Juan Pablo Montoya may not be getting any better in American stock-car racing. He's also not getting much worse either.
The former Formula One driver qualified 10th for his second race in NASCAR's second-tier Busch Series, the O'Reilly Challenge, one place worse than he did the previous week.
Montoya had a such a difficult time in practice that he worried about even qualifying for Saturday's race. But his time of time of 28.449 seconds on the 2.4-kilometer (1.5-mile) Texas Motor Speedway oval was more than a second faster than his best lap in the final practice.
"To be honest, it was a bit of a surprise. I struggled all day with the handling of the car," Montoya said. "The goal today after that practice was just to make the field."
Mark Martin, who has won three Busch races at Texas, won the pole with a lap of 28.039 secondsin his Ford. Kyle Busch will start his Chevrolet second after a lap of 28.127.
Montoya, making the transition from Formula One to NASCAR, made his debut for Chip Ganassi last weekend with an 11th-place finish at the tight 1.2-kilometer (0.75-mile) Memphis Motorsports Park. Now the Colombian must master a high-banked oval.
"It's stressful," said Montoya, who has won the Indianapolis 500, a CART championship and seven F1 races. "Every change we made was so much because we were so far off. We changed everything."
Montoya ran only one lap during rookie practice because he was having such a hard time handling the car.