Ragan, driving a Ford prepared by Roush Fenway Racing, turned a lap of 182.994 mph around the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis track Saturday.
Kasey Kahne of the Red Bull team was second with a lap of 182.927 mph and will start next to Ragan on the front row.
Reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, a three-time winner of the Brickyard 400, qualified third and Kurt Busch of Penske Racing was fourth.
Jeff Gordon, who has won a record four Cup races at Indy, qualified eighth while Dale Earnhardt Jr., his teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, qualified 22nd.
Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Hope Solo, goalkeeper of the U.S. women's national soccer team, would drive the pace car at Sunday's race, which starts at 10 a.m. PDT.
--Jim Peltz in Indianapolis
Photo: Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives his No. 88 Chevrolet through the garage area at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday before qualifying for the Brickyard 400. Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images