At the buzzer, Denny Hamlin stole the Coors Light Pole Award for the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The No. 11 jumped to the top of the leaderboard with a lap of 173.980 mph. He bumped championship contender Martin Truex Jr. from the top spot and what would have been a sweep of all three rounds in qualifying. Truex will start second, the best of the playoff drivers, with a lap of 173.952 mph.
“We had them there by a little bit,” Hamlin said of his second pole of the season and at Homestead. “I messed up [Turns] 3 and 4 a bunch, but obviously a great run. We did great adjustments there in between runs and our FedEx Camry was very fast that last run.
“Love this racetrack. Wish we would have our chance [at the championship] but it’ll be another day, another year for us.”
Kyle Busch qualified third at 173.930 mph. Matt Kenseth was fourth fastest at 172.678 mph with Brad Keselowski clocking in fifth fastest at 172.452 mph.
Completing the top 10 were Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (172.359 mph), Kyle Larson (172.205 mph), Kurt Busch (172.106 mph), Kevin Harvick (171.876 mph) and rookie Daniel Suarez (171.789 mph). Harvick was the slowest of the Championship 4 drivers.
“It was a good day overall,” Truex said of besting his competition on the first day of championship weekend. “That [final round] was a little dramatic. We missed it a little bit that last round, lost more grip than I anticipated and we made some adjustments knowing it was going to go that way, just not far enough.
“Proud of this group, definitely really good day. Just five one-thousandths, I guess, off from being a perfect day.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start at the rear of the field in his final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start. The No. 88 put down the 15th quickest lap in the first round but did not attempt a lap in the second round to conserve tires; he will start at the rear of the field after changing engines in the first practice.
Danica Patrick will start 25th in her final start with Stewart-Haas Racing and her second-to-last NASCAR start.
NEXT UP: Practice at 10 a.m. ET Saturday.