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Lap-by-Lap: Budweiser Shootout

February 18, 2012, , NASCAR.com

Lap 82 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Kyle Busch pushes Tony Stewart into the lead. Busch edges to the outside coming to the stripe and scores the win by inches.

Lap 81 -- GREEN FLAG: Tony Stewart, Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski are the front four. Ambrose is pushed into the lead by Keselowski. Ryan Newman goes to third.

Lap 77 -- Obviously, this race will end in a green-white-checkered flag finish ... at least one.

Lap 75 -- Jimmie Johnson, in the garage, wants to go back in the race because so few cars are left in decent condition. There's the pace car and ... and ... well ... that's about it, right?

Lap 74 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 5: There's a huge wreck. Jeff Gordon is upside down, flipping. He has told his crew he is OK, and is asking for the car to be rolled over before he gets out. Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray are also involved. The race was triggered when Kyle Busch got out of shape off Gordon's front bumper.

Lap 73 -- Tony Stewart slides down in front of Kyle Busch for the lead.

Lap 72 -- Kyle Busch tries to block Jeff Gordon on the backstretch. All bets are off.

Lap 71 -- Kyle Busch has pulled alongside Jeff Gordon for the lead, with Greg Biffle still trailing him. Busch leaves Biffle outside coming off Turn 4.

Lap 70 -- Here comes Kyle Busch to the outside, leading Greg Biffle. Charge!

Lap 69 -- The leaders still aren't going to the whip, although they are closing on each other.

Lap 68 -- Kyle Busch joins the lead pack.

Lap 66 -- Denny Hamlin, running seventh, has received the free pass twice tonight.

Lap 65 -- Ten to go. It's calm for the time being, but that will not last.

Lap 64 -- Kurt Busch, Marcos Ambrose and Denny Hamlin have caught the front four.

Lap 62 -- Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray are single file up front. The same cannot be said further back.

Lap 61 -- GREEN FLAG: Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon stayed on the track, and they're the leaders. Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray round out the top five. Gordon motors into the lead, with Johnson in second.

Lap 57 -- Most of the leaders are on pit road.

Lap 55 -- Joey Logano is pulling into the garage, and so is Kevin Harvick.

Lap 54 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 4: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth and others are involved in another multicar mishap. Harvick's car has a fairly substantial fire underneath as he drives away from the accident site. The accident was triggered when Logano was nudged from behind by Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 51 -- So long, Mr. Gordon. Kevin Harvick pushes Jamie McMurray to the lead, but then Greg Biffle leads Jimmie Johnson past them.

Lap 50 -- Twenty-five laps to go. Jeff Gordon is still the leader. The field has broken up into three distinct packs.

Lap 49 -- Jamie McMurray, while everybody else is still scratching their heads over the Kyle Busch save, takes the lead for a moment. Jeff Gordon crosses the line in first, however.

Lap 48 -- Kyle Busch, love him or hate him, makes an incredible save. He does everything BUT wreck, and keeps going with some damage to the nose of his car.

Lap 47 -- Kevin Harvick is the leader, and it's pick 'em for second place.

Lap 44 -- Move Jimmie Johnson to the advantage ... or then again, it's Kevin Harvick. Take your pick.

Lap 43 -- Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are trying to work their way to the front.

Lap 42 -- Martin Truex Jr. comes out on top of a scramble up front, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. giving him a push.

Lap 40 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. dives under Jamie McMurray for the lead going into Turn 3, and he's awful close to the double yellow line. The move doesn't work.

Lap 38 -- Not so fast there, Juan. Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't going down without a fight. Jamie McMurray roars into the lead, and Juan Montoya roars to the back of the pack.

Lap 36 -- GREEN FLAG: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle lead the field to the restart. Juan Montoya and Jamie McMurray weave their way past Earnhardt for the lead ... maybe the tandem racing is completely gone after all!

Lap 33 -- A.J. Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski pit.

Lap 32 -- Most everybody hits pit road for fuel, and a few take tires. A.J. Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski stay on the track. They're Penske Racing teammates.

Lap 31 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: Clint Bowyer spins coming out of the trioval after getting a shove from teammate Martin Truex Jr. Team owner Michael Waltrip is going to have to send somebody to bed without dinner.

Lap 29 -- Kyle Busch is on the outside of Greg Biffle on the backstretch, but he has no drafting partner for the moment. Clint Bowyer gets big time out of shape, but maintains control.

Lap 28 -- Greg Biffle scoots his Ford to the front of the pack. He's got help from teammate Carl Edwards.

Lap 27 -- Carl Edwards takes second from Kyle Busch, who drops back. The first few cars are single file.

Lap 26 -- GREEN FLAG: Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle are first through fifth. Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer round out the top 10. This running order doesn't last. Gordon powers his way to the lead, with help from Kyle Busch.

