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Lap-by-Lap: Kansas

April 22, 2012, , NASCAR.com

Lap 267 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Martin Truex Jr. tries one more time to get under Denny Hamlin in Turn 4, but Hamlin is able to hold him off for the win. It's the second victory of the young season for Hamlin and new crew chief Darian Grubb.

Lap 265 -- The move the last lap cost Martin Truex Jr. precious ground.

Lap 264 -- Just a few car lengths now. Martin Truex Jr. dive bombs Turn 3, but bobbles off the corner.

Lap 262 -- Martin Truex Jr. may catch Denny Hamlin, but passing him will be an entirely different matter.

Lap 260 -- Martin Truex Jr. is gaining ground on Denny Hamlin, but it might not be enough unless the leader makes a mistake.

Lap 258 -- Nine laps to go. Denny Hamlin leads Martin Truex Jr. by 7/10ths of a second. is Truex saving his equipment or just holding on? We'll see!

Lap 255 -- Joey Logano does the classy thing and lets Martin Truex Jr. by as easily as he did his stablemate.

Lap 254 -- Denny Hamlin easily laps his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano.

Lap 251 -- The gap between Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. has shrunk to about half a second.

Lap 249 -- Denny Hamlin's best finish here at Kansas is a third, posted last spring.

Lap 247 -- Twenty laps to go. Jeff Gordon brings his Chevrolet to pit road.

Lap 246 -- Jeff Gordon is going to be black flagged for failing to maintain a safe speed on the race track.

Lap 244 -- Oil is being reported by one of the drivers, but a nearby NASCAR official reports that the track is clear.

Lap 241 -- The heavy cloud cover that has hung over the race track for most of the race is breaking up, and that could be hurtin the handling on Martin Truex Jr.'s car. He's now about a second behind leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 238 -- The engine in Jeff Gordon's car is evidently going sour.

Lap 237 -- Denny Hamlin wrestles the lead away from Martin Truex Jr. on the backstretch.

Lap 236 -- Denny Hamlin. Is. Right. There.

Lap 233 -- Sam Hornish Jr. finally makes his stop, handing the lead over to Martin Truex Jr. Denny Hamlin is holding tight to Truex's rear bumper for the top spot.

Lap 231 -- Sam Hornish Jr. is still on the track.

Lap 228 -- Sam Hornish Jr. is staying on the track. Martin Truex Jr. is second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth in the top five.

Lap 227 -- Sam Hornish Jr. has not stopped yet, and is shown as the leader.

Lap 225 -- Martin Truex Jr. is trying to hold Denny Hamlin off for fourth place. When everybody cycles through their stops, this would be for the lead.

Lap 224 -- Tony Stewart pits.

Lap 223 -- Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr. are pitting.

Lap 222 -- Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin drop onto pit road.

Lap 221 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin are pitting.

Lap 220 -- Running eight, Kurt Busch starts what could be the final round of pit stops.

Lap 218 -- Denny Hamlin has gained some ground on Martin Truex Jr., but not much.

Lap 215 -- Tony Stewart has brushed the wall, but he's staying on the race track.

Lap 213 -- It's amazing how steady the gap between leader Martin Truex Jr. and second-place Denny Hamlin has remained. It's about 1.3, 1.4 seconds every lap.

Lap 210 -- Greg Biffle slides under Dale Earnhardt Jr. for fifth place, and at almost the same time, Jimmie Johnson goes past Matt Kenseth for third.

Lap 207 -- Martin Truex Jr. finished 20th here last spring and 36th in the fall. That was then ... this is now.

Lap 201 -- As good as he has been in this race, Martin Truex Jr. has never finished better than 11th here at Kansas -- and that came in his first Cup start here, back in October 2006.

Lap 199 -- Martin Truex Jr.'s lead over Denny Hamlin is now up 1.4 seconds.

Lap 196 -- Ryan Newman brings his Chevrolet to pit road.

Lap 195 -- There's no messing with Martin Truex Jr. today! He's already hitting the afterburners following the restart.

Lap 192 -- GREEN FLAG: Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch are the top five on the restart. Truex gets another great start and clears for the lead between Turns 1 and 2.

Lap 189 -- Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and a few others are pitting. The top eight drivers -- Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard -- stay on the track.

Lap 187 -- CAUTION FLAG NO. 3: There's debris reported on the track after Juan Montoya slaps the wall.

Lap 186 -- Martin Truex Jr.'s advantage over Jimmie Johnson is up to 1.1 seconds.

Lap 183 -- When all is said and done on the round of green-flag stops, the leaders are Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth.

Lap 182 -- Brad Keselowski finally makes his stop.

Lap 181 -- Brad Keselowski misses the entrance to pit road. He'll have to come back around before making his stop.

Lap 180 -- Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart are on pit lane.

Lap 179 -- Martin Truex Jr. gives up the lead to pit for service. Jimmie Johnson is also in

Lap 178 -- Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are on pit road.

Lap 177 -- Kurt Busch and Martin Martin are pitting.

Lap 176 -- Martin Truex Jr. is working traffic, and Jimmie Johnson is looking to take advantage.

