Jimmie Johnson took his first NASCAR Sprint Cup pole position of the year during qualifying for Sunday's Charlotte 600.
The Hendrick Chevrolet driver denied Brad Keselowski's Penske Ford at the end of the pole shootout.
Kasey Kahne had set an benchmark of 27.890s in the third and final part of qualifying, and it stood until Keselowski took the top spot with a 27.754s with just under two minutes of the session remaining.
Seconds later, Johnson crossed the line to record a 27.705s, which would remain unbeaten for the rest of the session - meaning the defending Cup champion will start from pole position at Charlotte for the fourth time in his career, ahead of Keselowski and Kahne.
Danica Patrick, who set the pace during the second part of qualifying, will start from fourth position - her best Cup qualifying effort since her 2013 Daytona 500 pole.
Clint Bowyer was the best of the Toyota drivers in fifth place.
Matt Kenseth and last May's winner Kevin Harvick both left it too late to take to the track in the final session to set a time and will therefore start from 11th and 12th places respectively, just behind practice pacesetter Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It was a disappointing session for Kansas winner and points leader Jeff Gordon, who was knocked out in the opening segment and will start Sunday's race down in 27th, one place behind last Saturday's All-Star race winner Jamie McMurray.
Also among the first qualifying casualties was Kurt Busch, who is becoming the first driver in a decade to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Charlotte 600.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 27.705s 2. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 27.754s +0.049s 3. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 27.890s +0.185s 4. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 27.931s +0.226s 5. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 27.944s +0.239s 6. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 27.962s +0.257s 7. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 27.966s +0.261s 8. Joey Logano Penske Ford 28.056s +0.351s 9. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 28.173s +0.468s 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 28.232s +0.527s 11. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 12. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 13. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 28.024s Q2 14. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 28.054s Q2 15. Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row Chevrolet 28.061s Q2 16. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota 28.121s Q2 17. Justin Allgaier HScott Chevrolet 28.133s Q2 18. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.136s Q2 19. Brian Scott Circle Sport Chevrolet 28.142s Q2 20. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Chevrolet 28.150s Q2 21. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 28.168s Q2 22. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 28.424s Q2 23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford 28.540s Q2 24. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 29.293s Q2 25. Kyle Larson Ganassi Chevrolet 28.296s Q1 26. Jamie McMurray Ganassi Chevrolet 28.383s Q1 27. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 28.470s Q1 28. Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.488s Q1 29. Alex Bowman BK Toyota 28.494s Q1 30. Michael McDowell Leavine Ford 28.549s Q1 31. Cole Whitt BK Toyota 28.554s Q1 32. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet 28.562s Q1 33. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 28.612s Q1 34. Casey Mears Germain Chevrolet 28.642s Q1 35. David Ragan Front Row Ford 28.654s Q1 36. Ryan Truex BK Toyota 28.659s Q1 37. Josh Wise Parsons Chevrolet 28.684s Q1 38. Joe Nemechek Robinson Toyota 28.729s Q1 39. Michael Annett Baldwin Chevrolet 28.753s Q1 40. Landon Cassill Hillman Chevrolet 28.791s Q1 41. Reed Sorenson Baldwin Chevrolet 28.845s Q1 42. Ryan Newman Childress Chevrolet 28.894s Q1 43. Blake Koch FAS Lane Ford 29.043s Q1 Did not qualify: JJ Yeley Xxxtreme Toyota 28.714s Dave Blaney Humprey Smith Ford 28.855s