RICHMOND, Va. — Every indication the last three months is that Joe Gibbs Racing is going to be a major force in NASCAR’s playoffs.

But if anyone thinks JGR’s four-car lineup is going to run away with the title, reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick has other ideas.

Harvick, who finished 14th in the regular-season finale Saturday night, gave no indication he’s intimidated by JGR. Matt Kenseth won at Richmond International Raceway for his third victory in six races, and JGR’s eighth win in 11 Cup events.

Because those eight wins have been divided between Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, Harvick doesn’t see one standout team in the group capable of sustaining a 10-race playoff run.

“You can’t be good once every three weeks, you’ve got to be good for 10 weeks,” Harvick said. “I know those guys have run fast, (but) it’s been a different Gibbs car that we’ve raced against for the last 10 weeks. As a company, they’ve had some good success in winning races, but it hasn’t been the same car.

“Hopefully they’ll be peaky like they normally are and we can capitalize on the solid momentum we’ve had throughout the last two years and do what we have to do.”

The Chase begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in the second year of its elimination-style format. Harvick prevailed last season with three Chase victories, including the finale. But he was also consistent, with just one finish lower than 13th.

Under the Chase format that went into effect last year, four drivers will be eliminated after every three races, leaving four drivers to compete for the championship in the final race. A win automatically advances a driver to the next three-race segment.

WATCHING THE COMPETITION: There was a great deal of satisfaction at Chip Ganassi Racing when Jamie McMurray took the green flag Saturday night and wrapped up his first career berth in the Chase.

But it’s been almost three years since McMurray’s last victory, and he’s only got one win in almost six seasons.

Team owner Chip Ganassi, who just celebrated the IndyCar championship, understands the organization needs to be better for McMurray to have his own shot at a title.

“I think we can give it a shot here, I think we can drill ourselves deep into it,” Ganassi said. “(But) the final four, looks like it might be one team the way I’m looking at it. I noticed for a while we were running first and second in class, but I think we were fifth and sixth.”