Juan Montoya may not exactly be a frequent pole sitter in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but his qualifying lap time of 69.438 seconds on Saturday was good enough to give him his second-straight pole starting spot, this time for Sunday’s Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. He was also the pole winner a week ago for the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
“I think the lap was a really good lap,” Montoya 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.”
Kyle Busch posted a 69.488-second qualifying lap to start second at Watkins Glen, next to Montoya on the front row. Busch had been fastest in final practice earlier Saturday morning.
“The No. 18 M&Ms Camry was really good during qualifying,” Busch said. “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.”
Front Row Motorsports teammates David Ragan and David Gilliland took the provisional front row starting spots early, with Ragan claiming the provisional pole and Gilliland taking the provisional second spot.
They were shuffled back by drivers including Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray and then Clint Bowyer, who each spent time on the provisional pole.
Then, Montoya claimed the top spot and held on to it for the remainder of the qualifying session.
Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski claimed second-row starting spots, with Johnson in third and Keselowski fourth. Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top-five in qualifying.
Only 43 drivers made qualifying attempts on Saturday, so all who entered received spots on the starting grid for Sunday’s race.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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