He was expected to contend, but did more than that with his first Sprint Cup win this year. Denny Hamlin finally dodged the bad luck that has dogged him this season. First out of the pits after a stop under caution on Lap 192 of 200, Hamlin held off Matt Kenseth after a restart with five laps left and claimed his first victory of the season in Sunday’s Heluva Good 400 at Michigan.

Hamlin, who won his 17th Sprint Cup race, crossed the finish line .281 seconds ahead of Kenseth. Unlike races before at his best tracks, like Martinsville, Richmond and Pocono, where Hamlin was strong early but succumbed to a variety late-race problems, Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota was at its best in the closing laps of Sunday’s race.

Kyle Busch, Hamlin’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, finished third for the second week in a row. Paul Menard came home fourth for his best finish this season, and Carl Edwards finished fifth and expanded his lead in the series standings to 20 points over second-place Kevin Harvick.

Next up is road racing in Sonoma with the Toyota Savemart 350 at the Infineon Raceway. Catch it Sunday June 26th on TNT starting at 2PM, and don't miss everything NASCAR with Total Access Saturday mornings at 10AM on the Eagle!