Juan Pablo Montoya
Juan Pablo Montoya’s first pole of the 2012 season at Pocono Raceway made him the 22nd driver to earn a starting spot in next year’s Daytona Shootout.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya’s first pole of the 2012 season at Pocono Raceway, with a qualifying lap of 176.043 mph (51.124 seconds), made him the 22nd driver to earn a starting spot in next year’s Daytona Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.

“This is a big boost for the Target team,” said Montoya. “We’ve been working so hard and we really needed a bit of light. We know we’re working in the right direction. We know we’re working hard and we feel the cars are getting a little better but to actually get out there and get a pole… we really needed something like this as a company and this is big for us.”

Driving the No. 42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Montoya’s qualifying lap was his eighth pole overall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and first since capturing the top spot at Richmond International Raceway in 2011.

This will be Montoya’s third start in the fan-favorite, star-studded event that will kick off Budweiser Speedweeks 2013. His best finish was 10th in 2010.

Eligibility requirements for next season’s Daytona Shootout return to its roots with the field consisting of pole winners and past Shootout winners who have attempted to qualify for at least one race during the 2012 season.

2012 Pole Winners:
Greg Biffle
Carl Edwards
Denny Hamlin
Kasey Kahne
Mark Martin
Jeff Gordon
Martin Truex Jr.
AJ Allmendinger
Aric Almirola
Joey Logano
Marcos Ambrose
Jimmie Johnson
Matt Kenseth
Kyle Busch

Past Shootout champions:
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Tony Stewart
Bill Elliott
Terry Labonte
Ken Schrader

Tickets for NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race – the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24 – start at $65 and are available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

For the second straight year, the Speedway is offering special youth pricing for the Daytona 500. Children 12 and under will receive 50 percent off all Backstretch grandstand seats for the Daytona 500 while supplies last. In addition, children 12 and under are free in the Sprint FANZONE throughout Budweiser Speedweeks. 

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR and #DAYTONA500. In addition, fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook  and Google+ for all the latest news all season long.

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