• 50°

Hamlin cruises to fifth win of NASCAR season

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Denny Hamlin, his No. 11 Toyota becoming a distant spec on the horizon to the rest of the field late in Sunday’s NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway, heard the caution call come over the radio and tried not to roll his eyes.

He knows nobody wants to watch a driver lead by 10 seconds, as he was doing at the time. It makes for bad TV.

And even though Hamlin didn’t see any debris on the track when the yellow flag flew, he didn’t exactly panic when his massive advantage was wiped out.

“I understand this is show business,” Hamlin said.

Besides, it turned out to be no big deal for NASCAR’s latest showstopper.

Hamlin easily pulled away from Kasey Kahne on the restart with 14 laps remaining and rolled to his fifth victory of the season, dominating the 400-mile race with the same ease in which he’s dominated the series over the past three months.

“I didn’t like watching him drive away from me, but I wasn’t surprised when he did,” said Kahne. “I thought we had a really good car … the 11 was just a touch better.”

Kahne highlighted a resurgent day for Ford by finishing second, followed by pole-sitter Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. Four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson was sixth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was seventh.

They all, however, were merely bystanders as Hamlin continued his hot streak that began with a victory in Martinsville in late March.

He led 123 laps and has won five of the past 10 races, and done it in all kinds of ways over all kinds of circuits.