9:15 p.m. ET -- Cars are back on the track.

LAP 25 -- CAUTION FLAG NO. 2: This is the planned 10-minute break. Cars will hit pit road for service. Just before the break, the scramble is on. Jeff Gordon shoves Carl Edwards out of line to take over second between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 23 -- Jamie McMurray is back atop the leaderboad, with Carl Edwards running second.

Lap 21 -- Jamie McMurray has somehow managed to sneak his way back into contention. Amazing how the draft works. He and Martin Truex Jr. are side by side for the lead.

Lap 19 -- Kurt Busch gets a nose out front momentarily, but Martin Truex Jr. leads the outside line back past him.

Lap 18 -- Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch grab the advantage, and Jamie McMurray gets no love in the draft.

Lap 17 -- Jamie McMurray blows to the outside of Kevin Harvick for the lead on the backstretch.

Lap 16 -- Kevin Harvick is getting a huge push from Jamie McMurray, and they clear the rest of the pack.

Lap 16 -- GREEN FLAG: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (JOOOOON-YER!!!) is the leader, followed by Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray and Joey Logano in the top five. Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch round out the top 10.

Lap 13 -- One thing is for sure. The two-car tandem looks to be a thing of the past. These packs are huge!

Lap 11 -- Several cars are pitting, including Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer.

Lap 9 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: The big one takes place between Turns 1 and 2. Involved are Michael Waltrip, Paul Menard, Mark Martin, David Ragan, Matt Kenseth, Juan Montoya and others.

Lap 6 -- Martin Truex Jr. is the leader ... for a second. Now, it's Kevin Harvick.

Lap 5 -- This is hairy. The field is stacked three by three several rows back. Jamie McMurray gets jumped between Turns 3 and 4, and Joey Logano takes the top spot.

Lap 4 -- Jamie McMurray retakes the lead as they charge down the backstretch.

Lap 3 -- After Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano, it's a huge pack behind them.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: Jamie McMurray briefly takes the lead, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. grabs it going into Turn 3.

8:23 p.m. ET -- Cars are rolling off pit road. The 2012 Sprint Cup season is here!

8:17 p.m. ET -- Petty Officer 1st Class Officer William Kimberl, Petty 1st Class Officer Andres Reyes and Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Schwartz give the command to fire engines.

8:15 p.m. ET -- Two minutes before the command to fire engines is supposed to be given, and Michael Waltrip has yet to get in his car. He's doing a standup for Fox's broadcast.

8:11 p.m. ET -- The country music group Little Big Town is performing the national anthem.

8:10 p.m. ET -- Tonight's invocation is being said by Dr. Tim McNeil, of the First United Methodist Church.

8:07 p.m. ET -- Very somber moment on the Fox broadcast, as John Roberts and Darrell Waltrip pay tribute to Christopher Myers, the 19-year-old son of fellow host Chris Myers, who was killed in an automobile accident Feb. 16.

8:05 p.m. ET -- Five minutes away from the invocation and national anthem.

8 p.m. ET -- Fox's coverage of the race has started.

7:57 p.m. ET -- Tonight's Budweiser Shootout will be run in two segments -- first a 25-lapper and then a 50-lap dash to the finish, with a 10-minute intermission in between.

7:32 p.m. ET -- The famous Budweiser Clydesdales are delivering the trophy for tonight's race to the pre-race stage. Driver introductions are coming up at 7:48 p.m. ET.

6:19 p.m. ET -- This is a race that has evolved quite a bit over the years. Buddy Baker won the inaugural event back in 1979, leading all but two of the 20-lap sprint. Baker won $50,000 for his efforts that afternoon.

The race was 20 laps through 1997, and it was bumped up to 25 laps in 1998 through 2000. Seventy laps were run until 2008, and it's been 75 circuits ever since. There was also a qualifying race for the Shootout in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

6:07 p.m. ET -- Four drivers -- all with positions in the top 10 -- will have to drop to the rear of the starting lineup on the pace laps for Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout due to going to backup cars, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. None of the backups cars were able to make it onto the track for practice. Kyle Busch (second), Brad Keselowski (third), Kurt Busch (sixth) and A.J. Allmendin,ger (ninth) will pull out of line on the pace laps and drop to the rear of their respective lines on the grid before taking the green flag. The drivers were involved in a multicar accident during practice.

12:20 p.m. ET -- The stage is set for Saturday night's 34th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. The starting lineup for the 25-car event was set via a draw held Friday night. The race will consist of 75 laps. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 8:10 p.m. ET.

On the front row will be Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, followed by Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray in the second. David Ragan, who won last July's Sprint Cup event here at Daytona, starts fifth, followed by Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., A.J. Allmendinger and Joey Logano in the top 10.