NASCAR »

Montoya starts Chase with New Hampshire pole

Juan-Pablo Montoya sped around New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a blistering track-record 28.545 seconds (133.431mph) to win the pole for Sunday's Sylvania 300, the first race in the Chase for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Montoya, who clinched his berth in NASCAR's play-offs last Saturday at Richmond, starts the Chase 40 points behind leader Mark Martin, who qualified 14th in Friday's time trials. Two-time NSCS champion Tony Stewart, the pace-setter through 26 events before the Chase field was re-seeded according to race wins, will start beside Montoya on the front row courtesy of a lap at 132.581mph. Now seeded second in the Chase order, Stewart registered his twelfth top ten starting position of the season.

Chase contender Kurt Busch, who matched Stewart's speed to the thousandth of a second, will start third alongside Denny Hamlin (132.030mph). Carl Edwards (132.012mph) qualified fifth, followed by David Stremme, Martin Truex Jr., Bobby Labonte, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon.

“At the end of practice, we made a [qualifying-style] run,” said Montoya, after securing his second pole of the year and the second of his career. “The lap wasn't that great, and we still ran a .70 (actually .74), so like, 'wow – interesting'. Can't complain.”

Montoya – seeded eleventh out of the twelve competitors in the ten-race battle for the championship – clinched his Chase spot with conservative points racing, but now is inclined to take a more aggressive approach.

“You've got to be very smart about it,” the Colombian acknowledged. “Most of the cars in the Chase are going to be up there. To gain points is going to be really hard, but to lose points to them is going to be very easy. I think you've got to be very smart about it in that respect, but in the end, you've got to go for wins. You've got to go for broke here.”

In addition to Montoya, Stewart, Busch, Hamlin, Martin, Edwards and Gordon, drivers competing in the Chase earned the following starting spots: Kasey Kahne eleventh; third-seeded Jimmie Johnson 16th; tenth seed Ryan Newman 18th; defending race-winner Greg Biffle 22nd; and Brian Vickers 26th.

“I was happy with it,” revealed Stewart who, as the winner of three races this season, enters the Chase ten points behind Martin. “I think we ran a .74 (actually .79) in practice and a .72 in qualifying, so we backed up what we ran, and we're pretty happy with that. Normally, if we qualify well here, we race really well here, so it's a perfect start to the weekend so far.”

Denny Hamlin said that Kyle Busch's promise to help his Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate as much as he could during the Chase might not amount to much – unless it involves a revenge factor...and with Busch having missed the Chase by eight points, the Nevada-born star certainly now has more latitude to race aggressively.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Juan Pablo Montoya [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place racing with Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS who finishes in eleventh place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet SS, finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 TaxAct Chevrolet SS, finishes in 7th place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Crew members work on the #25 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, driven by Chase Elliott, after being involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, poses in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident in front of Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, as Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, drives away during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.