Jimmie Johnson kept his momentum running from last week's Martinsville win to claim pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Texas.
The Hendrick driver bounced back from being only 27th fastest in Friday practice to set a flying lap of 28.261 seconds at an average speed of 191.076mph. It stood unbeaten for the rest of the session as another 26 subsequent cars attempted, but failed, to knock the Chase leader from pole.
"It was a white knuckle lap," admitted Johnson. "A couple of opportunities kind of lost control there but staying on the throttle definitely kept the car pointing in the right direction and I blasted off a great lap.
"We weren't totally happy when practice ended but we felt a lot better than what the chart showed."
Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle came closest to Johnson's benchmark, running a lap a tenth of a second slower then the five-time champion managed.
Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch, title contender Clint Bowyer and his Michael Waltrip Racing team-mate Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five, followed by Busch's team-mate Joey Logano.
Penske's Brad Keselowski, Johnson's main title rival, had his best qualifying since the Chase started and will line up eighth on the grid, beside Wood Brothers' Trevor Bayne who was seventh fastest at the wheel of the No. 21 Ford, the best-placed among the non-guaranteed drivers. Roush Fenway duo Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth completed the top 10.
Stephen Leicht, Kelly Bires and David Stremme failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 28.261s
2. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 28.364s + 0.103s
3. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 28.402s + 0.141s
4. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 28.411s + 0.150s
5. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 28.422s + 0.161s
6. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 28.457s + 0.196s
7. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 28.480s + 0.219s
8. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 28.491s + 0.230s
9. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 28.500s + 0.239s
10. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 28.502s + 0.241s
11. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 28.527s + 0.266s
12. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 28.530s + 0.269s
13. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 28.573s + 0.312s
14. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 28.575s + 0.314s
15. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 28.583s + 0.322s
16. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 28.602s + 0.341s
17. Sam Hornish Jr Penske Dodge 28.628s + 0.367s
18. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 28.663s + 0.402s
19. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 28.669s + 0.408s
20. Casey Mears Germain Ford 28.672s + 0.411s
21. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.717s + 0.456s
22. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 28.724s + 0.463s
23. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 28.757s + 0.496s
24. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.790s + 0.529s
25. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 28.810s + 0.549s
26. AJ Allmendinger Phoenix Chevrolet 28.817s + 0.556s
27. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 28.823s + 0.562s
28. JJ Yeley Max Q Chevrolet 28.836s + 0.575s
29. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 28.842s + 0.581s
30. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 28.899s + 0.638s
31. Scott Speed Leavine Ford 28.899s + 0.638s
32. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.948s + 0.687s
33. David Ragan Front Row Ford 28.958s + 0.697s
34. Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 28.959s + 0.698s
35. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 28.968s + 0.707s
36. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 28.975s + 0.714s
37. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 29.022s + 0.761s
38. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 29.053s + 0.792s
39. Reed Sorenson Humphrey Smith Toyota 29.077s + 0.816s
40. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 29.204s + 0.943s
41. Landon Cassill BK Toyota 29.287s + 1.026s
42. Ken Schrader FAS Lane Ford 29.696s + 1.435s
43. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 29.097s + 0.836s
Did not qualify:
Stephen Leicht Circle Sport Chevrolet 29.173s + 0.912s
Kelly Bires Go Green Ford 29.494s + 1.233s
David Stremme Inception Toyota 30.568s + 2.307s