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Lap-by-Lap: Chicagoland

September 16, 2012, ,

Lap 267 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Brad Keselowski sails across the finish line with the victory. Denny Hamlin runs out of gas on the last lap and drops out of the top 10 as a result

Lap 266 -- Brad Keselowski is unchallenged up front.

Lap 263 -- Travis Kvapil is slow on the backstretch. Will he be able to make it back to pit road?

Lap 262 -- Brad Keselowski has hit the afterburners. The lead over Jimmie Johnson now stands at 3.1 seconds.

Lap 259 -- Debris is reported on the track, but NASCAR says it's clear. It couldn't have been Jimmie Johnson, could it?

Lap 258 -- Jeff Gordon is back on the race track, in 35th place.

Lap 257 -- Ten laps to go. Jimmie Johnson has dropped to two seconds behind Brad Keselowski.

Lap 255 -- The margin between Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson is now down to 1.6 seconds.

Lap 253 -- Kyle Busch takes fourth place from Ryan Newman.

Lap 250 -- Jimmie Johnson has gained a couple of tenths on Brad Keselowski, but will he be able to sustain enough momentum to contend for the victory?

Lap 246 -- Third-place Kasey Kahne trails leader Brad Keselowski by 6.2 seconds. Keselowski has an 11.4-second cushion over fourth-place Ryan Newman.

Lap 245 -- Brad Keselowski leads Jimmie Johnson by 1.8 seconds.

Lap 243 -- After the cycle of stops, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch.

Lap 240 -- NASCAR has reviewed tape of Brad Keselowski coming back onto the track, and it determines that it was an acceptable move.

Lap 234 -- Jimmie Johnson is angry, because he feels that Brad Keselowski blended onto the track too early following his pit stop. He says that impeded his momentum.

Lap 232 -- Brad Keselowski passes Jimmie Johnson coming off Turn 2.

Lap 230 -- Brad Keselowski and Greg Biffle drop onto pit road.

Lap 229 -- Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Sam Hornish Jr. stop.

Lap 228 -- Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are making their stops.

Lap 227 -- Joey Logano is on pit road.

Lap 220 -- Kasey Kahne, in third place, is about 4.4 seconds behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 217 -- Brad Keselowski is still losing ground to leader Jimmie Johnson. The gap between them is now up to 2.1 seconds. Fifty laps to go.

Lap 215 -- Stewart Haas Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart are running in eighth and ninth, respectively.

Lap 213 -- Nobody can make it the rest of the way on fuel, so expect one more round of pit stops.

Lap 209 -- Denny Hamlin has moved back into the top five, past Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch.

Lap 208 -- Jimmie Johnson now leads Brad Keselowski by 1.3 seconds.

Lap 204 -- Dave Blaney lost power on the track, but he's able to limp back to pit road without bringing out the caution.

Lap 202 -- Kyle Busch has been hanging around the top five most of the day. He's in fifth now.

Lap 200 -- The win goes to Jimmie Johnson. No ... wait. Saturday's Nationwide Series race was 200 laps. We've still got a lot of racing left today!

Lap 198 -- Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne are each separated by a car length or two.

Lap 196 -- Four wide on the frontstretch! Can that really work? Guess so ...

Lap 195 -- GREEN FLAG: Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are the leaders on the restart. Johnson flies into the lead in Turn 1.

Lap 191 -- Matt Kenseth's crew is under the hood, replacing the missing shock absorber.

Lap 190 -- The leaders are on pit road.

Lap 189 -- Jeff Gordon has gone straight to the garage.

Lap 188 -- YELLOW FLAG: Jeff Gordon gets into the wall in Turn 1 to bring out the race's fourth caution.

Lap 186 -- The debris on Jimmie Johnson's grille is gone. He dislodges it by pulling right up to the rear bumper of Landon Cassill's car on the backstretch.

Lap 184 -- Matt Kenseth still hasn't pitted to replace the missing right-front shock. What a job that be to manhandle that car around the track.

Lap 180 -- Running third, Kasey Kahne is about 4.2 seconds behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 178 -- So far, so good on Jimmie Johnson's debris issue. He's about 1.2 seconds ahead of second-place Brad Keselowski.

Lap 175 -- Jimmie Johnson's car has picked up a fairly big piece of debris on the grille. Will that cause an overheating issue?

Lap 174 -- Jeff Gordon goes around Ryan Newman for fourth place on the frontstretch.

Lap 171 -- Kasey Kahne has caught back up to Ryan Newman for third place. He goes to the high side in Turns 3 and 4 to take the position.

Lap 169 -- A shock absorber has apparently fallen off of Matt Kenseth's Ford. He's fallen all the way back to 24th place.

