Heading into qualifying, Montoya has impressive time

3/2/2007 - NASCAR

MEXICO CITY -- Juan Pablo Montoya proved Friday he doesn't need an open-wheel car to post fast laps on a road course.

Montoya turned the fastest lap of the day on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course during the final Busch Series practice at 104.180 mph in the No. 42 Dodge.

Qualifying is Saturday for the Telcel Motorola 200 on Sunday afternoon. This is Montoya's first road-course event in a stock car, but he raced on the 2.5-mile Mexico City road course when he drove in the Champ Car series.

"It was an awesome track when I raced then and it's still an awesome track," Montoya said. "But it's tricky and you need a lot of rhythm. It would be great to get the pole, but it's more important to bring the car home and win it."

Veteran road racer Scott Pruett, who had the fastest lap in the first practice, posted the second-best lap in the last session at 103.542 mph in the No. 21 Dodge.

Denny Hamlin, who won this event last year, was third quickest at 103.297 mph in the No. 20 Chevrolet.

Former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racer Carlos Contreras, a Mexico City native, was fastest among the Mexican drivers with a lap at 103.197 mph in the No. 22 Dodge, fourth in the last session.

Mexican racer Jorge Goeters, who won the pole in the first Mexico Busch race in 2005, was right behind Contreras at 102.970 mph.

Houston rookie Brad Coleman, who is making his Busch Series debut at 19, had an impressive first day. Coleman posted the sixth-best lap in the last practice at 102.469 mph in the No. 18 Chevy for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.