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Montoya makes it back-to-back poles

Juan Montoya clearly enjoyed pole position last week at Pocono so much that he wanted to do it all over again at Watkins Glen, setting a new track record to pip Kyle Busch at the top.
Juan Montoya's pole position last week at Pocono had shocked even the 36-year-old Colombian driver, but there was perhaps less surprise when he made it a double cause for celebration with pole this time around at Watkins Glen.

"This week we've genuinely been good all weekend," said Montoya, admitting the last week's pole had been a real out-of-the-blue 'how did that happen?' moment for the whole Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team, while lamenting that they had then missed the race set-up entirely for the Sunday. "I think this week we can contend," he continued, adding: "Having track position is a good thing because you can do it smart and see what it brings us."

After all, this is where the former F1 driver claimed his most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup series, win two years ago. But despite his pedigree, it is actually Montoya's first pole position at a road course race in a stock car.

"I think the lap was a really good lap," he said. "You always make mistakes here and there. It's never perfect. You always think I went too far here, I went too little there, I lost it there, but I think everybody does. It's about how well you can put it all together. I thought we did a pretty good job of that

"We ran a little slower than practice, but with the sun out, it's like 20 degrees hotter," Montoya admitted. "You can always say I could have got a little more, but sometimes when you want a little more you actually lose."

Even so, Montoya's time of 69.438s (127.020mph) was a new track qualifying record, and left him 0.05s clear of Kyle Busch, last year's pole position winner. Busch had topped the Saturday morning practice session with a time of 69.199s, in a late addition to the weekend schedule after rain wreaked havoc on Friday and thwarted most of the track time, as Sprint Cup cars don't have rain tyres for wet weather running even at road courses.

"The #18 was really good during qualifying," said Busch. "It was really fast. I thought it was good and I thought it would be close to the pole. It was close, but it wasn't first."

Busch badly needs an outright win this weekend to put him back in with a chance of making the post-season Chase shoot-out via one of the "most wins" wildcards.

“For the next five or whatever it is, it's 'win or bust', basically," he admitted. "Finishing second or third or fourth isn't going to get us anywhere."




Related Pictures

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Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. [Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Juan Pablo Montoya poses with his son Sebastian and Miss Coors Light after winning the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series` Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International. (Photo Credit: By Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #14 Target Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, races to his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career win with a victory lap and checkered flag, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)

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