After his pit crew ran him out of gas on the last lap at Chicago, Denny Hamlin took to Twitter and declared that they would rally and "win next week" in New Hampshire. After Hamlin's crew mistakenly sent him out to qualify on low air pressures used for the start of a race instead of those suited for a qualifying run, leaving him 32nd on the grid, he eased off his guarantee a little bit.
He shouldn't have. It took just 93 laps for him to take the lead, and he led 193 of the remaining 207 laps to win the Sylvania 300. It is Hamlin's fifth win of 2012, his third in the last five races, the 21st of his career, and the 100th for Joe Gibbs Racing as a Sprint Cup organization. In honor of his Ruthian achievement, Hamlin hopped out of his car on the front stretch, pointed into the crowd, and mimicked a left-handed baseball swing before driving to victory lane.
Jimmie Johnson was the best of the rest, finishing second for the second-consecutive week to open the Chase. He takes a one-point edge over Brad Keselowski, with Hamlin seven points back. Jeff Gordon took third with a great rebound from his 35th-place finish last Sunday, but remains last in the Chase, 45 points back. Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne were solid all day, rounding out the top-five.
Keselowski finished sixth, while Tony Stewart was seventh. A trio of non-Chasers - Joey Logano, Brian Vickers, and Ryan Newman, rounded out the top-10.
The rest of the Chasers were Kevin Harvick (11th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (13th), Matt Kenseth (14th), Martin Truex Jr. (17th), and Greg Biffle (18th). It is the first time in Chase history (since 2004) that no Chaser finished outside the top-10.
Kyle Busch, who led 48 laps early, wound up a disappointing 28th after dropping a cylinder near the race's midpoint.