His Hendrick Motorsports teammates Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon will start second and third.
Johnson, the three-time defending series champion, has a 118-point advantage over Martin with four races remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. But Talladega is his weakest track, and he's got a 17.7 average finish.
He's started from the pole at Talladega two other times, both in his 2002 rookie season.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.