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Lap-by-Lap: Talladega

April 18, 2011, , NASCAR.com

Lap 188 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Jimmie Johnson got the push he needed from Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win at Talladega. He edged Clint Bowyer by .002 seconds.

Lap 187 -- WHITE FLAG: Jeff Gordon leads at the line, heading to the final lap, with Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. coming as well.

Lap 186 -- Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle go back to the lead, getting past Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick.

Lap 185 -- Dave Blaney spins out, falls out of the draft and his hopes are dashed. Clint Bowyer goes to the lead.

Lap 184 -- Carl Edwards goes to the lead.

Lap 183 -- As the Roush Fenway cars of Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle close in, Dave Blaney continues to lead.

Lap 182 -- Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann have gotten past Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin.

Lap 181 -- Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin are running third and fourth to Dave Blaney and Kurt Busch.

Lap 180 -- Dave Blaney is back to the lead with the help of Kurt Busch.

Lap 179 -- The four Hendrick cars are running right behind Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.

Lap 178 -- Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer got past Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin to take the lead.

Lap 177 -- GREEN FLAG: Dave Blaney leads the field to green.

Lap 176 -- Jeff Gordon is up to third, and his teammate Mark Martin will restart right behind him.

Lap 175 -- Juan Montoya has torn up the entire right front of his car and has the remains of his tire flapping in the breeze. He and Ryan Newman hit pit road. Dave Blaney is leading.

Lap 174 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 6: The caution comes out when Ryan Newman spins out on the backstretch.

Lap 173 -- Kurt Busch is now hooked up with Dave Blaney, but watch out: Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin are in the top 10.

Lap 172 -- Martin Truex Jr. leads the race.

Lap 171 -- Juan Montoya takes some damage after Ryan Newman nearly loses his car and turns into Montoya.

Lap 170 -- Clint Bowyer goes to the lead.

Lap 169 -- Regan Smith has been pushed to the lead by Paul Menard. Juan Montoya and Jamie McMurray are right behind them.

Lap 168 -- A very slow restart for Kevin Harvick as a confusion with Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton left him alone.

Lap 167 -- GREEN FLAG: Clint Bowyer leads the field to green.

Lap 166 -- Clint Bowyer leads, with teammates Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton behind him. Then come Dave Blaney and Regan Smith, each of whom has led laps today.

Lap 165 -- Pit stop decisions could play a huge role here. Some are planning on staying out of the pits, others are coming in for tires or fuel or both. The top 10 stayed out, but Kurt Busch, running 11th, hits pit road and others follow him. Jimmie Johnson took four tires, Mark Martin took fuel and Jeff Gordon took tires.

Lap 163 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 5: A debris caution locks up the pack one more time.

Lap 162 -- Jamie McMurray and Juan Montoya are back near the front.

Lap 161 -- Clint Bowyer continues to lead, but Dave Blaney and Regan Smith are running fifth and sixth.

Lap 160 -- The RCR cars are back to the top four. Tony Stewart and David Gilliland are making their move, up to 11th and 12th.

Lap 159 -- Clint Bowyer leads that lap as well, with Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann challenging.

Lap 158 -- Clint Bowyer is side-by-side with Dave Blaney, with Bowyer leading that lap.

Lap 157 -- Here come Kurt Busch and Joey Logano.

Lap 156 -- Dave Blaney leads again, and Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick are the second-place duo.

Lap 155 -- Dave Blaney leads by a hair at the wire.

Lap 154 -- Jamie McMurray gets his first lap led of the afternoon, and Dave Blaney is back up to third after teaming with Regan Smith.

Lap 153 -- Jamie McMurray and Juan Montoya are back to challenge the RCR guys for control.

Lap 152 -- The RCR cars are back up front, and Jeff Burton is in the lead.

Lap 151 -- Andy Lally, who got the free pass on the last caution, is up to the top 15.

Lap 150 -- Martin Truex Jr. leads that lap by a hair over Kevin Harvick.

Lap 149 -- Jamie McMurray is looking for his first lap led, but Kevin Harvick holds it still.

Lap 148 -- Kevin Harvick leads again. Seventy lead changes.

Lap 147 -- Martin Truex Jr. gets a push from David Reutimann to lead the lap. Jeff Burton nearly lost it, but kept it under control.