Lap 167 -- There are 100 laps to go. Jimmie Johnson now leads Brad Keselowski by about 8/10ths of a second.

Lap 165 -- Ryan Newman has been able to hang onto third place following the restart.

Lap 163 -- Brad Keselowski isn't letting Jimmie Johnson get away from him.

Lap 160 -- There's a huge pack of traffic going into Turn 3. This could get ugly quick!

Lap 158 -- GREEN FLAG: Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman lead the field to the restart. Johnson clears for the lead in Turns 1 and 2.

Lap 157 -- Another restart is waved off because of debris on the track.

Lap 156 -- The restart is called off when the wave-around cars fail to get into proper order.

Lap 151 -- Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr. and Carl Edwards had not yet pitted when the caution came out. They're on pit road, along with Kyle Busch.

Lap 149 -- YELLOW FLAG: The third caution comes out when Casey Mears slaps the wall between Turns 1 and 2. Kyle Busch was on pit road when the yellow flag flew.

Lap 148 -- Martin Truex Jr., Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton are pitting.

Lap 147 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick are pitting.

Lap 146 -- Mark Martin makes his pit stop.

Lap 145 -- Jimmie Johnson again looks low in Turns 3 and 4, but he still can't make the move work.

Lap 143 -- Kurt Busch is pitting.

Lap 141 -- Brad Keselowski is holding Jimmie Johnson off, despite the fact he changed just two tires on his last two stops.

Lap 139 -- Jimmie Johnson looks under Brad Keselowski in Turns 3 and 4, but can't make a move just yet.

Lap 137 -- Jimmie Johnson has closed further still on Brad Keselowski.

Lap 134 -- Brad Keselowski has just one top-10 finish here in three Sprint Cup starts. He finished fifth here in the spring. The race has reached the halfway point.

Lap 132 -- Jimmie Johnson is closing back in on Brad Keselowski. The margin is now car lengths, not seconds.

Lap 129 -- Kevin Harvick's two-tire stop isn't working out as well as Brad Keselowski's. Harvick is back to 14th.

Lap 126 -- Joey Logano and Kyle Busch appear to be closing in on Kasey Kahne for third place.

Lap 122 -- The race for the lead has settled down for the time being. Brad Keselowski has opened up an advantage of about 8/10ths of a second.

Lap 119 -- Third-place Kasey Kahne in running in the wake of the front two cars. Kahne is a full second ahead of fourth-place Joey Logano.

Lap 117 -- Kevin Harvick has dropped back to 10th place following his two-tire stop.

Lap 115 -- Jimmie Johnson is stalking Brad Keselowski from about three car lengths back.

Lap 112 -- Joe Gibbs Racing cars are running fourth, fifth and sixth right now.

Lap 110 -- Brad Keselowski is still hanging onto the top spot.

Lap 108 -- Tony Stewart goes three wide under Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman on the frontstretch. That was a hard battle for 10th place.

Lap 106 -- GREEN FLAG: Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano bring the field to the green. Keselowski clears for the lead in Turn 2.

Lap 103 -- The leaders are on pit road. Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick take two tires.

Lap 100 -- YELLOW FLAG: The race's second caution is out for debris in Turn 3.

Lap 98 -- An official reports debris near the entrance to pit road, but it's far enough out of the groove not to bring out the yellow.

Lap 96 -- There's a report of debris on the race track, but inspectors in the area say that it's clear.

Lap 94 -- Kyle Busch has very quietly picked his way up to fourth place. He's about 5.8 seconds behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 93 -- Jimmie Johnson leads Kasey Kahne by about 1.4 seconds. It's another 1.5 seconds or so back to third-place Joey Logano.

Lap 91 -- Denny Hamlin's car is way too tight. He's in seventh place right now.

Lap 89 -- Jimmie Johnson has never won here at Chicagoland. His best finishes are two second-place efforts.

Lap 84 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running in ninth place.

Lap 82 -- Kasey Kahne has dropped to 8/10ths of a second behind leader Jimmie Johnson. Third-place Joey Logano is about. 2.3 seconds behind Johnson.

Lap 80 -- Mark Martin has a pack that includes Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch right behind him.

Lap 78 -- Mark Martin is in sixth place.

Lap 76 -- Kasey Kahne is running a much lower line in the turns, while Jimmie Johnson is consistently going to the high side.

Lap 74 -- Kasey Kahne is looking back under Jimmie Johnson for the top spot in Turn 4.

Lap 73 -- Jimmie Johnson clears Kasey Kahne for the lead.

Lap 72 -- GREEN FLAG: Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon are the leaders on the restart. Kahne and Johnson remain side by side the entire lap.

