It's been a long time since Chip Ganassi's NASCAR Sprint Cup team has had much of anything to celebrate, but they enjoyed a small victory Saturday at the Pocono Raceway. Juan Pablo Montoya won the pole for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400, turning a lap of 51.124 seconds in his No. 42 Chevrolet to grab the eighth pole of his career.
Denny Hamlin, who announced Friday that he will be a first-time father in January, was second. Paul Menard was third in his backup car following a practice crash that wiped out his No. 27 Impala Friday. Kasey Kahne and Marcos Ambrose complete the top-five.
Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Sprint Cup point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, and Jimmie Johnson round out the top-10 qualifiers.
Montoya is still seeking his first Sprint Cup win on an oval and his first oval-track victory period since he won a race in the now-defunct CART Champ Car series in 2000 at the also-defunct Gateway International Raceway just outside St. Louis. The 2000 Indy 500 champ won seven times in Formula 1 before making the switch to NASCAR, reuniting with Ganassi (with whom he won the 500 and the 1999 CART championship). Since 2007 Montoya has two wins, at Sonoma in his rookie season of 2007 and at Watkins Glen in 2010.
Visit Jayski.com for the full starting lineup for Sunday's race.