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Lap-by-Lap: Phoenix

March 03, 2012, ,

Lap 200 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Brad Keselowski goes to the apron on the backstretch, but he can't get position on Elliott Sadler. The win goes to Sadler, with Keselowski second and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. third. Kevin Harvick rallied to finish fourth after that final stop.

Lap 199 -- The front-three cars -- Elliott Sadler, Brad Keselowski and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -- are separated by about a car length each.

Lap 196 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is looking for a way to challenge Brad Keselowski for second place.

Lap 194 -- Lapped traffic has allowed Brad Keselowski to close dramatically on Elliott Sadler in the battle up front.

Lap 193 -- Brad Keselowski is about seven tenths of a second behind leader Elliott Sadler.

Lap 190 -- Ten laps to go. Elliott Sadler's lead is about a second over Brad Keselowski.

Lap 186 -- Here's kind of a bizarre stat. Of the five tracks where Elliott Sadler has won in the Nationwide Series, only one -- Bristol -- remains on the schedule. His other wins came at Nazareth, Myrtle Beach, Gateway and Rockingham.

Lap 183 -- Elliott Sadler has not won a Nationwide Series race since 1998.

Lap 181 -- Elliott Sadler has about a one-second lead over Brad Keselowski.

Lap 178 -- Denny Hamlin seems to have developed a problem, but he's not telling his crew much. He's faded back to tenth place.

Lap 175 -- Kevin Harvick isn't done. He goes under Austin Dillon for fifth place on the backstretch.

Lap 174 -- Elliott Sadler goes under Brad Keselowski for the lead.

Lap 169 -- Kasey Kahne the wall hard in traffic, forcing Kevin Harvick to the dog-leg apron on the backstretch. Harvick was seventh on the restart due to the various pit strategies.

Lap 167 -- GREEN FLAG: Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski share the front row. Keselowski jumps out in front of Hamlin between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 166 -- Here come the leaders onto pit road for what should be the final time today. Kevin Harvick's crew clicks off a 13.1-second stop. Several cars, however, take two tires, including Denny Hamlin. Others take fuel only.

Lap 164 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: There's debris reported in Turn 4.

Lap 155 -- Denny Hamlin is now about a second behind leader Kevin Harvick, with Kahne about four tenths behind him.

Lap 153 -- The most recent Nationwide Series winner at Phoenix, Sam Hornish Jr., is running in 11th place.

Lap 150 -- Fifty laps to go. The top five are Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski and Elliott Sadler.

Lap 147 -- Kevin Harvick has led 90 laps so far today.

Lap 144 -- No one will be able to make it the rest of the way without stopping for fuel, so expect one more round of pit stops.

Lap 139 -- Denny Hamlin, in second place, has never won a Nationwide Series race here. None of his Sprint Cup victories have come here, either.

Lap 134 -- Kevin Harvick has just one previous Nationwide Series victory on Phoenix's one-mile racing surface. He last won here in 2006.

Lap 132 -- Remember, Kevin Harvick isn't driving his own car this year. He and wife DeLana sold their operation to his Sprint Cup team owner Richard Childress during the offseason.

Lap 130 -- Seventy laps to go. Kevin Harvick leads Denny Hamnlin by 1.7 seconds.

Lap 124 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s spotter, Mike Calinoff, tells the driver that he's fighting a losing battle with Sam Hornish Jr. Stenhouse responds rather snippily that he's fighting a loose race car.

Lap 119 -- A driver who concentrated solely on NASCAR's No. 2 national series has not won at Phoenix since 2003, when Bobby Hamlinton Jr. accomplished the feat.

Lap 114 -- Michael Annett has slapped the wall, but he's able to keep going.

Lap 113 -- As they race for fifth place, Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drop onto the dogleg apron on the backstretch at about the same time. They avoid making contact.

Lap 111 -- GREEN FLAG: Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Joey Logano are the top five.

Kevin Harvick clears for the lead going into Turn 3.

Lap 106 -- Kevin Harvick leads the field down pit road for a second round of stops.

Lap 104 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: Kenny Wallace has popped the wall coming off Turn 4.

Lap 102 -- Never mind. Kevin Harvick's cushion over Denny Hamlin is back up to 5.1 seconds.

Lap 100 -- Halfway.

Lap 98 -- Hey, wait a second! Denny Hamlin has closed to within about 3.4 seconds of leader Kevin Harvick. Does Harvick have some sort of problem, or is he just taking it easy?

Lap 91 -- Six seconds.

Lap 85 -- Trivia time. Jeff Gordon won the first race in what is now the Nationwide Series at Phoenix back in 1999.

Lap 80 -- Five seconds.

