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Lap-by-Lap: Iowa

May 20, 2012, , NASCAR.com

Lap 250 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Michael McDowell and Kurt Busch tangle and Sam Hornish Jr. has slapped the wall, but that doesn't matter to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He dominated the race, leading 209 of 250 laps to claim his third consecutive victory at Iowa.

Lap 247 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has a couple of lapped cars between him and second-place Elliott Sadler.

Lap 245 -- Third-place Kurt Busch says that his engine may be laying down. He's still on Elliott Sadler's bumper, but Michael McDowell is closing in on him for his spot.

Lap 242 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has radioed his crew saying that his car is getting looser and looser every time around the track.

Lap 240 -- Ten laps to go. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s lead over Elliott Sadler stands at about 1.5 seconds.

Lap 237 -- Kurt Busch tries to find an opening under Elliott Sadler in Turns 3 and 4 for second place, but it's not there.

Lap 234 -- Elliott Sadler may face a challenge from Kurt Busch for second place in the next few laps.

Lap 232 -- The 191 laps that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has paced are the most he's ever led in a Nationwide Series event.

Lap 230 -- Twenty laps to go.

Lap 227 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has lead of 1.4 seconds over second-place Elliott Sadler.

Lap 223 -- Michael McDowell blows past Austin Dillon for fourth place.

Lap 221 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. picks his way through some lapped traffic.

Lap 218 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is in the process of opening up another substantial lead over second place. It's now up to about 1.3 seconds.

Lap 215 -- Elliott Sadler clears Kurt Busch for second place coming off Turn 4.

Lap 214 -- Elliott Sadler takes to the high side of the track to try to get around Kurt Busch for second place.

Lap 212 -- The top-four cars -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon -- are separated by two or three car lengths each.

Lap 209 -- Kurt Busch is not losing ground to leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Lap 207 -- GREEN FLAG: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Cole Whitt are the leaders. Stenhouse comes out of a hard scramble with the lead.

Lap 204 -- Justin Allgaier and Michael McDowell are on pit road. Most of the other cars on the lead lap stay on the track.

Lap 202 -- YELLOW FLAG: The caution is out for Travis Pastrana's stalled car.

Lap 200 -- Fifty laps to go. Travis Pastrana is very slow on the apron of the frontstretch.

Lap 197 -- Austin Dillon has come out on top of the fight for fourth place.

Lap 195 -- Austin Dillon and Justin Allgaier are still going after each other for fourth place.

Lap 193 -- Kurt Busch, Justin Allgaier and Austin Dillon are battling hard for second place. Busch takes the spot for the time being.

Lap 190 -- Kurt Busch gets way loose in Turn 2, which allows Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler to move past him for second and third places.

Lap 188 -- GREEN FLAG: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier and Austin Dillon are the leaders. Busch slams his car to the bottom of the track to take the leader from Stenhouse.

Lap 182 -- The leaders are pitting. Michael McDowell will be penalized for speeding at the entrance to pit road.

Lap 180 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: Another tire problem sends Taylor Malsam into the wall between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 178 -- The tires on Sam Hornish Jr.'s car had been worn to the cord. That's been an issue on a few cars today.

Lap 172 -- Kurt Busch is eating into Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s lead. He's erased more than a second in the last few laps.

Lap 170 -- Early race leader Sam Hornish Jr. makes an early stop, and it's a slow one.

Lap 168 -- The top five are currently Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon and Michael McDowell.

Lap 163 -- Kurt Busch is quick, but he's got a lot of ground to make up if he's going to challenge Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the lead.

Lap 159 -- Kurt Busch is now up to second place, about four seconds behind leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Lap 155 -- The leaders will have to make at least one more stop, but they shouldn't come until about lap 200 or so.

Lap 150 -- One hundred laps to go. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leads Elliott Sadler by nearly four seconds.

Lap 147 -- Austin Dillon uses a lapped car as a pick to take fourth place away from Justin Allgaier.

Lap 146 -- Austin Dillon is trying to pick his way past Justin Allgaier for fourth place.

Lap 143 -- Give third place to Kurt Busch after he roars past Justin Allgaier for the spot.

Lap 140 -- Kurt Busch is now up to fourth, about four seconds behind leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Lap 134 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. must be used to the view up front here at Iowa. He's led 96 laps so far.

Lap 130 -- Elliott Sadler is on Justin Allgaier's rear bumper, looking for a way to make a move for second place.

Lap 126 -- The decision to put two tires on Cole Whitt's car isn't working out so well. He continues to get passed on the track.

Lap 121 -- Elliott Sadler goes under Cole Whitt for the lead, and Justin Allgaier gives a thought to going three wide under them both.

Lap 120 -- GREEN FLAG: The leaders are Cole Whitt, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Dillon. Whitt gets a healthy jump on Sadler and is clear in Turns 1 and 2, but Sadler comes back on him at the opposite end of the track.

Lap 117 -- The leaders are back on pit road for a round of stops. Cole Whitt's team takes just two tires, rolling him out in first place.

Lap 115 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: Danica Patrick has slammed the wall between Turns 3 and 4 after a tire problem.

Lap 114 -- The plastic on Austin Dillon's car finally blows away.

