Johnson, trying to claim his sixth series title, will go into the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 28-point lead over Kenseth. A finish of 23rd or better will give Johnson the championship even if Kenseth wins the race.
Kenseth, seeking his second Sprint Cup crown, turned a lap at 177.667 miles per hour to win his third pole of the year and the 11th of his career.
Johnson was able to open his big lead in the points race when Kenseth wound up 23rd at Phoenix in the next-to-last race of 2013. Kenseth had trailed Johnson by only seven points heading into that race.