Lap 76 -- Four seconds. That's the gap between Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.

Lap 70 -- Thirty laps to the halfway flags. The top five are currently Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski.

Lap 68 -- Danica Update! She's running in 22nd place, the first car one lap down.

Lap 62 -- Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are now separated by 2.3 seconds, and it's more than two seconds from Hamlin back to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano in third place.

Lap 61 -- Kevin Harvick has put 1.6 seconds on second-place Denny Hamlin.

Lap 59 -- Brad Keselowski gets past Kyle Busch for seventh place.

Lap 56 -- Kyle Busch scrapes the wall coming off Turn 2, but manages to keep going. He was running in third place at the time after taking just two tires on his stop under the caution.

Lap 52 -- Kevin Harvick gets a big run off Turn 4 to wrestle the lead from Denny Hamlin.

Lap 50 -- Austin Dillion gets a little out of shape coming off Turn 4, but collects it without further incident.

Lap 49 -- GREEN FLAG: Denny Hamlin and Elliott Sadler make up the front row on the restart, and Sadler has nothing for Hamlin. Kevin Harvick takes second from Sadler.

Lap 45 -- The leaders are on pit road. Kasey Kahne has a very slow stop of more than 21 seconds. Oops! Denny Hamlin takes two tires, Kevin Harvick two.

Lap 43 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: The caution is out for debris in Turn 2.

Lap 41 -- The top five are currently Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Trevor Bayne. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has picked his way back up to sixth place.

Lap 38 -- With a cushion of 2.3 seconds, Denny Hamlin is on cruise control. Are they sure that's not Kyle Busch in the car? It can't be. Busch is in his own No. 54 entry today!

Lap 29 -- The same "speed up" warning is given to Charles Lewandoski.

Lap 27 -- According to the control, Tim Schendel needs to pick up the pace. Schendel is in 37th place, already two laps behind leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 25 -- Kasey Kahne has cut about four-tenths of a second off Denny Hamlin's advantage, but he's still more than 1.2 seconds back.

Lap 22 -- Kevin Harvick gets position under Trevor Bayne for fourth place.

Lap 20 -- Denny Hamlin has opened up a leader of 1.6 seconds over second-place Kasey Kahne.

Lap 18 -- Kasey Kahne grabs the runnerup position from Brad Keselowski.

Lap 17 -- Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne slip past Trevor Bayne for second and third place, respectively.

Lap 10 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is now in 10th place, while Kenny Wallace in 16th in the running order.

Lap 9 -- Denny Hamlin goes back under Trevor Bayne for the top spot.

Lap 8 -- Drivers are beginning to chop the hump off the backstretch, dropping well off the apron to shorten the racing groove. Trevor Bayne is now your leader.

Lap 6 -- Trevor Bayne is now shown in second place, about three tenths of a second behind leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 3 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. continues to fade, as does Kenny Wallace.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The race goes green at 4:46 p.m. ET. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slips between Turns 1 and 2, and drops back to fifth.

4:42 p.m. ET -- Remember, it's Denny Hamlin in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, not Kyle Busch. Denny, not Kyle. Denny, not Kyle. OK ... got it. I think ...

4:41 p.m. ET -- The pace car is beginning to ease off pit road. The green flag will come out the third time by the starter's stand.

4:38 p.m. ET -- Ralph Woodward, a Bashas' Supermarkets employee, gives the command to fire engines.

4:33 p.m. ET -- Two F-18s from the VFA 94 "Mighty Shrikes" squadron do the fly-over. Bucket list!

4:31 p.m. ET -- Shaeleigh, OneSun Entertainment Group Recording arist and 2011 winner of Radio Disney's Next Thing Talent contest, is singing the national anthem.

4:30 p.m. ET -- The invocation is being said by Phoenix International Raceway Chaplain Ken Bowers.

4:25 p.m. ET -- Five minutes remain before the invocation and national anthem.

4:22 p.m. ET -- A sound check is being conducted with NASCAR officials on pit road and in the garage.

3:18 p.m. ET -- Qualifying for the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 is finished, and Denny Hamlin will start from the pole position after turning in a lap of 132.979 mph. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kenny Wallace (hey, hey!), Kasey Kahne and Trevor Bayne are second through fifth.

Sam Hornish Jr., Brad Keselowski, Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon and Joey Logano start sixth through tenth.

Jennifer Jo Cobb was the only driver who failed to qualify for the event.

11:36 a.m. ET -- The top five in this morning's final practice session were Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano, Sam Hornish Jr., Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon. Qualifying is set to begin at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Here's a pick for today's winner ... Austin Dillon. Bring it, young buck. Just bring it.