Lap 111 -- The water temperature on Austin Dillon's car has risen to about 260 degrees. He's dropping back to follow someone and hopefully remove the debris.

Lap 109 -- Austin Dillon slides under Justin Allgaier for second place. The debris is still there.

Lap 106 -- The grille of Austin Dillon's Chevrolet has picked up a large piece of plastic. He's dropped behind Justin Allgaier hoping to get it to blow away.

Lap 103 -- Austin Dillon has moved around Elliott Sadler for third place, and is going hard after Justin Allgaier for second place.

Lap 97 -- The hard racing behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has allowed him to power out to a lead of more than 2.5 seconds.

Lap 94 -- Elliott Sadler tries going under Justin Allgaier for second coming off Turn 2, but it doesn't work. Rookie Austin Dillon joins the fray right behind Sadler.

Lap 93 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s lead over Justin Allgaier is about 1.1 seconds.

Lap 90 -- Elliott Sadler is trying everything he can think of to get past Justin Allgaier for second place.

Lap 87 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. muscles his way past Justin Allgaier for the lead.

Lap 86 -- There's a tight six-car pack from fifth-place Elliott Sadler on back that's racing hard.

Lap 84 -- GREEN FLAG: The leaders on the restart are Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Justin Allgaier, Michael McDowell, Austin Dillon and Elliott Sadler. Allgaier gets a nose out front going into Turn 3, and clears for the top spot the next corner.

Lap 77 -- After the accident site is cleared, the pits are open. The leaders roll in for service.

Lap 75 -- Michael McDowell is on pit road with the hood up.

Lap 73 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: Jeff Green has pounded the wall after blowing a right front tire in Turn 1.

Lap 69 -- The handling on Sam Hornish Jr.'s car appears to be going away as Austion Dillon moves around him for fourth place. Hornish is also facing a challenge from Elliott Sadler.

Lap 67 -- Justin Allgaier gets by Sam Hornish Jr. for third place going into Turn 3.

Lap 64 -- Wow! Here comes Michael McDowell after Sam Hornish Jr. for second place in Turns 1 and 2.

Lap 61 -- Austin Dillon passes his Richard Childress Racing teammate Elliott Sadler for fifth place.

Lap 57 -- Kurt Busch continues his march toward the front. He's now up to eighth place

Lap 52 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s lead over Sam Hornish Jr. is holding steady at about 1.4 seconds.

Lap 49 -- Justin Allgaier isn't giving up on third place. He's still within striking distance of Michael McDowell for the position.

Lap 46 -- Give another spot to Michael McDowell, who has passed Justin Allgaier for third place.

Lap 43 -- Michael McDowell gets a run on Elliott Sadler for fourth place coming off Turn 4.

Lap 40 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s lead over Sam Hornish Jr. has grown to about 1.3 seconds.

Lap 38 -- Morgan Shepherd has slowed on the race track. Everyone's able to get around him without incident.

Lap 33 -- After getting around Sam Hornish Jr. for first place, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has scooted out to a healthy advantage of several car lengths.

Lap 31 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dives under Sam Hornish Jr. in Turn 2 to grab the lead. Stenhouse won both races here last season.

Lap 29 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has caught leader Sam Hornish Jr.

Lap 27 -- After starting from the rear of the field, Kurt Busch has made his way up to 13th place.

Lap 25 -- The top five -- Sam Hornish Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier and Michael McDowell -- are separated on the track by more than 2.6 seconds.

Lap 21 -- Leader Sam Hornish Jr. has worked his way through some lapped traffic, and now Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler are having to do the same thing.

Lap 18 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has moved around Elliott Sadler for second place.

Lap 14 -- Most of the field has sorted itself out single file.

Lap 10 -- Sam Hornish Jr. has opened up a lead of about 1.5 seconds.

Lap 6 -- Elliott Sadler gets around Justin Allgaier for second place, but then Allgaier comes right back after him.

Lap 4 -- Justin Allgaier goes three wide past Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for second.

Lap 3 -- Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are still flighting it out for second place.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The race goes green at 2:17 p.m. ET. Elliott Sadler wiggles in Turn 2, and gets passed for the lead by Sam Hornish Jr. Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slap doors coming off the last corner.

2:11 p.m. ET -- It's feeling like a surprise winner kind of day. Let's go with Michael McDowell ... or Darrell Wallace Jr. Sure, it's his first Nationwide Series start, but he's the real deal.

2:09 p.m. ET -- Todd Frazier, the business director for race sponsor Pioneer, gives the command to fire engines.

2:04 p.m. ET -- Four F16s from the 124th Fighter Squadron of the Iowa Air National Guard do the fly over.

2:02 p.m. ET -- Recording artist Bucky Covington sings the national anthem.

2:01 p.m. ET -- Merle Smith, a chaplain with Iowa Speedway Ministries, is giving the invocation. The colors were presented by the Iowa National Guard.

1:56 p.m. ET -- Five minutes until the start of the invocation and national anthem.

7:50 a.m. ET -- The top-four drivers in qualifying -- Elliott Sadler, Sam Hornish Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell -- were separated by less than 2/10ths of a second. Justin Allgaier took fifth, while Austin Dillon, Brian Scott, Darrell Wallace Jr., Danica Patrick and Parker Kligerman round out the top 10.