DOVER, DE (WFXG) - NASCAR's Challenger round ended Sunday afternoon at the Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware with Jeff Gordon picking up his first win of the Chase.
Kevin Harvick seemed to have the field cover in the early going until mechanical issues put him back deep in the pack.
"I think Kevin definitely was the car to beat today, and I don't know if -- even on long runs we could reel him in a little bit, but I don't know if we could have passed him," said Gordon on his biggest competitor.
With Harvick out of the way, Gordon took total control of the race which was bad news for the field but also sent a message that his team is in championship form.
"I'm excited about our chances," continued Gordon looking ahead to the next two rounds of the Chase. "Not just these next three but all the way to Homestead."
As Gordon looks ahead to the Contender round, AJ Allmendinger , Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola saw their Championship hopes go away by not making it inside the top 12 in Chase points.
"This is very interesting how this format is playing out," said Gordon "These next three races are going to be tougher than the last three, and it's going to be tougher after those three."
Gordon has had a strong team all season but with the Chase now underway he feels that his team has just the right ingredients to go all the way.
"I think that we're a team that, again, is strong enough to win, but also good enough to be consistent, and I think that's what's going to get you through to the next round, and ultimately I think what it's going to take to win this championship," observed Gordon on his view of the future.
Gordon's victory shows that the Chase is really a three team race right now with Gordon, Harvick, and Brad Keselowski as the frontrunners. However, you have to progress from one round to the next and anything can happen.