Briscoe, the series points leader with three races to go, ran a four-lap average of 215.364 mph around around the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway oval.
He earned a point for winning the pole, giving him a five-point lead over Dario Franchitti going into the race.
Helio Castroneves had the second-fastest qualifying effort, followed by Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal.
Castroneves won last year's race by inches over Scott Dixon in one of the closest finishes in IndyCar history.
Danica Patrick, who has avoided questions in recent weeks concerning rumors she will move to NASCAR next year, qualified 10th.