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Denny Hamlin rebounds from broken back, wins Cup race for 8th consecutive season

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    Denny Hamlin celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race in Homestead, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)The Associated Press

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    CORRECTS DENNY HAMLIN'S WIFE TO GIRLFRIEND AND ADDS LAST NAME, FISH - Denny Hamlin and his girlfriend, Jordan Fish, talk to their daughter, Taylor, as they celebrate winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race in Homestead, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)The Associated Press

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    CORRECTS DENNY HAMLIN'S WIFE TO GIRLFRIEND AND ADDS LAST NAME, FISH - One of Denny Hamlin's crew talks to his girlfriend, Jordan Fish, and baby, Taylor, after Hamlin won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race in Homestead, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)The Associated Press

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    CORRECTS DENNY HAMLIN'S WIFE TO GIRLFRIEND AND ADDS LAST NAME, FISH - Denny Hamlin, front left, his girlfriend, Jordan Fish, and daughter, Taylor, celebrate after he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race in Homestead, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)The Associated Press

Denny Hamlin's victory in NASCAR's season finale salvaged something from an otherwise forgettable season.

Hamlin held off Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, picking up his first win of the season and notching at least one victory for the eighth consecutive year.

Hamlin says "as bad as the year is, we can take a little solace in this finish."

Little went right in 2013. Hamlin broke a vertebra in his lower back in a last-lap crash at California in March, sat out four races and then dealt with pain and discomfort for months. He started to "turn the corner" around the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in early September, but figured the streak would end along with the season.

Think again.