Hamlin on pole for Sunday's Goody's 500 at Martinsville
Johnson, who qualified second, will be surrounded by all three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers as polesitter Denny Hamlin leads a parade of Sprint Cup Series title contenders to the green flag.
With four races left this season, Johnson leads the series standings by four points over Kenseth. Kevin Harvick and Busch are tied in third, both 26 behind Johnson.
Asked if he was worried about being surrounded by JGR teammates, Johnson quipped: "I wasn't until Kyle got so excited just now."
"You're only as good as your last accomplishment, and mine was only 20 minutes ago," said Hamlin, who earned his fifth pole of the year and 17th of his career.
Hamlin has four career wins at Martinsville, most recently in the fall of 2010. Hamlin is winless this season and has never completed a full season in the Cup series without winning at least one race.
"When racing for the win, I'll be a lot more aggressive with a non-teammate than a teammate," Hamlin said. "I wouldn't take anyone out intentionally."
"I can do things as far as setting the pace as the race starts," Hamlin said. "But Jimmie knows what he's doing. He won't let me goad him into doing something he doesn't want to do."Clint Bowyer qualified fifth, Joey Logano sixth, Jamie McMurray seventh, David Ragan eighth, Jeff Gordon ninth and Harvick 10th.And for the remainder of the drivers in the Chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 12th, Carl Edwards 14th, Ryan Newman 17th, Kurt Busch 19th, Kasey Kahne 25th and Greg Biffle 33rd.
"I'm very happy to be here, the week was a comfortable week; one, from having a decent finish at Talladega and taking the points lead. Then two, rolling into a track that is historically really good for the No. 48," Johnson said.
David Ragan qualified eighth, earning Front Row Motorsports its best start in the Cup series race since the organization's inception in 2005.