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Lap-by-Lap: Talladega

May 06, 2012, , NASCAR.com

Lap 194 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Brad Keselowski pulls away from Kyle Busch to capture the win. Pulls away ... by himself? Yep, he sure did! This is the sixth victory of Keselowski's career, and second at Talladega.

Lap 193 -- GREEN FLAG: Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and David Ragan are the leaders on the restart. Biffle pushes his teammate Kenseth clear of the field in Turns 1 and 2. Biffle leaves a gap to Kenseth on the backstretch, and Keselowski takes the lead off Turn 4 with help from Busch.

Lap 190 -- The longer we go under caution and the further we go past the scheduled 188 laps, will fuel mileage become an issue for the leaders? One lap to go to the restart at the stripe.

Lap 189 -- The right front fender on leader Matt Kenseth's car has shaken loose. That ain't good.

Lap 188 -- David Ragan is listed in fifth place. There's your underdog darkhorse, folks!

Lap 187 -- Obviously, the race will end with at least one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish ... at least.

Lap 186 -- The left rear tire on Denny Hamlin's car disintegrates, shredding the fender and inner crush panels. That lays all kinds of debris on the track.

Lap 185 -- Paul Menard, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Michael Waltrip, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Robert Richardson Jr., Tony Stewart, Joey Logano and others were swept into the mishap.

Lap 184 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 5: Denny Hamlin and AJ Allmendinger tried to move to the inside of the track after taking the green ... and, of course, there were cars there.

Lap 184 -- GREEN FLAG: Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and AJ Allmendinger are the leaders on the restart. There's a wreck as soon as the green is shown.

Lap 183 -- Going green next time by! The B-post on leader Matt Kenseth's car has split length wise ... weird.

Lap 182 -- Kurt Busch slid very close to where NASCAR's pace car was parked. As he was going by, race director David Hoots told pace-car driver Brett Bodine, "Close your eyes, Brett!"

Lap 181 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 4: Kurt Busch slides across the start-finish line. He heads the wrong way up pit road.

Lap 180 -- Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski are single file at the front f the field. That is NOT the case behhind them.

Lap 179 -- GREEN FLAG: Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Greg Biffle are the top five ont he restart. Busch has the nose of his car buried in Kenseth's rear bumper, pushing him clear of traffic.

Lap 178 -- Ten laps to go. Buckle your seat belts, folks! There's a piece of debris reported on the track, but a NASCAR offiicial says it's clear.

Lap 176 -- Denny Hamlin, Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray are on pit road for gas and tires. Tony Stewart's crew goes under the hood of his Chevrolet.

Lap 175 -- CAUTION FLAG NO. 3: Casey Mears, Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne have crashed in Turns 1 and 2.

Lap 173 -- Clint Bowyer has pulled even with second-place Denny Hamlin in the outside line.

Lap 172 -- Matt Kenseth has left Brad Keselowski, and now has Denny Hamlin on his rear bumper.

Lap 171 -- Denny Hamlin has now moved to the outside, and is closing in on leader Matt Kenseth.

Lap 170 -- Clint Bowyer is the first car to the outside line, in fifth place.

Lap 168 -- Trevor Bayne is reporting debris in Turn 2, but it appears to be below the yellow line.

Lap 167 -- The first four cars -- Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and AJ Allmendinger -- are single file.

Lap 166 -- Brad Keselowski shoves Matt Kenseth into the lead between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 165 -- Clint Bowyer briefly shows his hand in the lead, but he gets swallowed up in the draft.

Lap 164 -- The first 15 cars are separated by less than a second. Business is picking up!

Lap 163 -- Denny Hamlin powers his way under Casey Mears, battling for the top spot.

Lap 162 -- Casey Mears is now the leader, clear to the outside of traffic.

Lap 161 -- Casey Mears has fought his way into second place. He's on the outside line, with help from Matt Kenseth.

Lap 159 -- Denny Hamlin has finally wrestled the lead away from Brad Keselowski. Clint Bowyer is now second, Keselowski thhird.

Lap 158 -- Thirty laps to go.

Lap 157 -- Clint Bowyer is trying to push Denny Hamlin into the lead. This is getting wild!

Lap 156 -- Denny Hamlin is going after Brad Keselowski for the lead coming off Turn 2.

Lap 154 -- Denny Hamlin is drawing alongside second-place AJ Allmendinger through the trioval.