Lap 146 -- Kevin Harvick continues to lead, but Jamie McMurray and Juan Montoya are on the inside.

Lap 145 -- Clint Bowyer gets right up behind Kevin Harvick and shoves him out to a quick lead on the restart. Juan Montoya and Jamie McMurray are up in the mix now.

Lap 144 -- GREEN FLAG: Kevin Harvick leads Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard to the green. Looks like Dave Blaney needs another dancing partner.

Lap 143 -- Kevin Harvick assumes the lead, putting the four Richard Childress Racing cars 1-4

Lap 142 -- Bobby Labonte heads to pit road, putting Martin Truex Jr. in the lead.

Lap 141 -- Cars are on pit road, and Bobby Labonte takes over the lead. That's lead change No. 66. Fuel only for Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and the rest of the leaders. They're working hard on Kyle Busch's car as well as A.J. Allmendinger's.

Lap 140 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 4 : A big pile-up on the backstretch. Kyle Busch and Joey Logano were the key cars involved. Logano spun Busch, who went into Matt Kenseth. A.J. Allmendinger among those involved.

Lap 139 -- Dave Blaney still in the lead.

Lap 138 -- Kevin Harvick has the line of the day. Talking about pushing Dave Blaney, he says, "I'm going to have nightmares about kids eating free."

Lap 137 -- A.J. Allmendinger is back up to third.

Lap 136 -- Dave Blaney is up to six laps led. Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are hooked up again.

Lap 135 -- Dave Blaney is back to the lead. I love Talladega for moments like this.

Lap 134 -- Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer take over the lead on the outside.

Lap 133 -- Regan Smith goes to the front and drops down in front of Paul Menard to hook those two up again.

Lap 132 -- GREEN FLAG: Paul Menard leads the field to green.

Lap 131 -- And with more cars heading to pit road, Paul Menard takes over the lead. We're at 62. Regan Smith is running second.

Lap 130 -- As the next round of pit stops begins, Casey Mears assumes the lead. That's the 61st lead change.

Lap 129 -- And the leaders head to pit road. Regan Smith takes two tires and fuel, as does his drafting partner Paul Menard. Kurt Busch gets four tires, and there are lug nut issues on the right front for Kurt Busch. Once again, Carl Edwards stays out of the pits and assumes the lead.

Lap 128 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: OK, blame me. Caution is out for that piece of metal that appeared to come off of Clint Bowyer's car.

Lap 127 -- They're showing some debris on the track, but the caution has not yet come out.

Lap 126 -- Don't look now, but here come Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer. They've been strong all day.

Lap 125 -- A.J. Allmendinger and David Reutimann are hovering behind the leaders.

Lap 124 -- Dave Blaney has led four laps today. He's only led five in a Cup race 11 times in his career, the most recent at New Hampshire in 2007.

Lap 123 -- Kurt Busch leads again, with Regan Smith, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick and Dave Blaney right behind.

Lap 122 -- A problem in making the switch between Dave Blaney and Kevin Harvick allows Kurt Busch to move back to the lead.

Lap 121 -- After running in the top five, Terry Labonte was penalized for being too fast entering pit road.

Lap 120 -- Dave Blaney leads again with Kevin Harvick pushing. Kurt and Kyle Busch are right behind.

Lap 119 -- With an assist from Kevin Harvick, Dave Blaney leads that lap.

Lap 118 -- Clint Bowyer leads that lap, but the Busch brothers are trucking on the outside.

Lap 117 -- Regan Smith leads that lap with Paul Menard behind him.

Lap 116 -- Clint Bowyer is back to the lead, giving us 54 lead changes. The record is 88.

Lap 115 -- Regan Smith led that lap, and has now switched places with Bobby Labonte.

Lap 114 -- Kurt and Kyle Busch continue to be the top two cars. Terry Labonte and J.J. Yeley had to come in for pit stops and have lost their top-four spots.

Lap 113 -- Both Labonte brothers are in the top five.

Lap 112 -- Bobby Labonte is challenging, but Kurt Busch leads at the line.

Lap 111 -- Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch have shot back to the lead, but Bobby Labonte and Martin Truex Jr. are coming fast.

Lap 110 -- Clint Bowyer led that lap as well.

