For the first time since 2010 at Dover, Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet will lead the field to the green flag in a Sprint Cup Series race.
The five-time champ toured the Kentucky Speedway in 29.70 seconds and will start the second-annual Quaker State 400 pole. Defending race champion Kyle Busch qualified second, six tenths off Johnson's time, while Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and Ryan Newman round out the top-five.
Clint Bowyer, who won last week in Sonoma, will start sixth, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, and Martin Truex Jr.
Point leader Matt Kenseth, in his first qualifying effort since announcing he would be leaving Roush-Fenway Racing at season's end, was 20th. Defending series champion Tony Stewart was 22nd, while runner up Carl Edwards was 25th.
Unadilla's David Ragan was 33rd fastest in his Front Row Motorsports Ford.
Failing to qualify for the race were J.J. Yeley and Mike Skinner.