Clint Bowyer stretched his last tank of fuel to win the Federated Auto Parts 400, while Jeff Gordon rebounded from an absolutely horrible early stretch of the race to finish second and race his way into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
It is Bowyer's second win of the 2012 campaign, giving him six total bonus points as the Chase opens next week and marks the second multi-win campaign of his career. His victory came despite an early spin thanks to a flat tire caused by contact with Juan Pablo Montoya.
Mark Martin finished third, with Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth completing the top-five. Stewart, who started 28th, held on to his 10th-place position in the standings and now will share the second seed with fellow three-time winners Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.
Jeff Burton finished sixth, followed by Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle, and Kevin Harvick.
Kyle Busch finished 16th and wound up missing the Chase by three markers to Gordon. Kasey Kahne, who finished 12th, claimed the first wild card with his two wins earlier this season.
Hamlin dominated the race but had to pit late and finished 18th, keeping him from adding to his bonus point total with a fifth win. He'll still open the Chase as the top seed with 12 total bonus points.
The Chase standings heading to Chicagoland next week, unofficially, are as follows.
1. Denny Hamlin (4 wins) 2012 points
T2. Jimmie Johnson (3 wins) 2009
T2. Brad Keselowski (3 wins) 2009
T2. Tony Stewart (3 wins) 2009
T5. Greg Biffle (2 wins) 2006
T5. Clint Bowyer (2 wins) 2006
T7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1 win) 2003
T7. Matt Kenseth (1 win) 2003
T9. Kevin Harvick 2003
T9. Martin Truex Jr. 2003
T9. Kasey Kahne 2000
T9. Jeff Gordon 2000