Lap 171 -- Jimmie Johnson's spotter has told him not to push the issue, saying that leader Martin Truex Jr. "will mess up."

Lap 168 -- Jimmie Johnson is still trying, but there's nothing for him to do at the moment.

Lap 166 -- Jimmie Johnson is looking under Martin Truex Jr. for the lead in Turns 1 and 2, but the move isn't there.

Lap 163 -- Jimmie Johnson is now just three or four car lengths off the bumper of leader Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 161 -- Don't look now, but Jimmie Johnson appears to be reeling in leader Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 160 -- Martin Truex Jr. has led 109 laps so far today.

Lap 156 -- Jimmie Johnson goes under Denny Hamlin for second place.

Lap 155 -- Jimmie Johnson is trying to find a way past Denny Hamlin for second place.

Lap 152 -- Jimmie Johnson blasts past Dale Earnhardt Jr. for third place coming off Turn 2.

Lap 150 -- Martin Truex Jr.'s lead over Denny Hamlin is about one second.

Lap 147 -- Kurt Busch's team owner, James FInch, has one victory at the Cup level. He might not have won a lot of races, but, as the old saying goes, he's never lost a party!

Lap 144 -- Kurt Busch, driving an unsponsored car here at Kansas, is now running in fourth place.

Lap 142 -- GREEN FLAG: Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are the top five when the green flag comes back out. Truex gets a huge jump and is well clear for the lead in Turn 1.

Lap 140 -- Clint Bowyer goes to the garage.

Lap 139 -- The race was about to go back to green, but Clint Bowyer appears to have blown an engine.

Lap 138 -- Cleanup is still taking place on the track.

Lap 134 -- The leaders are on pit road. A.J. Allmendinger's crew goes under the hood of his car.

Lap 132 -- CAUTION FLAG NO. 2: The caution is out for debris on the track. Jamie McMurray had just pitted.

Lap 129 -- At a full distance of 267 laps, halfway would be ... haflway would be ... dang it. Where's the calculator? Halfway would be lap 134, right?

Lap 127 -- With a lead as big as the one he has right now, there's no need for Martin Truex Jr. to push his equipment any more than what's absolutely necessary.

Lap 123 -- Matt Kenseth trails Martin Truex Jr. by 7.7 seconds.

Lap 118 -- Jimmie Johnson takes fourth place from his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 116 -- Matt Kenseth has caught Denny Hamlin for second place, and takes the spot coming off Turn 4.

Lap 114 -- Martin Truex Jr. may be taking it easy up front. His lead over Denny Hamlin is now down to a little more than 7.9 seconds.

Lap 110 -- Martin Truex Jr.'s cushion over Denny Hamlin is remaining fairly consistent.

Lap 107 -- Matt Kenseth has moved around Dale Earnhardt Jr. for third place.

Lap 103 -- On the clock, Martin Truex Jr.'s lead is nine seconds. On the track, when Truex flashes under the starter's stand, second-place Denny Hamlin is in the middle of Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 100 -- After their stops, Martin Truex Jr. now leads Denny Hamlin by a whopping nine seconds. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is third, Matt Kenseth fourth and Brad Keselowski fifth.

Lap 98 -- Jimmie Johnson's crew dropped a lug nut, dropping him to seventh place after the cycle of stops.

Lap 97 -- Juan Montoya drops onto pit lane.

Lap 96 -- Tony Stewart is pitting.

Lap 95 -- Greg Biffle is in. Matt Kenseth smokes the tires on his car slowing down for his entrance to pit road.

Lap 94 -- Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon are getting their cars serviced.

Lap 93 -- Leader Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne (finally) are in their stalls.

Lap 92 -- Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are pitting. Kasey Kahne has run out of gas, and is slow on the backstretch.

Lap 91 -- A.J. Allmendinger, Sam Hornish Jr. and Mark Martin are on pit road.

Lap 90 -- Brad Keselowski pits.

Lap 89 -- Kevin Harvick has dropped to the apron to make another green-flag pit stop.

Lap 87 -- Kevin Harvick is off the pace. He's evidently out of gas.

Lap 85 -- Hendrick Motorsports has three cars in the top six right now -- third-place Kasey Kahne, fourth-place Jimmie Johnson and sixth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. A fourth entry, Jeff Gordon, is currently running 12th.

Lap 82 -- Martin Truex Jr. is very happy happy with his Toyota. He should be!

Lap 78 -- Jimmie Johnson has fallen off the pace being set by second-place Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne, running third. He's now about two seconds behind Kahne.

Lap 76 -- A.J. Allmendinger, who led early, has reportedly developed an engine problem under the hood of his Penske Racing Dodge.

Lap 74 -- Martin Truex Jr. has opened up a lead of 2.4 seconds over Kevin Harvick, who is still dealing with Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson on his rear bumper.

Lap 71 -- NASCAR inspectors are reporting smoke coming from the right front of Clint Bowyer's car.

Lap 69 -- Jimmie Johnson has joined Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne in their battle for second place.

Lap 66 -- Kevin Harvick goes back around Kasey Kahne for second place.