Lap 71 -- Tony Stewart is back on pit road due to a vibration.

Lap 68 -- The leaders are on pit road. Most take just two tires. Brad Keselowski gets four fresh tires, and drops from third to 10th as a result.

Lap 66 -- YELLOW FLAG: The event's first caution is out for debris in Turn 2.

Lap 64 -- Jeff Gordon, currently shown in seventh place, isn't happy with the handling on his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Lap 62 - Kasey Kahne is closing on leader Jimmie Johnson. The gap is now down to less than a second.

Lap 60 -- There's something you don't see every day. After his initial pit stop on the last cycle, Travis Kvapil dragged his jack all the way around the track.

Lap 58 -- Denny Hamlin has fallen back another spot, to fifth place.

Lap 56 -- Joey Logano takes over third place from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.

Lap 55 -- Regan Smith is having a decent run back in 10th place.

Lap 53 -- Leader Jimmie Johnson leads Kasey Kahne by 1.3 seconds.

Lap 50 -- After the cycle of green-flag pit stops, the top five are Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth.

Lap 48 -- Brad Keselowski is pitting. Here comes Matt Kenseth right behind him.

Lap 47 -- Jimmie Johnson gives up the lead to drop into his pit stall.

Lap 46 -- Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart are stopping.

Lap 45 -- Jeff Gordon is pitting.

Lap 44 -- Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin are on pit road.

Lap 41 -- Juan Montoya and Jamie McMurray are making their stops.

Lap 40 -- Sam Hornish Jr. and Mark Martin are on pit road.

Lap 38 -- Brad Keselowski roars to the outside of Aric Almirola for third place coming off Turn 2.

Lap 36 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Trevor Bayne bang doors on the frontstretch. Both are able to continue without further incident.

Lap 34 -- Jimmie Johnson puts a lap on Danica Patrick.

Lap 32 -- Move Kasey Kahne into second by Aric Almirola, while Brad Keselowski has taken over fourth place from Denny Hamlin.

Lap 30 -- The top-five drivers are Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski.

Lap 27 -- Jimmie Johnson leads second-place Aric Almirola by 2.5 seconds. Let's see how that holds up while they work through the tail-end of the field.

Lap 26 -- Leader Jimmie Johnson is in some heavy traffic that's trying to keep from going a lap down.

Lap 24 -- Aric Almirola goes back into second place, around Kasey Kahne.

Lap 23 -- After starting from the rear of the field, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is up to 22nd in the running order.

Lap 21 -- Brad Keselowski drops Matt Kenseth back another spot. Kes is up to sixth.

Lap 18 -- Clint Bowyer slips past Matt Kenseth for fifth place going into Turn 3.

Lap 14 -- Jimmie Johnson leads Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne by 1.8 seconds.

Lap 9 -- Kasey Kahne is finally able to clear Aric Almirola for second.

Lap 7 -- Kasey Kahne moves to the low side of Aric Almirola for second place.

Lap 3 -- Jimmie Johnson gets under Aric Almirola for the top spot.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The race gets under way at 2:20 p.m. ET. Aric Almirola goes to the lead.

2:17 p.m. ET -- One to go at the stripe. The field is in Turns 3 and 4.

2:15 p.m. ET -- Pit-road speed today will be 45 mph.

2:13 p.m. ET -- Pace-car driver Brett Bodine begins to ease the field off pit road.

2:12 p.m. ET -- Race director David Hoots polls inspectors on pit road, asking if drivers are ready to participate.

2:09 p.m. ET -- Scott Markel, midwest regional vice president for GEICO, gives the command to fire engines.

2:04 p.m. ET -- Three T-38 jet fighters from 435 FTS, "The Deadly Black Eagles," do the fly over. Give anything for a hop in one of those suckers!

2:02 p.m. ET -- Capitol Records Nashville platinum-selling recording artist Luke Bryan sings the national anthem.

2:01 p.m. ET -- After Company E from the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion out of Joliet, Ill. presents the colors, Glenn Spoolstra of Raceway Ministries gives the invocation.

1:44 p.m. ET -- Delana Harvick, meet Tony Stewart!

1:24 p.m. ET -- Gotta admit. The Mobil 1 commercials with Tony Stewart and Lewis Hamilton are pretty funny.

1:13 p.m. ET -- Jeff Gordon's mustache is back. If he wins the championship this year, someone should toast him with a glass of milk as Dale Earnhardt did at the banquet back in 1995.

1 p.m. ET -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start from the rear of the field due to an unapproved engine change. ESPN's pre-race coverage has also began.

7:15 a.m. ET -- Jimmie Johnson is on the pole with a lap of 182.865 mph. Aric Almirola, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards. Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano round out the top 10.