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Kobalt Tools 500

CUP: Championship Turned At Phoenix

This week, SPEED.com counts down the five best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of the 2010 season. No. 5 is the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.Denny Hamlin could taste his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.Fresh off a dramatic late-race victory at Texas Motor Speedway , the Virginia native arrived at Phoenix International Raceway with a 33-point lead over Jimmie Johnson and all the confidence in the world. He and his Joe Gibbs Racing squad were on top of their game and set to deliver the knockout punch on Johnson.Hamlin qualified 17th for the Kobalt Tools 500, four positions ahead of Johnson and 12 spots ahead of Kevin Harvick , who was third in points. And when the green flag fell at the one-mile PIR oval, Hamlin put the hammer down.He took the lead for the first time on Lap 66 of the 312-lap event, and would lead 190 of the next 200 laps, while Johnson spent most of that time back around the periphery of the top 10. A victory at PIR would all but seal the champio...

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