Jimmie Johnson believes his win in Sunday's Chase race at Dover to be a big boost for his team as it continues to get closer to the goal of winning a fourth consecutive Sprint Cup title.
The reigning champion has now closed to within 10 points of leader Mark Martin in the standings, following his fourth win of the season and only the veteran's consistency has kept him ahead, following a dominant showing from Johnson.
The 34-year-old believes his victory not only to be a morale booster for his team but also one that gives it a clearer direction technically, as some of its findings on the track from this weekend will be helpful at some of the coming intermediate tracks.
"Winning a race and putting the team in that situation and the driver, the pressure that comes with the race win and to pull it off, it does a lot for you mentally," said Johnson.
"It also gives us some direction. This track even though it looks nothing like some of the other tracks we go to, oddly enough the mile and a half when we go to this setup, works at those tracks.
"So there are a couple of things there that are very comfortable for us, and from a confidence standpoint, it's the most. We've had a tire changer slip a disc. Jeremy West who had worked for us all season long last year. And had somebody, a new guy, back there changing rears.
"So they go to victory lane and get that monkey off his back, and the pressure off his back and perform all day long. It's helpful. Just a great shot in the arm for everybody."
Johnson, who has won three out of the five championships decided under the Chase format since it was first implemented, believes that the reason for his success lies in the tracks that the series visits during the play-off, which he reckons to be some of his best.
"I really think it boils down to the tracks that are in the Chase," said Johnson. "They're just very good for the 48 team. If you look at race wins and the start of the season fall races, it correlates between those two.
"The tracks that start the season are kind of in the Chase as well, and those are very, very good tracks for us. At the end of the day, that's what it boils down to in my eyes."
Despite being dominant at Dover earlier this year, Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus took a new car to Sunday's race, implementing some of the latest developments. The car was actually tested at the same venue during the Goodyear tire test they participated in last month.
Knaus praised his team's motivation and teammates Mark Martin and Alan Gustafson for the strong rivalry they're setting up in the hunt for this year's title.
"Our team is pretty easily motivated," said Knaus. "We came in here after winning in the spring [race] wanting to do really well. We brought a different racecar, a car that we thought was going to be better than we had in the spring. Man, I am glad it worked cause I would have looked pretty dumb if it hadn't.
"It is a really neat thing we have got going on at Hendrick Motorsports with Mark [Martin] finishing second, congrats to those guys and [crew chief] Alan Gustafson. They are great competitors and a lot of fun to race against."
Johnson has won at nine of the 10 tracks in the Chase and has claimed now 17 victories in Chase races over the past five years, far better than any of his title rivals.