NASCAR's most popular driver will lead the start of one of NASCAR's biggest races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole position for the Richmond Chase cutoff race on Friday afternoon, and he'll start up front in Saturday night's race – his P1 in qualifying since the 2011 Daytona 500.
Earnhardt Jr. was the only driver to top 127 mph (127.023), and he'll start on the front row alongside Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon – who has much more at stake on Saturday night.
Gordon must either win the race or finish ahead of Kyle Busch in the regular season point standings while hoping another one-win driver doesn't get the final Chase wild card spot with a victory.
"It's really Kyle's to lose," Gordon said. "For us, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. ... I'm just thankful we've performed as well as we have the last couple weeks to give ourselves a shot."
Regan Smith, Clint Bowyer and Hendrick's Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five. Busch will start 15th, which will put a bit more pressure on the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
JJ Yeley and Mark Green failed to qualify for Saturday's race.
Here is the starting lineup for Saturday night's NASCAR Chase cutoff race at Richmond International Raceway: