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Tagliani gives Montreal another hometown pole

August 17, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

Alex Tagliani celebrates his pole at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with a kiss from his wife, Bronte. (Getty Images)

MONTREAL -- Patrick Carpentier did it in 2007 and Jacques Villeneuve did it last year. Now it's Alex Tagliani's turn to be the hometown hero by scoring his first Nationwide Series pole in his city.

Although he did not qualify in the final group of five-fastest cars in practice, Tagliani was able to turn the pole-winning lap in 1 minute, 40.865 seconds for a 96.687 mph average.

NAPA Auto Parts 200

Lineup
Pos.DriverSpeedTime
2.S. Hornish Jr. 96.649 100.905
3. J. Villeneuve 96.633 100.922
4.D. Patrick 96.169 101.409
5. O. Kelly*96.163 101.415

"I want to dedicate this pole to the fans who come and make this event so special," said Tagliani, while pointing to the grandstands. "I feel that there was still a tenth or two left in the car. I wanted to do a third flying lap with the tire pressures and temperatures at their best but my crew chief, Trent Owens, wanted me to save fuel so we have one more lap to go in our first stint in the race."

Sam Hornish Jr. had to settle for the outside of the front row despite turning the best lap in the last qualifying group.

"It took me a little bit of time to find my marks on the course but when came the time to qualify, I felt pretty good," said Hornish, the best qualifier amongst the Nationwide Series regulars. "I made a little mistake in one of the corners of my first lap by riding the curbs a little too much. That probably cost me the pole. I know that JV (Hornish's teammate, Jacques Villeneuve) rides them completely so I wanted to give it a try but I quickly realized that my car was not set up for that. This being said, a front-row start on a road course has to make you feel pretty good."

Villeneuve said he was disappointed by his performance even though he achieved the third-best lap of the qualifying session.

"I got surprised by the car which braked much more that I thought it would," said a dejected Villeneuve. "I braked too early all through my laps and ruined my starting position. At least, I know the car has good brakes, which is a good omen for the race."

Danica Patrick, with whom Villeneuve had a run-in at Road America (watch), will start besides the Quebec native on the second row while Owen Kelly (qualifying the car for Kyle Busch), Michael McDowell, Cole Whitt, Ron Fellows, Billy Johnson and Brian Scott completed the top 10. Fellows is the only former winner of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 to take part in the race this year.

Nationwide points leader Eliott Sadler (standings) could only manage to obtain the 17th-fastest time.

"It is a little disappointing to start this far back because track position is so crucial on those road courses," Sadler said. "We're going to meet [Friday night] with the team to see if we can try to pull a rabbit out of our hat, strategy-wise, in order to make something happen."

As for the Quebec drivers, Andrew Ranger, of Roxton Pond, qualified 12th while Carpentier, of Joliette, who came out of retirement for this one race in order to raise funds for the St. Justine's Children Hospital Foundation, had to settle for 13th.

Notes-n-Nuggets

• Alex Tagliani earned his first career Nationwide pole in his fourth race.
• It is Alex Tagliani's third Montreal start; his previous best was second in last year's race.
• It is the fourth consecutive year the Montreal pole has been won by a foreign-born driver, and fifth time overall.
• Alex Tagliani is the 14th driver to get his first Nationwide pole on a road course.
• Five of the past six pole winners on road courses got their first pole, including the past four.
• Alex Tagliani becomes the sixth driver to get his first career pole in 2012.
• Alex Tagliani is the 14th different driver to win a pole in 2012.
• Turner Motorsports earned its fourth career pole, third pole -- and second at a road course -- of 2012.
• Alex Tagliani is the second driver to get his first career pole in a Turner Motorsports car this season, joining Nelson Piquet.
• Chevrolet got its 11th pole of 2012 and first at Montreal.
• Sam Hornish Jr. (second) is making his first start at Montreal; he started on the front row in back-to-back races in 2012, both on road courses.
• Jacques Villeneuve (third) got his fourth top-five start at Montreal in his fifth race; he started in the top three the past three races.
• Danica Patrick (fourth) earned her best Montreal start in her second race and her career-best road-course start.
• Owen Kelly (fifth) qualified the car for Kyle Busch, who is expected to be the driver on Saturday. Busch will go to the rear of the field because of the driver change.
• Michael McDowell (sixth) got his second top-10 start in his fourth Montreal race and fourth top-10 start of 2012.
• Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (16th) had his best qualifying run in his third Montreal race.

Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, of Trois-Rivieres, qualified 35th while Dexter Stacey and Derek White, both from Kahnawake, had to settle for 38th and 42nd, respectively. Ryan Ellis was the only driver who failed to qualify.