Jimmie Johnson beat AJ Allmendinger to pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase race at Dover.
The reigning champion, who had a troubled start to the Chase last week at New Hampshire, bounced back to win his second pole of the season, making the most of his late qualifying draw.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver was the 34th car in the order and after working hard on his qualifying setup during the morning practice, he was able to just edge Richard Petty's Allmendinger, who had set the previous benchmark.
A year ago Johnson went on to dominate at the track known as the "Monster Mile" after starting from pole, a feat he hopes to be able to accomplish for the second season in a row to give a much needed boost to his points tally.
"There are still nine races left and no time to panic," Johnson said. "We don't need to change what we're doing, we know we're a great race team and we've just got to go race for this thing. [In] this year's Chase every guy in is ready to race and we know that we are and now is time to get to work."
Allmendinger will share the front row of the grid with Johnson, while Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr will line up behind them, ahead of Chase leader Denny Hamlin, the only other title contender among the top five in the order.
Juan Pablo Montoya was sixth, stretching his unmatched sequence of top 10 starts to 10 events, while Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch also claimed top 10 starting spots for Sunday's race.
Following a day of controversy surrounding the penalties imposed on Clint Bowyer, the Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets struggled in qualifying, all finishing the session 25th or worse, with Kevin Harvick all the way down in 34th as the worst of the Chase contenders.
Casey Mears was the best of the non-guaranteed drivers in 27th, driving the No. 13 Germain Racing Toyota, while Jeff Green, Josh Wise and Ted Musgrave failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Car Speed Time Gap
1. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 155.736 23.116s
2. AJ Allmendinger Ford 155.642 23.130s + 0.014s
3. Mark Martin Chevrolet 155.561 23.142s + 0.026s
4. Martin Truex Jr Toyota 155.353 23.173s + 0.057s
5. Denny Hamlin Toyota 155.320 23.178s + 0.062s
6. Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 155.052 23.218s + 0.102s
7. Greg Biffle Ford 155.032 23.221s + 0.105s
8. Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 155.032 23.221s + 0.105s
9. Kurt Busch Dodge 154.825 23.252s + 0.136s
10. Paul Menard Ford 154.766 23.261s + 0.145s
11. Carl Edwards Ford 154.699 23.271s + 0.155s
12. Reed Sorenson Toyota 154.619 23.283s + 0.167s
13. Kyle Busch Toyota 154.619 23.283s + 0.167s
14. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 154.593 23.287s + 0.171s
15. Matt Kenseth Ford 154.533 23.296s + 0.180s
16. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 154.520 23.298s + 0.182s
17. Kasey Kahne Ford 154.414 23.314s + 0.198s
18. David Reutimann Toyota 154.367 23.321s + 0.205s
19. Regan Smith Chevrolet 154.348 23.324s + 0.208s
20. Joey Logano Toyota 154.228 23.342s + 0.226s
21. Scott Speed Toyota 154.123 23.358s + 0.242s
22. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 154.083 23.364s + 0.248s
23. Elliott Sadler Ford 154.037 23.371s + 0.255s
24. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 154.017 23.374s + 0.258s
25. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 153.997 23.377s + 0.261s
26. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 153.741 23.416s + 0.300s
27. Casey Mears Toyota 153.721 23.419s + 0.303s
28. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 153.682 23.425s + 0.309s
29. Joe Nemechek Toyota 153.662 23.428s + 0.312s
30. David Ragan Ford 153.656 23.429s + 0.313s
31. Travis Kvapil Ford 153.322 23.480s + 0.364s
32. Brad Keselowski Dodge 153.302 23.483s + 0.367s
33. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 153.211 23.497s + 0.381s
34. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 153.048 23.522s + 0.406s
35. Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 152.990 23.531s + 0.415s
36. David Gilliland Ford 152.957 23.536s + 0.420s
37. JJ Yeley Dodge 152.944 23.538s + 0.422s
38. Dave Blaney Chevrolet 152.562 23.597s + 0.481s
39. Mike Bliss Toyota 152.433 23.617s + 0.501s
40. Landon Cassill Chevrolet 152.355 23.629s + 0.513s
41. Michael McDowell Dodge 151.796 23.716s + 0.600s
42. Jeff Green Ford 151.675 23.735s + 0.619s
43. Josh Wise Toyota 150.546 23.913s + 0.797s
44. Kevin Conway Toyota 150.301 23.952s + 0.836s
45. Tony Raines Ford 149.701 24.048s + 0.932s
46. Ted Musgrave Toyota 149.483 24.083s + 0.967s