The Richmond event will be the final chance to qualify for the series of races that will determine the 2013 champion. The chase begins next week with a race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., and ends at Homestead, Fla., on Nov. 17.
The Top 10 point earners plus two wild card entrants will battle for the championship. Gordon, who is 11th in the standings just six points behind Kurt Busch, turned in a track qualifying record of 130.599 miles per hour to capture the pole.
It was Gordon's first pole of the season and the 73rd of his Sprint Cup career. He has won at least one pole for 21 straight years, breaking the record he had shared with David Pearson.
Busch will start next to Gordon after qualifying second at 130.334 mph. Neither Busch nor Gordon has won a race this year.
Jimmie Johnson, Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kenseth and Kasey Kahne have all clinched spots in the championship chase -- Kahne having done so as a wild card by virtue of his two wins this year.