Juan Pablo Montoya claimed his second pole position of the season in qualifying for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond.
The Earnhardt Ganassi driver had been fastest in the final practice session of the day while making qualifying simulations and then went on to improve his pace in qualifying lap by a huge 0.6sec relative to his previous best.
The Colombian, running late in the order, was the only driver breaking the 21-second bracket with a second flying lap of 20.989sec at an average speed of 128.639mph, which gave him his first NASCAR pole position at Richmond, his second of 2011 and the seventh of his Cup career.
"We unloaded this morning and it was a bit of a headache getting the car to run at the beginning, [the front splitter] was dragging a lot," said Montoya. "When we finally got it rolling, we actually felt like we had a pretty decent racecar. It's always hard to judge, but we figured out we've got a decent car.
"In qualifying trim, it was really good. We actually did three runs in the second practice and the first run was horrible; the second run was good and the third was really good. To come here and get it done was exciting."
Montoya bumped Furniture Row's Regan Smith from what would've been his first Cup pole, but gave Chevrolet a front-row sweep. Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer was third, ahead of Red Bull's Kasey Kahne, who held provisional pole for most of the session.
Hendrick Motorsports' Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon claimed the third row of the grid, while their teammate and reigning champion Jimmie Johnson struggled to just be 30th fastest. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fastest in the opening practice, but ended up only 24th in the starting order.
Points leader Carl Edwards was eighth fastest and the best of the Roush Fenway Fords, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing's Joey Logano. His teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, who have won the last four Richmond races between them, were 11th and 20th, respectively.
David Stremme, making his return to the Cup scene driving for the newly formed Inception Motorsports team, was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers. qualifying an impressive 16th. Brian Keselowski was the only one who failed to make the field.