Briscoe recorded a track-record lap of 1:28.5970 seconds -- 136.935 mph - in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda during the 10-minute Firestone Fast Six session around the famous 3.37-mile, 11-turn road course. It is the fifth consecutive pole at Watkins Glen for Team Penske.
"I'm excited for Team Penske," said Briscoe, who also won the pole position at Watkins Glen last year. "I love this place. I came in after (qualifying session) 2 and had the run on the new red tires, then posted the (fast lap). It's unbelievable the speeds you can carry through the turns out there today."
Teammate Helio Castroneves, who won the pole at Watkins Glen in 2005, 2006 and 2007, will start 14th Sunday after he was bumped out of the first 20-minute qualifying session.
"Needless to say, qualifying was a bit frustrating because the Team Penske car is better than where we qualified," Castroneves said. "It took us a little longer to get up to speed than we thought it would and we just didn't have enough time to get a fast lap in there at the end of the session. I was hoping we'd be able to get one more lap before the end, but we just didn't have the chance."
For Briscoe, Saturday's performance represented his second pole of the year - he also led qualifying in May at Milwaukee. It was his first road course pole since Edmonton in 2008 and the sixth of his IndyCar Series career.
"Qualifying was a bit circumstantial at the end, but it's hard to break away," Briscoe said. "There are long straights here, and there's a lot of stiff competition."
Briscoe's blistering time broke the previous qualifying record at the Glen, set by Castroneves in 2007.
"It's a long race, and a lot can happen," Briscoe said. "We'll probably get a couple of cautions and it will just pack the field up again. That's usually the case whenever someone gets away a little bit. It's going to be a tough one tomorrow, but first we'll just go try to get a good start and then go from there."
This marks the 45th IndyCar Series pole for Team Penske/Penske Racing.
Sunday's 60-lap race is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live by ABC-TV.