his time would hold. He returned to his motor home for a snack and surfed the Internet as car after car failed to knock him from the top.

Greg Biffle almost did, posting a speed of 188.141 to qualify second.

"That's all she had," Biffle said. "You think about what you can do different. I feel like I did everything I could to do to get everything I could out of the car."

After his lap, Montoya figured teammate Martin Truex Jr. would be his toughest competition for the pole. But Truex's lap at 187.971 mph was third.

Truex said Montoya, who finished second to Kyle Busch in this race a year ago, can contend for the win on Sunday.

"He's had some great finishes, and I think he's smart about the draft and he's calmed down since the first few races when he may have tried too hard all day," Truex said. "He's smart. We worked together at Daytona, and he made all the decisions I would have made when he was in front of me."

Truex won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500, and Montoya's run gives Earnhardt Ganassi Racing poles in both restrictor-plate races so far this season.

Sam Hornish Jr. qualified fourth and Clint Bowyer was fifth.

Michael McDowell and Eric McClure are the only drivers who failed to make the field.

After the qualifying session was finished, NASCAR announced that Robby Gordon and Reed Sorenson failed inspection. Both their cars missed the minimum height requirement mandated by NASCAR, and their times were disallowed.

Montoya actually had the fastest car last October at Kansas, but his time was disqualified after his car failed inspection.

He's seeking his first victory on an oval since moving from Formula One to NASCAR at the end of the 2006 season. He has won on road courses in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.


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