Lap 65 -- Kasey Kahne grabs second place from Kevin Harvick in Turns 3 and 4, but Harvick comes right back after him for the spot.

Lap 64 -- Kasey Kahne is following right in the tire tracks of Kevin Harvick.

Lap 61 -- With the battles behind him, Martin Truex Jr. has been able to open up a lead of about 1.4 seconds over Kevin Harvick.

Lap 58 -- Kyle Busch makes contact with the rear quarter panel of Greg Biffle's car in traffic, but again, they're able to keep up the charge.

Lap 57 -- GREEN FLAG: Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin are the leaders on the restart. Hamlin dives three wide going into Turn 1, and all heck breaks loose behind the battle. Somehow, they manage to keep going.

Lap 54 -- Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and a few others pit under the caution. Clint Bowyer has taken his car to the garage.

Lap 52 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: Clint Bowyer spins coming off Turn 4.

Lap 50 -- Former leader A.J. Allmendinger had to check up getting into his stall to let Greg Biffle exit his, and then he appeared to wait for a full supply of fuel. He's now running in seventh place.

Lap 48 -- After the cycle of stops, the top five are Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.

Lap 47 -- Carl Edwards makes his stop.

Lap 46 -- Kevin Harvick, A.J. Allmendinger,Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and others are on pit road.

Lap 45 -- Martin Truex Jr. is on pit road for his green-flag stop.

Lap 43 -- Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski and Jeff Burton are on pit road.

Lap 41 -- On MRN's broadcast of the race, one of the turn announcers said that Martin Truex Jr. was on A.J. Allmendinger for the lead like "a rottweiler on a rump roast." Great line.

Lap 39 -- Now that he's got second, Martin Truex Jr. isn't stopping there. He's going right after A.J. Allmendinger for the lead.

Lap 37 -- After giving it a couple of tries in the last few laps, Martin Truex Jr. finally gets around Kevin Harvick for second place.

Lap 35 -- It's the same story up front. A.J. Allmendinger is the leader, Kevin Harvick second and Martin Truex Jr. third., with a few car lengths between each.

Lap 32 -- The gap between third-place Martin Truex Jr. and fourth-place Denny Hamlin has stabilized for the time being. It's now just a little less than two seconds.

Lap 30 -- Martin Truex Jr. is all over Kevin Harvick for second place.

Lap 26 -- Not only have the top-three cars closed ranks on each other, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer aren't that far behind, either.

Lap 24 -- Leader A.J. Allmendinger had a poor 2011 at Kansas, but he has posted a couple of top-10 finishes in five career Cup starts here.

Lap 21 -- There are only few cars lengths now between A.J. Allmendinger, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 20 -- Martin Truex Jr. has now joined the fight up front.

Lap 17 -- Third-place Martin Truex Jr. has closed a lot of ground on leader A.J. Allmendinger and runnerup Kevin Harvick.

Lap 14 -- The front two -- A.J. Allmendinger and Kevin Harvick -- have separated themselves from third-place Martin Truex Jr. by nearly one second.

Lap 12 -- Martin Truex Jr. goes to the high side of Denny Hamlin for third place between Turns 1 and 2.

Lap 8 -- Leader A.J. Allmendinger would probably rather forget last year's races at Kansas. He finished 27th in the spring and 25th in the track's fall event.

Lap 6 -- Running second right now, Kevin Harvick won the inaugural Cup here here at Kansas back in 2001.

Lap 4 -- Denny Hamlin takes a look under Kevin Harvick for second place at both ends of the track, but can't find a way past just yet.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The race gets under way at 1:18 p.m. ET. A.J. Allmenginer blows very easily into the lead before the field gets to Turn 1.

1:12 p.m. ET -- The field is beginning to roll off pit road. It's go time! Joey Logano will have to go to the rear of the field due to an engine change.

1:10 p.m. ET -- Regan Smith's team is experiencing some sort of trouble with its radios.

1:09 p.m. ET -- Not to show any partiality here, but Aric Almirola's STP-sponsored Ford is drop-dead gorgeous. It's a retro paint scheme, very much like the one that team owner Richard Petty drove back in the 1970s.

1:07 p.m. ET -- Ambassadors from the Victory Junction Gang Camp give the command to fire engines.

1:02 p.m. ET -- Three A-10s from the 303rd flight squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base do the fly-over. C'mon. Who do you talk to for a hop in one of those bad boys?

1:01 p.m. ET -- Jeremy Vitt is singing the national anthem.

1 p.m. ET -- Cole Cochran, of Kansas City Alliance Raceway Ministries, is giving the invocation.

12:55 p.m. ET -- Five minutes to the start of the invocation and national anthem.

12:11 p.m. ET -- The weather forecast calls for partly cloudy conditions today in Kansas City. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's supposed to be windy, with gusts of as much as 35 mph.

8:37 a.m. ET -- A.J. Allmendinger is on the pole for the STP 400 after turning in a lap of 175.993 mph during qualifying. It's the second pole of his career. Kevin Harvick took second, followed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Mark Martiin in the top five. Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne and Sam Hornish Jr. were sixth through 10th.

Tim Andrews, Jeff Green and Tony Raines failed to qualify for the race.