It has been and may continue to be the year of Denny Hamlin; he has done it again.
From start to finish, not even a sputtering fuel tank could slow down the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 machine as he picked up his fifth win of the year, second in a row. Starting seventh was the lowest Hamlin sat all day, wasting little time getting to the front and dominating over Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch who had started on the pole.
Hamlin led 123 laps, collected the 10 bonus points for the Chase, and moved within 47 points of the lead.
Toyota was the manufacturer that ended the day in victory lane, but all eyes were on the Fords. Still winless coming into Michigan, many believed that it would be this race that would tell the tale for Roush-Fenway Racing. The four RFR drivers put up a valiant fight, but only one (Greg Biffle) finished in the top 10.
Other great days came for drivers like Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Still waiting for Stewart to break out of the slump he seems to have started the season in, the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice team was able to bring home a top five finish before heading off to a road course they've won on before.
The summer months could be just what the doctor ordered for Stewart, while a good run was just what he ordered for Earnhardt Jr. He came home in the top 10 for the first time since Texas in April, finishing seventh and moving up to position in the points. Both drivers will head to Sonoma will a smile on their face and momentum on their side.
Momentum is what our Creatures had when they entered the day and only some will leave with it. No one correctly picked Hamlin to win, meaning bonus points were left on the table, but knowledge was learned for the next Michigan race come August.
Before that however, here's how they'll look when the Sprint Cup Series arrives in wine country, where they'll go left and right.
Billy Fellin (2,138 ) Jeff Gordon finished fourth (3 )
Kara Martin (2,118 ) Jeff Gordon finished fourth (2 )
Sal Sigala Jr. (2,027 ) Jimmie Johnson finished sixth (1 )
James Broomhead (2,009 ) Kasey Kahne finished second (2 )
Christopher Leone (1,988 ) Jeff Gordon finished fourth (3 )
Kelly Crandall (1,974 ) Matt Kenseth finished 14th (2 )
Dustin Parks (1,966 ) Carl Edwards finished 12th (2 )
Rob Tiongson (1,938 ) Jimmie Johnson finished sixth (0 )
Patti Rodisch (1,841 ) Carl Edwards finished 12th (0 )
Misan Akuya (1,791 ) Jamie McMurray finished 24th (1 )
Adam Heasley (962 ) NO PICK SENT (0 )
Alan Wade (292 ) Matt Kenseth finished 14th (0 )
The best in the business will have their work cut out for them as they'll be turning left and right in Sonoma. The first road course of the year has arrived and it might not have come at a better time for those like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart who are still winless in 2010.
Creatures, have your picks for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 by Thursday, June 17 at 7 p.m. ET.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!