Lap 109 -- Clint Bowyer got past Regan Smith for the lead at the line.

Lap 108 -- J.J. Yeley and Terry Labonte are up to seventh and eighth.

Lap 107 -- Kurt Busch continues to lead, but Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton are back up to third and fourth.

Lap 106 -- Regan Smith and Paul Menard are back to challenge for the lead.

Lap 105 -- Kurt Busch continues to lead, and Carl Edwards is up to third with David Reutimann fourth.

Lap 104 -- They're back. Kurt Busch is back to the lead, with David Reutimann right next to him.

Lap 103 -- They're three-wide at the start/finish line, but Carl Edwards held the lead.

Lap 102 -- Martin Truex Jr. is running third with a boost from Bobby Labonte.

Lap 101 -- Carl Edwards is back to the lead. It was short lived for Dave Blaney.

Lap 100 -- Dave Blaney is leading at Talladega. Looking for a free meal for your kids? Root for Blaney.

Lap 99 -- Kurt Busch holds the lead, but Denny Hamlin is charging with a strong push from Joey Logano on the outside.

Lap 98 -- The Busches have recovered, and Kurt regains the lead with a push from his brother.

Lap 97 -- The inside line is much stronger, as the Busch brothers drop and Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton move to the front.

Lap 96 -- GREEN FLAG: Kurt Busch, who has knocked two drafting partners out today, is up to the lead when Mark Martin pits.

Lap 95 -- Travis Kvapil, Brian Vickers and Marcos Ambrose were all flagged for pitting too early after that accident.

Lap 94 -- Mark Martin moves to the lead when Carl Edwards comes in for his pit stop.

Lap 93 -- David Reutimann comes in for four tires, his first four-tires stop. Kyle Busch gets a chassis adjustment and four tires, and they send that information down to drafting partner Ryan Newman. Carl Edwards assumes the lead.

Lap 90 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: A bunch of cars which had been up front are now off track in Turn 3. Kasey Kahne's car is on fire, Trevor Bayne is climbing out of his car, David Ragan suffered some damage and so did Jeff Burton. Replays show Kurt Busch turned Brad Keselowski to start the pileup, the second of two cautions in which Busch played a role.

Lap 89 -- Ryan Newman charges to the lead as Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have dropped back.

Lap 88 -- Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose, both in Fords, are seventh and eighth.

Lap 87 -- Joey Logano has hooked up with his teammate, Denny Hamlin, and they're climbing.

Lap 86 -- Don't look now, but Regan Smith and Paul Menard are hovering in seventh and eighth.

Lap 85 -- Ryan Newman is still third, with help from Kyle Busch.

Lap 84 -- Jimmie Johnson is back to the lead.

Lap 83 -- This time it sticks, as Ryan Newman had the lead at the line. However, Jimmie Johnson is right there, continuing to battle throughout the early part of Lap 84.

Lap 82 -- Ryan Newman nearly had the lead, paired up with Kyle Busch, but Jimmie Johnson held it at the line.

Lap 81 -- Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin are way back in the pack, hoping things will shake out for them.

Lap 80 -- Bobby Labonte is up to fifth, paired up with Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 79 -- Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have checked out, for now.

Lap 78 -- Ryan Newman is up to third. Kyle Busch is fourth. Regan Smith and Paul Menard are back in the mix.

Lap 77 -- Jimmie Johnson continues to lead, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the caboose on his two-car train.

Lap 76 -- Here come Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne, but also challenging are Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman.

Lap 75 -- Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton give up the lead to Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. so they can make their pit stops. Burton takes four tires, as does Bowyer.

Lap 74 -- Mark Martin took outside tires only, which his teammate Jeff Gordon took four and a ton of fuel.

Lap 73 -- Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Bobby Labonte and Martin Truex Jr. hit pit road, and Clint Bowyer is back to the lead. Bayne gets two tires and fuel, and Biffle gets four tires and fuel.

Lap 72 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are on pit road, handing the lead to Trevor Bayne. They peel out together.

Lap 71 -- Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and others hit pit road. Logano says he's free when being pushed, so he gets his grill cleaned and four tires. No adjustments for Hamlin.

Lap 70 -- Teammates Juan Montoya and Jamie McMurray are on pit road. Each took four tires and fuel.

