With Brad Keselowski glued to his rear bumper, and with his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota sliding sideways as it approached the checkered flag, Denny Hamlin held on to his car and held off Keselowski to win Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
In winning his first race of the season, his fifth at the .526-mile short track and the 25th of his career, Hamlin took the lead for good on lap 473 of 500, passing teammate Matt Kenseth for the top spot.
Two laps later, Keselowski surged past Kenseth and tracked down Hamlin, setting up a breathtaking battle in the closing laps.
Keselowski could have won his second straight Sprint Cup race by wrecking Hamlin, but the 2012 premier series champion opted not to wreck the Toyota of Hamlin.
Polesitter Joey Logano ran third, overcoming a lap 219 spin in Turn 2 that started when Michael Annett’s Chevrolet got loose underneath Logano’s Ford and knocked the No. 22 out of the racing groove.
Kenseth came home fourth and David Ragan fifth in his continuing substitute role for Kyle Busch, as Joe Gibbs Racing put three cars in the top five.
Martin Truex Jr. was sixth, posting his sixth straight top 10 to start the season, and Danica Patrick finished seventh, one position shy of her best result in the Sprint Cup series.
NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings (top 5):
1. Kevin Harvick, 263 points
2. Joey Logano, 239
3. Martin Truex Jr, 231
4. Brad Keselowski, 206
5. Kasey Kahne, 193