RICHMOND, Va. — Joe Gibbs Racing cemented itself as the team to beat for NASCAR’s championships with a dominating run Saturday night that ended in Matt Kenseth’s fourth win of the season.

The win put Kenseth in a tie with JGR teammate Kyle Busch and six-time champion Jimmie Johnson for the top seeds in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. The 10-race playoff series begins next Sunday at Chicagoland.

Kenseth has won three of the last six races, and JGR has won eight of the last 11.

“Certainly right now as a company we’re on a roll,” Kenseth said.

The 16-driver Chase field was set in the regular-season finale, where only four spots were really up for grabs. Jamie McMurray clinched his berth as soon as he took the green flag, but Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer all had to protect their positions.

Gordon had to finish 17th or better to guarantee his slot, and he finished a solid seventh.

Bowyer was in a little bit more of a precarious position, as he came to Richmond ranked 16th in the field and unable to afford any mistakes. He never doubted he was up for the challenge at one of his favorite tracks, and he finished 10th to give Toyota five cars in the Chase field.

It wasn’t supposed to be difficult for Newman or Menard, but the Richard Childress Racing drivers struggled the entire race. They both ended three laps down from the leaders, with Newman 20th and Menard 26th.

Aric Almirola tried to shake up the playoff picture by charging his way to the front. He made it to fourth, but had nothing for the JGR cars. Had Almirola won, he would bumped another driver from the Chase.

Instead, he’ll watch the championship race go on without him after he made it last season with a surprise victory at Daytona.

The points reset now, as the Chase gives the entire field an equal shot to race for the championship. The Chase is divided into three rounds before the Nov. 22 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and a win automatically advances the driver into the next round. Four drivers will be knocked out after every third race.

“It’s a whole new ballgame now,” said reigning series champion Kevin Harvick, who finished a quiet 14th at Richmond.

But it’s unclear if anyone will have enough to challenge JGR.

Denny Hamlin tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee earlier this week, but vowed it wouldn’t affect his performance. He proved that on his home track by charging from 25th – the fourth lowest starting position at Richmond of his career – to take the lead during a segment of the race that was a JGR exhibition.

Hamlin led teammates Busch, Kenseth and Carl Edwards around and around the track as they showed why they’ve been the most dominant team all summer.

Kenseth eventually worked his way to the front, while Busch finished second and Hamlin was fifth.