Lap 153 -- Denny Hamlin is working the outside line, and he's running about fourth on the leaderboard.

Lap 152 -- Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and AJ Allmendinger are running first and second.

Lap 150 -- GREEN FLAG: Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and David Ragan are the top five on the restart. Menard has little to no help on the inside. Brad Keselowski squirts into the lead as the field roars through the trioval.

Lap 149 -- With cleanup nearly finished at the accident site, there will be one to go at the stripe. Matt Kenseth, Michael Waltrip, Denny Hamlin and a few others top off on fuel.

Lap 143 -- Most of the leaders are on pit road.

Lap 141 -- CAUTION FLAG NO. 2: As Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth run out of gas, there's a big wreck in Turns 3 and 4. Landon Cassill, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Juan Montoya, Terry Labonte, Aric Almirola and Dave Blaney are involved. Kenseth and Marcos Ambrose will be penalized for pitting too soon.

Lap 140 -- Kevin Harvick is well off the pace, coasting through the trioval.

Lap 139 -- Tony Stewart is coasting on the apron of the race track.

Lap 137 -- Jeff Burton is off the pace, stacking the field up behind him. He has to come to pit road.

Lap 136 -- Kurt Busch goes to the front in Turns 1 and 2, but Matt Kenseth shoots right back to the top on the backstretch.

Lap 135 -- Greg Biffle slips up the track in Turn 2, and makes slight contact with Kurt Busch. They keep going.

Lap 132 -- Kurt Busch is now leading the second line, and he's got a nose in front of Matt Kenseth for the lead on the backstretch.

Lap 131 -- Not to jinx anything here, but it's been a looooooong time since the race's first and only caution.

Lap 130 -- Fourteen cars are now within a second of each other up front.

Lap 127 -- Michael Waltrip is now trying to head the charge back to the front on the outside.

Lap 126 -- More cars are beginning to bail out on the outside line. Casey Mears, in 10th, is the first car on the top of the track.

Lap 124 -- The first seven or eight cars are single file.

Lap 122 -- Greg Biffle pushes Matt Kenseth around Kurt Busch for the lead on the backstretch.

Lap 121 -- Matt Kenseth has settled into second place, just in front of his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle.

Lap 120 -- Kurt Busch takes his Ricky Bobby-themed car to the front of the field.

Lap 119 -- Leader Greg Biffle says that his car is great now that it's out front.

Lap 118 -- Seventy laps to go. How long can you hold your breath?

Lap 117 -- Richard Petty Motorsports teammates Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola are back in the top five.

Lap 115 -- Tony Stewart -- also running a Hendrick Motorsports engine -- is also running hot.

Lap 113 -- Clint Bowyer is now at the front of the outside line, with Jeff Burton dropping back well out of the top 20.

Lap 112 -- Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle are still even, leading their long lines of traffic.

Lap 111 -- Jeff Burton has a lot of help from Matt Kenseth up top, and they pull alongside leader Greg Biffle on the backstretch. Burton drops into the lead coming off Turn 4. Remember -- Kenseth and Biffle are teammates.

Lap 110 -- Jimmie Johnson is officially out of the race with engine failure.

Lap 109 -- The top 13 cars are separated by less than a second.

Lap 107 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. has fallen back to 11th place. during some heated racing at the front of the field.

Lap 106 -- Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Jamie McMurray are the leaders after the round of stops.

Lap 105 -- Paul Menard gives up the lead to make his stop.

Lap 104 -- Kevin Harvick is pitting.

Lap 103 -- Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and Michael Waltrip pit.

Lap 102 -- Tony Stewart is out of fuel, forcing him to coast to pit road. Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Juan Montoya are on pit road.

Lap 100 -- Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and a couple of others are pitting.

Lap 99 -- Teammates Brad Keselowski and AJ Allmendiner become the first to roll down pit road. Up front, the first few cars are single file as they prepare to pit.

Lap 98 -- Kasey Kahne and Juan Montoya are still sluggin it out for the race lead. Behind them, it's a crazy-wild pack of traffic.

Lap 96 -- Expect pit stops in another four or five laps. Juan Montoya is now shown as the leader.

Lap 94 -- Juan Montoya is at the front of the inside line of traffic, and he's even with leader Kasey Kahne on the outside. The race has reached the haflway point.

