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Juan Pablo Montoya Vrooms to Pocono Cup Pole

[media-credit name=”Gary Buchanan” align=”alignright” width=”219″][/media-credit]Driving the No. 42 Target Chevrolet, complete with his face adorning the box of the Kellogg’s Vroom Cereal box, Juan Pablo Montoya scored the Coors Light pole for the 39th annual Pennsylvania 400.

JPM qualified with a speed of 176.043 mph and a time of 51.124 seconds, winning his first pole in 12 races at Pocono. This was Montoya’s eighth pole in 202 NASCAR Cup Series races and he is now locked into the 2013 Shootout at Daytona.

“That was huge,” Montoya said. “Well to be honest to you I’m not sure if I’m more shocked that I’m on the pole right now or that I’m on the pole in Pocono.”

“This is a big boost for everybody on the Target team,” JPM continued. “We know we’re working hard but to actually get out there and get a pole, I just went through the hauler and they’re all happy and laughing.”

“We really needed something like this as a company,” Montoya said. “This is big for us.”

JPM admitted that he and his team played the strategy card in qualifying, particularly when it came to the unpredictable Pocono weather.

“We looked at the weather and we said it looks like it’s going to rain,” Montoya said. “And if it’s going to rain, we’ll go qualifying runs in the morning. And we did.”

“Do we have the fastest car out there?” Montoya continued. “No, but qualifying is the same as racing.”

“You’ve got to make the right calls and do whatever it takes to get it done,” JPM said. “And that’s what we did.”

Montoya spent time after his qualifying run in the ESPN booth, analyzing the time trials of his competitors. And he admitted that was just a tad bit stressful as he watched others try to unseat his P1 position.

“When the 48 went out and he was dead even with me, I thought I’m dead,” Montoya said. “Can you believe this last freaking car is going to be beat me?”

“But then he missed it and the smile started coming back.”

Both dad to be Denny Hamlin, behind the wheel of the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Menards/Serta Chevrolet, credited going early in the qualifying run, along with some favorable cloud cover, with their second and third place time trials respectively.

Hamlin scored his 12th top-10 for the season and his 12th in 14 races at Pocono. Menard posted his fourth top-10 start at Pocono and his fourth in 21 races for the season.

“I’d like to say it was a good run but I’m a little bit disappointed in our run,” Hamlin said. “I think we reaped the benefits of going out early but knowing we were over a quarter second ahead going into the last corner and just missed it.”

“At least we are going to have a good qualifying spot.”

Menard had a bit more of a dicey time getting his P3 qualifying position. He had a problem during practice and had to go to a backup car.

“I wasn’t expecting to qualify in the top three in a backup car,” Menard said. “Obviously that shows the hard work and preparation of the 27 guys and everybody at RCR.”

“We had a good primary car and had a radiator hose that blew out of it and hit the wall,” Menard continued. “We had to pull out the backup car but luckily had two hours to get it ready between practices.”

“It was pretty good right off the truck,” Menard said. “It was the same car we tested with for two days here so we have some good data on it.”

“One of the biggest things that helped us was going out early,” Menard continued. “Standing on pit road, it was cloudy then and the cars that went before us, the sun came out I think.”

“A little bit of luck and a lot of hard work.”

Kasey Kahne, in the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, was the highest qualifying Hendrick Motorsports driver in the fourth position. Marcos Ambrose, in the No. 9 Stanley Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports rounded out the top five in qualifying at Pocono.

There was one driver, Stephen Leicht, who failed to qualify.

Starting Lineup
Pennsylvania 400, Pocono Raceway
Pos. No. Driver Make Speed Time
1 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 176.043 51.124
2 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 175.795 51.196
3 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 175.627 51.245
4 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 175.439 51.3
5 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 175.432 51.302
6 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 175.339 51.329
7 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 175.169 51.379
8 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 175.131 51.39
9 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 175.097 51.4
10 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 175.067 51.409
11 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 175.036 51.418
12 16 Greg Biffle Ford 174.964 51.439
13 43 Aric Almirola Ford 174.805 51.486
14 20 Joey Logano Toyota 174.795 51.489
15 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 174.618 51.541
16 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 174.561 51.558
17 99 Carl Edwards Ford 174.432 51.596
18 55 Mark Martin Toyota 174.419 51.6
19 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 174.314 51.631
20 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 174.277 51.642
21 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 174.213 51.661
22 83 Landon Cassill Toyota 174.162 51.676
23 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 173.92 51.748
24 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet 173.571 51.852
25 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 173.524 51.866
26 38 David Gilliland Ford 173.41 51.9
27 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 173.3 51.933
28 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 173.197 51.964
29 13 Casey Mears Ford 172.864 52.064
30 119 Mike Bliss Toyota 172.619 52.138
31 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 172.371 52.213
32 34 David Ragan Ford 172.038 52.314
33 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet 171.917 52.351
34 26 Josh Wise* Ford 171.913 52.352
35 37 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 171.808 52.384
36 30 David Stremme Toyota 171.638 52.436
37 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 171.246 52.556
38 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 170.804 52.692
39 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 170.658 52.737
40 191 Reed Sorenson Ford 170.581 52.761
41 32 Jason White+ Ford 167.876 53.611
42 36 Tony Raines+ Chevrolet
43 98 Mike Skinner Ford 170.516 52.781

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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