Vickers was the 10th driver on the track in qualifying Friday night, and his speed held up as notable short-track qualifiers Jeff Gordon and hometown star Denny Hamlin made runs at him.
Gordon got the closest at 126.844 mph, but he was forced to settle for the outside of the front row. Hamlin will start third after a lap at 126.665, with Martin Truex Jr. fourth.
"The car was unbelievable," Vickers said. "I told the guys when I came across the line that it was a pretty good one. Whether it was going to be able to hold up, I wasn't sure."
The pole is the seventh of Vickers' career and second this season. He also started first in the second race at Fontana, Calif. It also is his second at Richmond, where he set the track qualifying mark five years ago with a lap at 129.983 mph on the 0.75-mile oval.
NATIONWIDE SERIES: Kyle Busch passed Carl Edwards on the first lap of a restart with 22 laps to go and won the NASCAR at Richmond International Raceway.
Busch, who led four times in the Lipton Tea 250, made the move that counted in the third and fourth turns on the 229th trip around the 0.75-mile oval. Edwards led the previous 71 laps.
The victory was Busch's third in nine starts this season and 13th since the start of last season.