Lap 92 -- AJ Allmendinger has moved into third place, Juan Montoya into fourth.

Lap 90 -- With Kasey Kahne out front, it's the first time he's led a race this year.

Lap 89 -- Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne are still battling for the lead, and Michael Waltrip is now leading the third line of cars up top.

Lap 88 -- The lines led by Kasey Kahne on the outside and Matt Kenseth inside are side by side. There's a third line further back led by Jamie McMurray. Yikes!

Lap 87 -- Kasey Kahne hops to the outside line of traffic, where he's picked up by Michael Waltrip.

Lap 85 -- Jeff Gordon says that his water temperature is sky-rocketing, and that he needs to get out of the pack of traffic.

Lap 82 -- Matt Kenseth was able to hold Michael Waltrip's charge off, but they're only getting started.

Lap 81 -- Michael Waltrip draws alongside Matt Kenseth for the lead, and they're jockeying back and forth for the spot.

Lap 80 -- Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch are single file, with Michael Waltrip going after Kasey Kahne for third place.

Lap 79 -- He's back! Michael Waltrip is leading the outside line of traffic, and he's closing on leader Matt Kenseth.

Lap 77 -- Leader Matt Kenseth says that the vibration that his car had been experiencing is now pretty much gone.

Lap 75 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is all the way back in 19th place. Jeff Gordon fared a little bit better. He's in 10th.

Lap 73 -- Matt Kenseth comes out of the scramble with the lead, Kurt Busch is second.

Lap 72 -- Here we go! It's three wide for the lead, between Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Earnhardt is dropped back in the scramble.

Lap 70 -- The front five are single file, and Kyle Busch back in sixth place is at the head of a second line of traffic.

Lap 68 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth had broken away by several car lengths, but Jeff Gordon is quickly making up ground.

Lap 67 -- Matt Kenseth snakes out of third place to make a move on the outside, and he picks up leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. coming off Turn 4.

Lap 65 -- Jimmie Johnson is on pit road, and is being pushed to the garage. It appears to be a broken oil pump belt.

Lap 64 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now your race leader.

Lap 63 -- Once the green-flag stops are completed, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon are the top five.

Lap 62 -- Jeff Burton is on pit road, ending the cycle of stops.

Lap 61 -- Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Trevor Bayne, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Michael Waltrip and others are making their stops.

Lap 60 -- Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurry, Juan Montoya, Kasey Kahne and others are making their stops.

Lap 59 -- Kyle Busch, AJ. Allmendinger, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and others are on pit road.

Lap 58 -- Denny Hamlin drops onto pit road for the start off green-flag stops.

Lap 57 -- Pit stops are coming up in just a couple of laps. Matt Kenseth is reporting some kind of vibration.

Lap 55 -- Leader Matt Kenseth should be pitting in about four laps or so.

Lap 53 -- Crew chief Chad Knaus tells Jimmie Johnson that they'll be pitting in about eight laps.

Lap 52 -- Matt Kenseth works his way past Jimmie Johnson for the lead.

Lap 50 -- David Ragan is shown in 10th place.

Lap 49 -- After the shuffling for the lead, the first several cars have lined up single file. The first car to the outside is Jeff Gordon.

Lap 48 -- Kurt Busch is now in third, as Michael Waltrip drops to fourth.

Lap 46 -- Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. clear Michael Waltrip as they come through the trioval.

Lap 45 -- Here we go. Jimmie Johnson has finally caught up to Michael Waltrip on the outside. they're side by side for much of the lap.

Lap 44 - Ryan Newman is off the pace coming off Turn 4, but he's able to make it to pit road. He goes directly to the garage.

Lap 42 -- At the end of the backstretch, Micahel Waltrip hits 202 mph.

Lap 40 -- The top five on the leaderboard -- Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 39 -- If Michael Waltrip wins this race, can you begin to imagine what Fox's pre-race show will be like next week?

Lap 38 -- Denny Hamlin is at the front of a third line of traffic, but he's mired back in 14th place.

Lap 36 -- The outside line appeared to be ready to pull alongside leaders Michael Waltrip and Matt Kenseth on the backstretch, but the momentum is still not quite there.

Lap 35 -- Jimmie Johnson is still trying to work the high side of the track, and he's still not making a whole lot of progress.

Lap 32 -- Michael Waltrip has led 21 of his last 23 races here at Talladega.