Lap 69 -- Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose are on pit road. Edwards is taking four tires and fuel.

Lap 68 -- We're closing in on green-flag pit stops. Get ready!

Lap 67 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. regains the lead. A.J. Allmendinger and David Reutimann have been hanging around, and are now 11th and 12th.

Lap 66 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr is still hovering on the outside.

Lap 65 -- Trevor Bayne leads again, but here come Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson on the outside.

Lap 64 -- Trevor Bayne is now in the lead, the 35th lead change in the first 64 laps.

Lap 63 -- And just like that, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is back to the lead. Trevor Bayne and Greg Biffle are hovering right behind.

Lap 62 -- Clint Bowyer makes the move past Dale Earnhardt Jr. and regains the lead.

Lap 61 -- Clint Bowyer is running third, behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 60 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads, just under the one-third point in the race.

Lap 59 -- Trevor Bayne makes the move around Greg Biffle in the tri-oval and led that lap, but they've now fallen back after the switch.

Lap 58 -- Greg Biffle continues to lead, but Matt Kenseth and David Ragan are on the outside.

Lap 57 -- Greg Biffle leads at the line, with Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne behind him.

Lap 56 -- The big lead Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson enjoyed is being eaten up by Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne, who are closing.

Lap 55 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is back to the lead, and the crowd, expectedly, is loving every second of it.

Lap 54 -- Matt Kenseth is leading, with Brad Keselowski on the inside and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the outside.

Lap 53 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are back up in the battle for the lead, and they grab it just before the line.

Lap 52 -- Brad Keselowski grabs the lead, at least for now.

Lap 51 -- Brad Keselowski is battling Matt Kenseth for the lead.

Lap 50 -- J.J. Yeley has replaced Bill Elliott in the No. 46. Matt Kenseth is in the lead.

Lap 49 -- Jeff Burton is back to the lead.

Lap 48 -- Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne were the top two cars at the end of that laps, but Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer are there.

Lap 47 -- Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski were leading just before the line, but Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer came back and grabbed it back before the line.

Lap 46 -- Jeff Burton is in the lead with a strong push from Clint Bowyer, and they're out front.

Lap 45 -- And now Paul Menard is listed as the leader.

Lap 44 -- Regan Smith moves to the lead with help from Paul Menard. Kasey Kahne is running third while pushing the lapped car of Travis Kvapil.

Lap 43 -- Regan Smith has climbed into the top three.

Lap 42 -- Joey Logano is in the lead with a push from his teammate Kyle Busch.

Lap 41 -- Kasey Kahne is back up to third after falling back earlier. Marcos Ambrose is running 11th.

Lap 40 -- Matt Kenseth continues to lead, and Carl Edwards is complaining about possibly having a loose wheel.

Lap 39 -- Michael Waltrip, was was consistently up front when he was working with Clint Bowyer, has fallen back and is running without a partner.

Lap 38 -- David Ragan has pushed Matt Kenseth to the lead.

Lap 37 -- Trevor Bayne and Greg Biffle have a head of steam, coming up on the outside through the field and are up to challenge for the lead.

Lap 36 -- Clint Bowyer took advantage of Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski switching places to take the lead.

Lap 35 -- Kyle Busch and Joey Logano used the inside line to push to the lead, but Kurt Busch took the lead when Kyle and Joey switched positions.

Lap 34 -- Matt Kenseth took the lead at one point, but Clint Bowyer regained it before they got to the start/finish line. Kenseth and David Ragan switched positions, leading them to fall back.

Lap 33 -- Paul Menard was stranded when David Ragan hooked up with Matt Kenseth.

Lap 32 -- The restart has allowed Clint Bowyer to get hooked up with his teammate, Jeff Burton, and they used that to pull away on the restart. Probably won't last long, though.

Lap 31 -- GREEN FLAG: Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip lead the field to green.

Lap 30 -- Landon Cassill has been sent to the rear of the field for pitting too soon. He had been a contender while hooked up with Kurt Busch, but got sent off-line by Busch in bringing out the caution. The cars which stayed out have now hit pit road, and Clint Bowyer regains the lead.

Lap 29 -- Kyle Busch gets an air pressure adjustment, but other drivers including Carl Edwards (who now leads) and Greg Biffle stayed out. Jimmie Johnson is getting four tires.

