"It feels like a pole," admitted Keselowski. "It may not be a pole, but it feels like a pole to us. Our car has had a ton of speed since we've been here, in race trim, but qualifying trim has been our weakness all year ... I think that bodes very well for us come Sunday."
Other Chase contenders include Matt Kenseth (10th), Denny Hamlin (12th), Kasey Kahne (13th), Jeff Gordon (16th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (19th), reigning champion Tony Stewart (21st) and Kevin Harvick (23rd.)
Danica Patrick qualified for the race on speed in 32nd position. The three drivers not to make the grid were Stephen Leicht, Kelly Bires and Davide Stremme. There will be two more practice sessions available to the Cup field on Saturday ahead of Sunday afternoon's race.
In other news from the NACSR paddock on Friday, it was confirmed that the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team would be switching the supply of its Chevrolet engines from the Richard Childress engine program to that of Hendrick Motorsports in 2013.
"I think they [Earnhardt Ganassi] had been dealing with Hendrick for a while. It wasn't a surprise," said Childress, who denied that EGR's departure from the engine program would have any major repercussions for his company.
Full qualifying and Friday practice times