Despite Brad Keselowski's advantage over his fellow playoff contenders, Hendrick Motorsports remains the organization to beat in the Chase due to sheer numbers.
Not only has the organization proven there is strength in its depth, but the four HMS teams -- as well as the satellite squads at Stewart-Haas Racing -- showed their ability to contend on Sunday with five of the six cars among that group finishing eighth or better.
Jimmie Johnson led the charge for Hendrick. He paced 172 of 267 laps before Brad Keselowski assumed the lead on Lap 242 and held the point for the final 26 circuits.
"We just got beat there," Johnson said over the radio but reminded the team, "nine more to go."
Although Johnson ran a competitive race, he lost focus on Lap 236 when he thought Keselowski blended into traffic too early following his stop.
"Is he allowed to come up on the track that early?" Johnson asked crew chief Chad Knaus as drivers cycled through the field during pit stops. "It screwed me up...