LONG POND, Pa. – Tony Stewart drove his No. 14 Chevy for a qualifying lap of 171.393 mph Friday around the 2.5-mile triangle track at Pocono Raceway to earn the pole for Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500.

“Man, it felt good,” Stewart said. “If you want a place where you want good track position, it’s here at Pocono.”

Juan Pablo Montoya will start second in the Sprint Cup race after winning last week’s pole at the Brickyard 400.

Denny Hamlin will start third as he tries to sweep at Pocono after winning the June race.

Stewart started the June race in sixth place and finished third. He was awarded the pole at the two Pocono stops in 2009 after rainouts washed out qualifying.

 

LETARTE CONTRACT: Steve Letarte, crew chief for Jeff Gordon and formerly of Cornish, signed a three-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports.

Letarte, who replaced Robbie Loomis, has been with Gordon since the September 2005 race at New Hampshire. Gordon has 10 wins, 14 poles and leads NASCAR in top-five finishes since then, but is winless since Texas in April 2009, a span of 49 races.

“I don’t think we can do anything different to try to win races, but that is definitely our number one priority,” Letarte said after the deal was announced.