Jimmie Johnson is confident that he is gaining momentum following his first win of the season last weekend at Martinsville.
The reigning champion didn't enjoy his best start to the season in the first four races and it took until two weeks ago before he was able to get back in the top-12 in the championship.
After his and Chevrolet's first win of the year last week, Johnson believes he has got his momentum going again now that he is back up to fourth in the championship.
"We know the Chase is a long time from now and we need to keep our priorities in check and worry about making the Chase," Johnson said. "We were outside of it for a while and we've got our momentum going here and we're solidly up in the points right now.
"We've just got to get through this summer and transfer and get our stuff in order and hope we can nail ten good ones again."
Johnson admits he and his team have made some costly mistakes in the first few races of the year, which probably prevented them from getting a win earlier. However he is pleased that performance-wise his start to the year has been much better than last season when they struggled with the handling of the car in the opening races.
"I think we look back and say that at Fontana we made some mistakes and had a shot at a top-three if not a win and ended up ninth," said Johnson. "[At] Vegas, certainly had a shot at winning that thing and we were on pit road when the caution comes out and fight back and end up wrecking.
"So I look at those two and think we could have done better, but we still ran really well. We were above pace at Bristol, won at Martinsville so in general I am very pleased with where we're at.
"I think we could be doing a little bit better in some areas, but I think that our cars are strong and we have some new members on the team and a new season. It just took us a couple weeks to hit our stride and the last couple of weeks we've done a great job of it."
A year ago, Johnson had yet to win his first race of the season and he ranked tenth in the drivers' standings, but he was able to turn his season around to win his third consecutive Sprint Cup series title.
Jimmie Johnson is confident that he is gaining momentum following his first win of the season last weekend at Martinsville. The reigning champion didn't enjoy his best start to the season in the first four races and it took until two weeks ago before he was able to get back in the top-12 in the championship