KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- For Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team, a seventh championship is still firmly in their sights.
“It’s definitely more realistic because we are alive and transferring to the Round of 8," he said Friday at Kansas Speedway. "There is still so much racing between now and then. We have had some consistent runs, so definitely building confidence in that."
After back-to-back top-10 finishes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway, Johnson found Victory Lane last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The win clinched a berth in the third round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup -- the first time Johnson has advanced to the Round of 8 since the elimination format was introduced in 2014.
"The victory is a huge boost, there is no way around that for myself, my crew members -- everybody at Hendrick Motorsports," Johnson said. "We are definitely building momentum at the right time."
Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said that momentum has been the result of a lot of hard work throughout the organization.
"The teams pulled together tighter than they've ever been, and we could see it," Hendrick said. "Everybody just really rolled up their sleeves. It came with a little bit here, a little bit there, and then it paid off."
Now, Chase Elliott will look to join Johnson in the third round of NASCAR's postseason, with two more opportunities to secure his spot -- this weekend at Kansas Speedway and next week at Talladega Superspeedway.
As for Johnson, he and his team will look to keep the pressure on themselves in those two races so that they will "be at 100 percent" when the three races in the Round of 8 arrive.
The driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS said the team won't let itself get complacent with the ultimate goal still in reach.
"We need to make sure we are part of that final four," he said, "and there is a lot of work between now and then.”