Denny Hamlin has won the pole for the second straight year at Fontana, turning a lap of 187.451 mph in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Greg Biffle finished second and Brad Keselowski was third in Friday's qualifying session, but they'll start at the back after engine changes.
Hamlin earned his first pole of the season and the 13th of his career. He won three last year, and has won the pole three times at Auto Club Speedway.
Biffle was right behind at 187.217 mph in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Keselowski was third, beating Kyle Busch's 187.130 mph in fourth place.
But Biffle and Keselowski both had engine issues in practice.
Defending champion Tony Stewart qualified eighth.