A week ago, Denny Hamlin appeared to be well on his way to Victory Lane at Pocono with arguably the class of the field.

About the only thing that could stop Hamlin's quest for a win last Sunday was Lady Luck, which indeed did him in when he ran into a valve stem problem that took him out of contention.

Fast forward to this Sunday and while Hamlin lurked all day with the race leaders, when it came to crunch time, last season's points runner-up delivered in the clutch with a huge win.

Hamlin's team, led by crew chief Mike Ford, played their cards right with the race's final pit stops that took place with less than 10 laps to go.

With a fast car and a determined driver, the pride of Chesterfield, VA maintained his late-race lead and won the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 for a second consecutive year, beating Matt Kenseth to the stripe.

His victory was not only incredible for his team, but it was pivotal and crucial for his chances to make this year's Chase field in September.

With a tight points battle for positions 11th-20th, wins are virtually "a must" for racers outside the top-10 standings.

"This is the point in the season where we really need to hit our stride, and hopefully we've got another good 10 weeks before the Chase starts," Hamlin said per AP Sports Writer Noah Trister's article.

For most of Sunday's race, it looked like it'd be another Roush-Fenway Racing parade, with Greg Biffle leading an event-high 68 laps in his No. 16 Red Cross Ford Fusion.

However, the late race caution coupled with a four-tire pit stop cost him a chance to win, relegating him to a 15th-place finish.

Biffle's teammate Carl Edwards had a much more solid day, coming back from his mechanical woes last Sunday at Pocono by taking home a fifth-place finish in his No. 99 "AFLAC: Now Hiring" Ford, leading 30 laps along the way.

Adding on to Edwards' solid day was that Jimmie Johnson, who entered the race sitting second in the points hunt, struggled all afternoon long, placing 27th, one lap down.

Johnson spun in the early going of the race, damaging his car just enough to require repairs that put him a few laps down as well as losing some positions in the Chase standings, tied for fourth with Kurt Busch.

The Busch brothers had a mixed afternoon at Michigan International Speedway, as Kurt, who started on the pole, fell back to 11th position while younger brother Kyle led 59 laps, battled chest pains, and finished third.

Last Sunday's race winner, Jeff Gordon, struggled with the handle of his No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, running only a handful of laps in the top-10 late in the 400-miler before dropping back to a 17th-place finish.

Perhaps Sunday's biggest surprise was Landon Cassill, who drove a smart, clean race starting from the 12th position and taking his No. 51 Chevrolet home back to 12th.

Here's a look at Sunday's top-10 finishers, with manufacturer and team listed in parentheses:

  1. Denny Hamlin (Toyota/Gibbs)
  2. Matt Kenseth (Ford/Roush-Fenway)
  3. Kyle Busch (Toyota/Gibbs)
  4. Paul Menard (Childress/Chevrolet)
  5. Carl Edwards (Roush-Fenway/Ford)
  6. Ryan Newman (Stewart-Haas/Chevrolet)
  7. Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas/Chevrolet)
  8. Clint Bowyer (Childress/Chevrolet)
  9. Mark Martin (Hendrick/Chevrolet)
  10. Brian Vickers (Toytoa/Red Bull Racing)

As the Sprint Cup circuit prepares for next Sunday's Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, here's how your top-10 points standings will look, along with the current wild card stars:

  1. Carl Edwards (Roush-Fenway/Ford)
  2. Kevin Harvick (Childress/Chevy)
  3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick/Chevy)
  4. Kyle Busch (Gibbs/Toyota)
  5. Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick/Chevy)
  6. Kurt Busch (Penske/Dodge)
  7. Matt Kenseth (Ford/Roush-Fenway)
  8. Ryan Newman (Stewart-Haas/Chevy)
  9. Denny Hamlin (Gibbs/Toyota)
  10. Clint Bowyer (Childress/Chevy)
  11. Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas/Chevy)
  12. Jeff Gordon (Hendrick/Chevy)

TNT will carry next Sunday's race live at 3 pm EST at the Infineon Raceway, with Adam Alexander, Benny Parsons, and Kyle Petty calling the action from the booth.  Matt Yocum, Chris Neville, Marty Snider, and Ralph Sheheen will cover all the action from pit road.