After qualifying was delayed for 45 minutes by rain, Earnhardt was the first on the track and he turned in a lap of 52.949 seconds over the 2.5-mile circuit.
It was his first pole of the season and the seventh of his Nextel Cup career, the most recent having come in Kansas five years ago.
"The rain cooled the track down and the track dried fast," Earnhardt said. "We kind of stole one today. We had a pretty good car. We were going to be about 10th or so, maybe 15th, so we have to credit the weather and Mother Nature for this one."
Tony Stewart, who has won the last two events in the series, qualified 24th.