A two-tire gamble for Denny Hamlin paid off with his first NASCAR Nextel Cup victory of the season Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Hamlin, last year's top rookie, is second in the season points, but he's been frustrated this season, leading laps and contending without being able to take a checkered flag in the first 16 races.
It appeared he would fall short again this time, with Martin Truex, Junior, series points leader Jeff Gordon and Truex's teammate, Dale Earnhardt, Junior, all running ahead of Hamlin late in the race.
But the leaders made their final scheduled pit stops on lap 255 during a caution period and Hamlin was the only one of the quartet to take two fresh tires instead of four.
He vaulted from fourth to first and stayed out front to the end of the Lenox Tools 300.