Josef Newgarden enjoyed his return to Detroit this week, with the Team Penske driver setting a 1:15.215s lap time to earn himself pole position for Sunday's race.
Helio Castroneves started Q3 the brighest, with the Brazlilian rising to the top of the timesheets with a 1:15.453s early on.
Newgarden was unable to topple Castroneves, while rookie David Malukas also failed to better the time.
Takuma Sato eventually shuffled about the top of the times with a 1:15.349, but the Japanese driver was pushed down to second late on, when Newgarden pipped him to pole.
Meyer Shank Racing's Simon Pagenaud will line up third, while Castroneves had to settle for fourth on the grid.
Arrow McLaren's Pato O'ward rounds off the top five, with Malukas wrapping up the Firestone Fast Six.
Despite finishing sixth in Q1, Romain Grosjean will line up 12th for Andretti Motorsport after a less convincing Q2 session.
Grosjean's teammate Colton Herta fared far better in Q2, with the American only narrowly missing out on the Fast Six with his 1:15.104 only placing him seventh.
Rinus VeeKay, Will Power, and defending champion Alex Palou all endured frustrating Q1 sessions and were the surprise eliminations in the Detroit qualifying.
The race around the bumpy 2.35-mile, 14-turn course is scheduled to start on Sunday evening, with the start scheduled for 20:00 BST.