Lap 28 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: Landon Cassill turns down, sending Brian Vickers out of control and bringing out the first caution of the race.

Lap 27 -- Kyle Busch overtook Clint Bowyer coming out of Turn 4 to regain the lead.

Lap 26 -- The middle seems to be working just fine, as Kurt Busch and Landon Cassill used that line to come back through the field. David Ragan goes back to the lead.

Lap 25 -- Kyle Busch and Joey Logano continue to lead, but David Ragan and Paul Menard are tucked up right behind them.

Lap 24 -- They came off Turn 4 three-wide, and Kyle Busch pushes back to the lead with help from Joey Logano.

Lap 23 -- Kurt Busch takes over the lead, with Landon Cassill behind him. There are two gruops of two cars behind him.

Lap 22 -- David Ragan led at the line, but not for long.

Lap 21 -- Trevor Bayne, who figured out this two-car draft just fine at Daytona, is up to 13th after starting at the rear of the field.

Lap 20 -- That's eight lead changes and six different leaders in the first 20 laps, folks.

Lap 19 -- Kasey Kahne, who started 31st, is up to the lead with help from Brian Vickers.

Lap 18 -- The position switches are costing teams heavily today. When the back car comes to the front, it drops them through the field.

Lap 17 -- Here come Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers, closing on Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip as the front-running duo.

Lap 16 -- Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are charging up the middle.

Lap 15 -- Clint Bowyer moved back to the lead. Red Bull Racing teammates Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers are hooked up and are up to fifth and sixth.

Lap 14 -- Where did they come from? Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. went to the front and took the lead. Gotta love Talladega, folks.

Lap 13 -- Kurt Busch is hooked up with Landon Cassill and has moved to the lead.

Lap 12 -- Another lead change, as Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip have moved to the front of the field.

Lap 11 -- And Brad Keselowski comes out of nowhere to grab the lead from Ryan Newman, who has dropped out of the top 15.

Lap 10 -- Ryan Newman has shot through the field, with a push from Denny Hamlin, and claimed the lead.

Lap 9 -- After starting second and fourth, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are back to 15th and 16th.

Lap 8 -- The Joe Gibbs Racing cars are coming. Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are teamed up, running fifth and sixth, and Denny Hamlin is pushing Ryan Newman back in ninth and 10th.

Lap 7 -- Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip have recovered from Waltrip's getting loose and are back up to challenge for the lead.

Lap 6 -- Paul Menard and David Ragan are pushing toward the front, but leader Jeff Gordon has a large piece of plastic on his front grill.

Lap 5 -- Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin continue to lead, but plenty of cars are stacked up behind them.

Lap 4 -- Here come Landon Cassill and Kurt Busch, running third and fourth, but Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip are to the outside of them.

Lap 3 -- Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip are up to third and fourth, getting past Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 2 -- Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton are running the middle line, and Denny Hamlin looks like he's trying to suck up behind them with Martin Truex Jr. coming up right behind him.

Lap 1 -- As expected, the Hendrick teams are hooked up, with Jeff Gordon holding to the lead with a push from Mark Martin.

1:22 p.m. ET -- GREEN FLAG: Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson lead the field to green for the start of the Aaron's 499 with their teammates right behind them.

1:20 p.m. ET -- Robby Gordon, Greg Biffle, Bill Elliott and Trevor Bayne will move to the back of the field for the start.

1:14 p.m. ET -- The cars have rolled on to the track for their warm-up laps.

1:08 p.m. ET -- Gene Chizik, head coach of the national champion Auburn Tigers football team, gives a very subdued command: "Gentlemen, start your engines."

1:01 p.m. ET -- Ashton Sheppard performs the national anthem.

1 p.m. ET -- Mike Jackson, the director of Alabama Raceway Ministries, delivers the Invocation.

1 p.m. ET -- Presentation of colors by the Alabama Army National Guard.

Noon ET -- Pre-race coverage on FOX has begun.

9:08 a.m. ET -- It is a brisk morning in Talladega, Ala., but worry not, racing fans! Temperatures are expected to be in the 68- to 73-degree range for race time. Jeff Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates will inhabit the first two rows when the green flag drops on the Aaron's 499 at 1:20 p.m. ET.