Rookie Brian Vickers grabbed his second pole of the season at California Speedway with a lap of 187.417 mph. Vickers bested the field by nearly a full mile-per-hour to garner his second career Budweiser pole award.
"It's pretty exciting for me to come here and start out front. We just want to build some momentum and have a good race."
Jeremy Mayfield went out near the end of the pecking order, but managed to earn the outside pole with a lap of 186.364 mph.
"It all worked out good," said Mayfield of not racing in Darlington this weekend. "It's tough not being there this weekend, but with the hurricane coming and all it seems for the best. But there is still the tradition of this weekend and not being there, and it makes it tough."
Part-timer, Bill Elliott, takes the green flag from the third spot in the No. 98 Dodge with a lap of 186.306 mph.
"We had some problems," said Elliott. "But we got them squared away before qualifying. From my standpoint, I know kinda what I wanted, sometimes I don't know what I am looking for until I find it. And today it just worked out for us.
"It just seems like this is where we are supposed to be this weekend."
Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne completed the top five.
"It was just a weird car today," Busch said. "We finally put it all together. We were chasing ourselves with one question versus another question and we scienced it all out right before we went and qualified. We just put what we thought we needed to have under it."
Forty-eight cars attempted to qualify for the forty-three car field. Failing to make the show were Kevin LePage, Hermie Sadler, Mike Wallace, Morgan Shepard, and Kirk Shelmerdine.
This is the first fall Cup date for California Speedway since NASCAR announced that the traditional Southern 500 date for Labor Day weekend would be shifted to Fontana, California.