Kevin Harvick took his fifth pole position of 2014 and set a new track record at Bristol Motor Speedway in NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying.
It was a session characterised by numerous trips into the wall, firstly from Chase points challenger and fastest driver in first practice Kyle Larson, and then followed in quick succession by Aric Almirola, Casey Mears, and later Cole Whitt.
The final 12 also played dare with the wall, but cleaner laps meant that Jeff Gordon was able to set a new track record to go quickest with eight minutes remaining.
It looked like Gordon had a third straight pole all but wrapped up, but Harvick in the Stewart-Haas Chevrolet found an extra bit of speed to snatch pole and the lap record in the final minutes, finishing just 0.008 seconds ahead of the Hendrick team driver.
Carl Edwards took third, marginally ahead of Kyle Busch who did well to hustle his Joe Gibbs Toyota to the second row after complaining about poor handling throughout.
Joey Logano held Jimmie Johnson at bay in fifth - neither driver looking to have the pace for pole over the short 14s lap.
Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose completed the top 10.
Ryan Newman in 11th and Kasey Kahne in 12th are both competing for the Chase on points as it stands, and are among the biggest names yet to secure an all-important win this season.
Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer just missed out on the top 12, finishing 13th and 14th respectively. Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing team-mate Brian Vickers couldn't make the final 12 either in 15th, while Matt Kenseth was disappointed to end 16th.
Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr were the other high-profile names eliminated after the first 30 minutes of qualifying.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 14.607s 2. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 14.615s +0.008s 3. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 14.624s +0.017s 4. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 14.641s +0.034s 5. Joey Logano Penske Ford 14.644s +0.037s 6. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 14.644s +0.037s 7. Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 14.654s +0.047s 8. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 14.662s +0.055s 9. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 14.703s +0.096s 10. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 14.708s +0.101s 11. Ryan Newman Childress Chevrolet 14.741s +0.134s 12. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 14.759s +0.152s 13. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 14.762s Round 1 14. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 14.772s Round 1 15. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota 14.774s Round 1 16. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 14.796s Round 1 17. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 14.796s Round 1 18. Jamie McMurray Ganassi Chevrolet 14.800s Round 1 19. Justin Allgaier HScott Chevrolet 14.810s Round 1 20. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 14.848s Round 1 21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 14.855s Round 1 22. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Chevrolet 14.856s Round 1 23. Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row Chevrolet 14.892s Round 1 24. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 14.903s Round 1 25. Jeff Burton Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 14.935s Round 1 26. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet 14.960s Round 1 27. Alex Bowman BK Toyota 14.992s Round 1 28. Michael McDowell Leavine Ford 14.994s Round 1 29. David Ragan Front Row Ford 15.004s Round 1 30. Josh Wise Parsons Chevrolet 15.048s Round 1 31. Brett Moffitt NEMCO Toyota 15.053s Round 1 32. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 15.055s Round 1 33. Ryan Truex BK Toyota 15.057s Round 1 34. Cole Whitt BK Toyota 15.066s Round 1 35. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 15.099s Round 1 36. Reed Sorenson Baldwin Chevrolet 15.102s Round 1 37. JJ Yeley Go FAS Ford 15.184s Round 1 38. Michael Annett Baldwin Chevrolet 15.200s Round 1 39. Landon Cassill Hillman Chevrolet 15.301s Round 1 40. Kyle Larson Ganassi Chevrolet 15.356s Round 1 41. David Stremme Circle Sport Chevrolet 15.506s Round 1 42. Aric Almirola Petty Ford Round 1 43. Casey Mears Germain Chevrolet Round 1