A.J. Allmendinger was No. 1 for much of qualifying, but a blistering 194.616 mph lap by Austin Dillon late in the session gave the rookie the pole for the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Dillon and Allmendinger will lead a field of 23 drivers trying to advance to Saturday's All-Star Race with a top-two finish Friday night. An additional entrant to be named following the Showdown will be selected by fans.
Sharing Row 2 are Kyle Larson and Clint Bowyer. Marcos Ambrose, Paul Menard, Danica Patrick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Casey Mears and Aric Almirola complete the top 10 qualifiers.
Patrick won the fan vote a year ago and is expected to repeat, provided she doesn't finish first or second Friday.
"My fans are awesome," Patrick said. "There are so many of them that defend me and support me to the bitter end. It's cool that they can play a part in my racing career. For them to be able to use their voice or their fingers to vote for me ... I am really fortunate for that. And hopefully that happens; and if not, then not. Definitely every driver wants to race their way in and not even have to think about the fan vote, and that is my plan tonight."
Qualifying consisted of single-car runs with drivers taking two laps around the 1.5-mile, as opposed to the group qualifying format NASCAR uses during the season.
The Showdown is split into two 20-lap segments. A five-lap caution period will occur in between when teams can pit if they choose, but they risk losing track position.
Sprint Showdown starting lineup
|8||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Ford||192.623|