Tony Stewart beat Juan Pablo Montoya to pole position for Sunday's Sprint Cup series race at Pocono Raceway.
The Stewart-Haas driver and owner beat the previous benchmark set by Earnhardt Ganassi's Montoya, putting in a lap of 52.511 seconds at an average speed of 171.393 mph, less than a tenth of a second faster than the Colombian.
Stewart will start from pole for the second time this year, and also the second at Pocono, a track where he has won twice in the past.
"I'm a little surprised by myself," said Stewart. "I'm not a qualifier and this has always been my weak suit but if you're going to pick a place where you want to have track position, this is it.
"If I don't go out like I did last year and crash the thing in Happy Hour [practice] we'll have a good starting spot."
Montoya will start from the front row for the second week in a row, following his pole position at Indianapolis, where he looked to be closing in on his maiden oval win before a strategy decision dropped him back in the final stages of the race. Like Stewart, he was surprised by his qualifying lap.
"When I crossed the line I was waiting for the guys to say I was like P15 or something and he says P1! I was like 'Are you serious or are you joking with me?'" said Montoya. "I'm kind of happy I guess... we're trying a bit of a different approach with the car and it seems to be working."
Four-time Pocono winner Denny Hamlin was third fastest despite admitting his car was not at its optimum for a flying lap, suffering a spin earlier in practice. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was the fastest Toyota and will share the second row of the grid with fellow four-time winner at the tri-oval Jeff Gordon, who was the best among the Hendrick Motorsports camp.
His team-mate Jimmie Johnson had paced practice earlier in the day and ended up sixth in qualifying, right behind Stewart's team-mate Ryan Newman. Richard Petty's AJ Allmendinger was the fastest Ford in seventh, while the Chevrolets of Richard Childress Racing's Jeff Burton, Brickyard 400 winner Jamie McMurray and Hendrick's Mark Martin rounded out the top 10.
Brad Keselowski was the fastest Dodge in 11th, while also in a Charger, JJ Yeley was best among those having to qualify on speed taking 30th on the grid for Sunday's 500-miler. David Stremme and Max Papis both failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Car Speed Time Gap 1. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 171.393 52.511s 2. Juan Montoya Chevrolet 171.096 52.602s + 0.091s 3. Denny Hamlin Toyota 170.371 52.826s + 0.315s 4. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 170.222 52.872s + 0.361s 5. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 169.936 52.961s + 0.450s 6. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 169.901 52.972s + 0.461s 7. AJ Allmendinger Ford 169.879 52.979s + 0.468s 8. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 169.770 53.013s + 0.502s 9. Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 169.696 53.036s + 0.525s 10. Mark Martin Chevrolet 169.613 53.062s + 0.551s 11. Brad Keselowski Dodge 169.543 53.084s + 0.573s 12. Greg Biffle Ford 169.447 53.114s + 0.603s 13. Kurt Busch Dodge 169.441 53.116s + 0.605s 14. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 169.163 53.203s + 0.692s 15. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 169.122 53.216s + 0.705s 16. Kasey Kahne Ford 169.100 53.223s + 0.712s 17. Joey Logano Toyota 169.024 53.247s + 0.736s 18. David Ragan Ford 168.995 53.256s + 0.745s 19. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 168.700 53.349s + 0.838s 20. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 168.672 53.358s + 0.847s 21. Kyle Busch Toyota 168.669 53.359s + 0.848s 22. Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 168.602 53.380s + 0.869s 23. Paul Menard Ford 168.413 53.440s + 0.929s 24. David Reutimann Toyota 168.366 53.455s + 0.944s 25. Carl Edwards Ford 168.347 53.461s + 0.950s 26. Matt Kenseth Ford 168.294 53.478s + 0.967s 27. Scott Speed Toyota 168.083 53.545s + 1.034s 28. Martin Truex Jr Toyota 167.951 53.587s + 1.076s 29. Elliott Sadler Ford 167.813 53.631s + 1.120s 30. JJ Yeley Dodge 167.629 53.690s + 1.179s 31. Reed Sorenson Toyota 167.370 53.773s + 1.262s 32. Travis Kvapil Ford 167.330 53.786s + 1.275s 33. Joe Nemechek Toyota 167.156 53.842s + 1.331s 34. Regan Smith Chevrolet 166.988 53.896s + 1.385s 35. Landon Cassill Chevrolet 166.988 53.896s + 1.385s 36. Michael McDowell Toyota 166.979 53.899s + 1.388s 37. David Gilliland Ford 166.457 54.068s + 1.557s 38. Dave Blaney Toyota 166.392 54.089s + 1.578s 39. Casey Mears Chevrolet 166.322 54.112s + 1.601s 40. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 165.511 54.377s + 1.866s 41. Kevin Conway Ford 164.165 54.823s + 2.312s 42. PJ Jones Toyota - - - 43. Todd Bodine Toyota 166.276 54.127s + 1.616s