Johnson made his fastest lap around the 0.526-mile oval at 98.400 mph Friday. He broke the track record of 98.083 mph held by Tony Stewart. It is the 30th pole position of Johnson's career, and his third in 23 starts at Martinsville.
Five other drivers also eclipsed Stewart's mark on a cooling, later afternoon surface, led by Marcos Ambrose at 98.364.
Stewart, whose team has struggled through the first five races of the season, qualified 26th.
Kansas Native Clint Bowyer qualified 15th, but he is still optimistic for Sunday."It didn't work out as well as I would have like,” said Bowyer. “We were just too loose all the way around. I knew when I was loose in practice that I'd probably be loose in qualifying, but I don't think I realized just how much it would change. We'll be fine. We'll get it figured out and be ready for Sunday."