Almirola, who was the second-to-last driver to make a qualifying run in the 47-car field, turned a lap at 132.910 mph around the newly paved and reconfigured one-mile track. He edged Edwards by only 0.001 seconds for his fifth career Nationwide pole but his first since July 2007 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
Edwards has the most Nationwide race wins at Phoenix, including a victory one year ago.
Points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualified 11th. Stenhouse holds a 17-point lead over Sadler heading into the penultimate race of the season. They are the only two drivers who remain in championship contention.
The 200-mile race at Phoenix is scheduled to start just after at 3:30 p.m. (et).