Lap 31 -- Denny Hamlin has dropped back to 15th after trying to work under Matt Kenseth a couple of laps ago.

Lap 29 -- They're stacking up at the front of the field as Denny Hamlin tries to make a move in the trioval that doesn't work.

Lap 28 -- Michael Waltrip is still in charge, but it's tight racing with Jimmie Johnson trying to make up ground on the outside line.

Lap 26 -- Jimmie Johnson, fourth on the leaderboard, is leading an outside lane toward the front.

Lap 25 -- Denny Hamlin pushes Michael Waltrip into the lead on the backstretch.

Lap 23 -- Marcos Ambrose gets shuffled out of the lead group, and he drops very quickly out of the top 10.

Lap 22 -- Michael Waltrip is challenging Brad Keselowski for fourth place on the outside lane.

Lap 21 -- GREEN FLAG: Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski are the leaders. Biffle shoves Kenseth clear of the rest of the field in Turn 1. On the backstretch, Stewart drops behind Kenseth.

Lap 19 -- Clint Bowyer is on pit road with a mechanical issue.

Lap 17 -- Regan Smith won repeat his win over Tony Stewart here from a few years ago. No wait ... he won't repeat his shoulda-been win. Most of the leaders are on pit road. AJ Allmendinger will be penalized for speeding on pit road.

Lap 16 -- CAUTION FLAG NO. 1: Regan Smith's car appears to have blown an engine.

Lap 14 -- No change in the lead draft -- Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Marcos Ambrose and company.

Lap 11 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is trying to work a third line of traffic further back in the pack, so let's see if he's able to make any progress up there.

Lap 9 -- Most of the first half of the pack appears to be nice and orderly. Past that? Not so much.

Lap 8 -- Michael Waltrip is in sixth place, part of the single-file line at the front of the field.

Lap 6 -- Jeff Gordon is falling back through the field, but it appears to be by design.

Lap 5 -- About midway through the field, cars are getting stacked up three deep. So far, so good.

Lap 3 -- The front is still single file, but Jeff Gordon is trying to lead out a charge on the outside.

Lap 2 -- The first five cars are now single file, led by Tony Stewart.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The race gets under way at 1:51 p.m. ET. Jeff Gordon is clear of the rest of the field through Turns 1 and 2, but he's passed on the backstretch by the tandem of Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola. Then, through the trioval, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth get the advantage.

1:50 p.m. ET -- David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil will start from the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments.

1:47 p.m. ET -- One lap to go before the green flag, and then it'll be on like Donkey Kong!

1:42 p.m. ET -- The caution car is beginning to lead the field down pit road. Take a deep breath ... it's Talladega.

1:41 p.m. ET -- Drivers on pit road are being given the signal that there will be three pace laps prior to the green flag! We're almost ready to roll!

1:38 p.m. ET -- Comedian Ron White -- Tater Salad!!! -- gives the command to fire engines.

1:32 p.m. ET -- Singer/songwriter Margo Rey signs the national anthem. As she nears the finish, four T-38s from the 560th FTS do the traditional fly-over.

1:31 p.m. ET -- The schedule has now been bumped up. The invocation is given by Rev. Bob Lightsey, pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church and a volunteer with Alabama Raceway Ministries.

12:15 p.m. ET -- The start of the Aaron's 499 has been pushed back 45 minutes as track drying continues. The green flag is now scheduled to drop at 2:05 p.m. ET.

11:55 a.m. ET -- Jet dryers are on the track, and because of that, this is hereby declared a Juan Montoya joke-free zone.

8:03 a.m. ET -- The track is getting pounded by a thunderstorm for the moment, but clouds are expected to decrease by the start of the race. It's going to be a hot one, with temperatures forecast for the high 80s.

7:31 a.m. ET -- Jeff Gordon was once called Wonder Boy, and now he's Old Man River. Jeff Gordon's top qualfiying effort for the Aaron's 499 marked the 20th straight season he'd won a Cup pole position. That ties NASCAR Hall of Fame member David Pearson for the longest such streak in history.

It's the 71st pole of Gordon's career, third on the all-time list.

Alongside Gordon on the front row will be AJ Allmendinger, followed by Marcos Ambrose, Aric Almirola and Kasey Kahne in the top five. Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip and Matt Kenseth are sixth through 10th.

J.J. Yeley failed to qualify for the event.