Coming off the midweek penalty that stripped him of an automatic berth to the Championship 4, Kevin Harvick posted a lap of 139.340 mph to win the pole for the Cup race at Phoenix.
Suspended crew chief Rodney Childers, who watched qualifying from the shop in North Carolina, tweeted his approval.
Harvick beat fellow playoff contender Chase Elliott (139.152 mph) by .035 seconds.
Martin Truex Jr. failed inspection three times before qualifying so car chief Blake Harris was ejected from the garage. Truex also will lose 30 minutes in Saturday’s final practice. He posted a lap of 138.339 mph and qualified 13th.
Other playoff contenders: Kyle Busch (138.707 mph) qualified sixth, Joey Logano (138.254) qualified ninth, Kurt Busch (138.180) qualified 14th, Clint Bowyer (137.878) qualified 16th and Aric Almirola (137.720) qualified 18th.