Harvick had just laid down a lap which looked good enough to earn his third consecutive pole at the short track when Keselowski followed up with an average lap speed of 127.185 mph to claim the top spot for the Federated Auto Parts 400.
Harvick ended up second (126.559 mph) and Chase Elliott was third (126.174 mph). Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five.
The pole is the third this season for Keselowski, 17th of his NASCAR Cup Series career and second at Richmond. In his only previous start from the pole at Richmond in 2014, he also won the race.
“It was really good. I didn’t really know what to expect since we didn’t do a qualifying run in practice, but we have had some phenomenal short-run speed here the two or three years here,” Keselowski said.
“We haven’t necessarily qualified all that well but when race comes in the short runs we can really make some steam and it showed that here in qualifying. I hope we have the long-run speed because I think there will be a lot of long runs in the race, but certainly qualifying up front, getting the first pit stall and all the things that go with it are certainly great for our team.
“Went all of last year and didn’t have a pole and this year we have three. I’m really proud of my team and happy for us.”
The rest of the top-10 starters are Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr. – who the spring Richmond race – Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson is the only non-playoff driver to qualify in the top-10.