Joey Logano claimed pole position at Homestead in his final NASCAR Sprint Cup race for Joe Gibbs Racing, while points leader Brad Keselowski qualified third, seven places ahead of title rival Jimmie Johnson.
The result is Keselowski's best starting position of the Chase.
Logano, Keselowski's future team-mate at Penske Racing, had been fastest in practice earlier on Friday.
Running last in the qualifying order, Logano was able to back up his speed with a flying lap that beat the previous benchmark set by Richard Petty's Marcos Ambrose.
Despite mainly focusing on race set-up during practice, Keselowski was able to deliver his best qualifying performance for the past 13 races.
In the 10 Chase events, Johnson outqualified Keselowski six times, the Hendrick driver claiming three pole positions to his rival's none. Keselowski said his Homestead starting position therefore came as a surprise.
"I really had no expectation of putting on that solid a qualifying lap," said Keselowski. "We prepared for Homestead with the impression that we would have to come here and win the race and do all those things to win the championship.
"I think we were prepared to qualify drastically behind the #48 car [Johnson]."
Johnson was the fastest of the Hendrick drivers in the end but seemed disappointed to have missed the chance to put pressure on Keselowski.
"The best pressure I could put on him would be winning the pole. We didn't do that," said the five-time champion.
Last year's championship runner-up Carl Edwards was fourth while Ambrose's Petty team-mate Aric Almirola was a third Ford among the top five.
Wood Brothers' Trevor Bayne was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 20th. Reed Sorenson, Stephen Leicht, Jason Leffler and Joe Nemechek failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 30.672s
2. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 30.797s + 0.125s
3. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 30.841s + 0.169s
4. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 30.857s + 0.185s
5. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 30.877s + 0.205s
6. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 30.901s + 0.229s
7. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 30.920s + 0.248s
8. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 30.934s + 0.262s
9. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 30.954s + 0.282s
10. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 31.020s + 0.348s
11. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 31.038s + 0.366s
12. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 31.040s + 0.368s
13. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 31.047s + 0.375s
14. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 31.069s + 0.397s
15. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 31.081s + 0.409s
16. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 31.129s + 0.457s
17. Sam Hornish Jr Penske Dodge 31.194s + 0.522s
18. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 31.200s + 0.528s
19. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 31.216s + 0.544s
20. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 31.275s + 0.603s
21. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 31.279s + 0.607s
22. David Stremme Inception Toyota 31.293s + 0.621s
23. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 31.296s + 0.624s
24. Regan Smith Phoenix Chevrolet 31.303s + 0.631s
25. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 31.309s + 0.637s
26. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 31.347s + 0.675s
27. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 31.376s + 0.704s
28. Casey Mears Germain Ford 31.385s + 0.713s
29. Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 31.417s + 0.745s
30. Landon Cassill BK Toyota 31.44 s + 0.768s
31. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 31.442s + 0.770s
32. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 31.454s + 0.782s
33. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 31.463s + 0.791s
34. David Ragan Front Row Ford 31.472s + 0.800s
35. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 31.490s + 0.818s
36. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 31.497s + 0.825s
37. David Reutimann Baldwin Chevrolet 31.538s + 0.866s
38. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 31.610s + 0.938s
39. JJ Yeley Max Q Chevrolet 31.623s + 0.951s
40. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 31.641s + 0.969s
41. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 31.755s + 1.083s
42. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford 31.863s + 1.191s
43. Scott Riggs R3 Chevrolet 31.636s + 0.964s
Did not qualify:
Reed Sorenson Go Green Toyota 31.713s + 1.041s
Stephen Leicht Circle Sport Chevrolet 31.754s + 1.082s
Jason Leffler Humphrey Smith Toyota 31.758s + 1.086s
Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 31.838s + 1.166s