Win advances Johnson in Chase: ‘Good things ahead for us’

From Hendrick Motorsports

CONCORD, N.C. — To start the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Jimmie Johnson won two of the first five races.

But after his March 20 win in Fontana, California, the driver went 24 races with Victory Lane eluding him.

“We don’t sugarcoat things internally,” Johnson said. “Behind closed doors, we’re realists and we were not happy with where our cars were during the summer.”

Then came the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

The No. 48 team has improved its finish in each of the four postseason races thus far, from 12th at Chicagoland Speedway all the way to first Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Really we just fell back on what we are made of at Hendrick Motorsports,” Johnson said. “There is a culture there and a belief. It was not fun to experience after all that we have been through, but we have seen the cars get stronger, better and faster. We were able to execute all day long here.”

Johnson earned his third victory of the season Sunday in the Bank of America 500, with Kasey Kahne joining him inside the top three in third.

And both Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman were running inside of the top five when multiple-car incidents took them out of the race prematurely.

“You get this machine of Hendrick Motorsports rolling and some momentum on our side, we can accomplish a lot,” Johnson said. “I think all four cars are showing that, and we’ve got a lot more to show the rest of the year.”

Johnson is now locked into the Round of 8 in the Chase for the first time since the elimination format was introduced in 2014.

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