Brad Keselowski is glad to have come out 'alive' in the championship from Sunday's Chase round at Martinsville, despite losing the points lead to Jimmie Johnson.
The Penske driver overcame a poor qualifying in which he finished 32nd to eventually break into the top ten in the deciding stages, where he made a late gamble to stay on the track when most of the leaders pitted ahead of him for fresh rubber.
Although Johnson eventually made quick work of him to reclaim the lead, Keselowski managed to remain in the top-five until the last caution waved.
On the final restart with five laps remaining, he initially dropped to seventh but then managed to overtake Hendrick's Jeff Gordon to claim sixth, his best career result at Martinsville.
"It just feels like you live another day," said Keselowski about his top-ten finish. "It's like being in a war and surviving a battle. It's not necessarily a win, you're just happy to still be living."
Keselowski now trails Johnson by two points in the Cup standing but remains confident of challenging the Hendrick driver for this year's title.
He believes the championship will go down to the wire and is particularly optimistic about his potential for two of the three tracks remaining in the Chase schedule.
"This championship is going to come down to Homestead," said Keselowski. "You just have to be in position where you've got a shot at it and we're doing the things it's going to take to be in contention at Homestead. We've got Texas coming up, very similar to Chicago. I'm sure it's going to be a duel.
"I feel really confident going into Texas and Homestead. I feel like those are two races that we can race [Johnson] heads-up in speed and maybe even a little bit better than them. I'm not quite so sure about Phoenix but you know the execution we have in this team right now is second to none.
"If we'd have had just a little bit more speed this week and last week, I think we could have been in victory lane. Like I say we've got a couple races coming up where I know we're going to have speed and I'm feeling great."
The former Nationwide Series champion is hoping to give Roger Penske its maiden Sprint Cup series in his team's final season with Dodge before it switches to Ford for 2013.