Denny Hamlin says last Monday's victory at Pocono Raceway comes as a major boost for his team as the season gets closer to the series' play-off.
The 28-year-old had not won a Sprint Cup race since he claimed victory at Martinsville in March of last year, but he had one of his most commanding performances since then last Monday at Pocono, a track where he won twice in the past already.
Hamlin believes his performance is a reflection of where his team is heading now, only five races away from the start of the Chase.
"That win last week, that was good for me because I've been close sometimes but just wasn't able to finish that," said Hamlin.
"To finally be able to do that and show that dominance and drive through the pack, it's showing that we're getting closer to where we need to be. We're not there yet but we're almost there."
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is currently fifth in the standings and more than 250 points clear of 13th place in the championship. He feels that he can all but secure his place in this year's Chase with a good finish this weekend at Watkins Glen.
He says if he does so, his focus will switch to try to win more races in order to claim bonus points towards his seeding for the play-off.
"I'd say if we're 300 [points] with four to go I'd feel pretty comfortable," Hamlin said. "If we could get a good top-ten here then that should put us close to where we need to be able to just go for race wins from here on now.
"We're going to do all we can to get race wins because it's all about seeding right now. I feel like based on performance there's no reason why we should miss [the Chase]."
Hamlin starts Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race from third on the grid after being the fastest qualifier among the Toyotas.