Juan Pablo Montoya has taken his second pole this year and is hoping he has the car that will bring him to victory lane for his first oval win in NASCAR.Ã‚Â Montoya won the pole at 128.639 m.p.h. in his No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.Ã‚Â Reagan Smith and Clint Bowyer round out the rest of the top 3 putting Chevy all over the front of the field again.Ã‚Â For those fans that are manufacturer driven Chevy has shown it’s dominance so far on the poles but the wins have been almost evenly divided amongst 3 0f the 4 major brands so far this year with Kyle Busch delivering Toyota’s only win so far this season.
So who’s your favourite to win in Richmond?
I always want to say Tony Stewart but his record at Richmond is not as good as I am sure he would like it to be.Ã‚Â Dale Jr always looks good at Richmond.Ã‚Â It is one of his, and many other drivers, favourite tracks and he always runs well here.Ã‚Â Kevin Harvick has shown us time after time that he is able to get the job done, even better this season than last where he finished 3rd in points overall.Ã‚Â Mr. “Where’d he come from” knows that the most important lap to lead is the last one, and he’s shown that he can close when the pressure is on.
Although Harvick has only one win at Richmond he has an amazing 9 top 10 finishes in his last 10 races here.Ã‚Â Certainly the best record in the garage going into tonight’sÃ‚Â Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah, this has been a great race track for us and no matter how our year is going or has been going, this is always a place you come to as a team we think we can run good,Ã¢â‚¬Â Harvick said Friday just before qualifying. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a fun race track to race on and our car has always seemed to drive good in the race and we always seem to be able to produce a result here.”
Ã¢â‚¬Å“So thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fun when you can come to a race track knowing that in the back of your mind.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He believes the track lends itself to producing the best kind of racing that is both aggressive and strategic, like combining the attributes of a Talladega Superspeedway with a short track like Bristol.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Richmond is almost the perfect track for stock car racing with its wide, banked corners and short configuration.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Aggressiveness from a car standpoint, pushing the limits on your engine and taking chances on pit road that you probably donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to be taking as far as pit strategy and things like that,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just trying to use strategy as part of your game.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Harvick qualified 12th with a lap speed of 127.660 m.p.h.
Jeff Gordon caused a bit of a firestorm in the media this week after stating that Dale Jr may just be too nice a guy for his own good.
While commenting about the race at Martinsville where Harvick passed Dale Jr. on the final lap to take the win, Gordon suggested he would have done things differently if he were in Jr.’s racing shoes.
“If I was Dale Jr., I would’ve pushed him (Harvick) out of the way” Gordon said. “I feel like if you’re Dale Jr. you can get away with anything.”
“It’s been a long time since he won a race (101 starts entering tonights race in Richmond) and he had a car capable of winning.Ã‚Â I think the place would have stood up and cheered.”
So off we head into Richmond and into a series of nights races in the next few weeks and hope the cooler temperatures of the night will lend themselves to some great racing action.