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Lap-by-Lap: Talladega

October 07, 2012, , NASCAR.com

Lap 188 -- CHECKERED FLAG: There's a huge wreck between Turns 3 and 4. Matt Kenseth is the winner. Tony Stewart was upside down, but he's out of his car. Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, Dave Blaney, Marcos Ambrose, Casey Mears, David Ragan and several others were involved.

Lap 187 -- GREEN FLAG: Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Trevor Bayne and Tony Stewart are the leaders. Kenseth and Bowyer make big contact on the backstretch, but they keep going. Kenseth got too far out front, allowing Stewart to charge into the lead.

Lap 186 -- One to go! Hang on, folks!

Lap 185 -- Eleven cars did not pit. They are Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, Regan Smith, Aric Almirola, Michael Waltrip, Terry Labonte, Kasey Kahne and David Ragan.

Lap 184 -- Pit road will be open next time by. Most are taking the opportunity to get fuel. Casey Mears has to back up to get around Greg Biffle, who has his car at a weird angle in its pit stall.

Lap 183 -- What's this going to mean for fuel mileage?

Lap 182 -- YELLOW FLAG: Jamie McMurray is turned in the trioval by contact from the front bumper of Kevin Harvick's Chevrolet. Matt Kenseth is the leader. This is the fourth caution of the race.

Lap 181 -- Matt Kenseth is pushing Clint Bowyer toward the front on the outside.

Lap 180 -- Trevor Bayne has worked his way up to fourth place.

Lap 179 -- Several teams are on the cusp of fuel mileage. It ain't over 'til it's over!

Lap 178 -- Ten laps to go. Crew chief Chad Knaus tells Jimmie Johnson that he will run out of gas on the last lap.

Lap 177 -- Whew. Keep holding your breath! This is wild.

Lap 176 -- Jamie McMurray is the leader, with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch right behind him single file.

Lap 175 -- NASCAR tells lapped cars to stay out of the way.

Lap 174 -- Jeff Gordon gets a nudge from Dale Earnhardt Jr., and he, too, very nearly loses control.

Lap 173 -- Greg Biffle gets put on the apron and miraculously maintains control of his Ford. Jamie McMurray takes the lead.

Lap 172 -- Casey Mears is still up front, with Greg Biffle in his draft. Jamie McMurray leads the second line.

Lap 171 -- Matt Kenseth is all alone on the outside and falling back.

Lap 171 -- Casey Mears is the leader!

Lap 170 -- Matt Kenseth has a run under Jamie McMurray on the backstretch, and then Casey Mears tries to move to Kenseth's outside for the lead in Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 169 -- Jeff Gordon says Jamie McMurray is moving all over the track. Well, yeah. Everybody seems to be doing that right now!

Lap 168 -- Tony Stewart pushes Kevin Harvick through the field to take the lead in Turn 3.

Lap 167 -- There's a second pack of traffic including Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. They're all trying to save fuel. Jamie McMurray goes into the lead.

Lap 166 -- Jeff Gordon is discussing strategy. HOW can he sound that calm in the middle of this firestorm?

Lap 165 -- The first five cars have sorted out single file. That WON'T last!

Lap 164 -- The top seven cars have just 4/10ths of a second between them.

Lap 163 -- Greg Biffle has Kevin Harvick all over his rear bumper for the race lead.

Lap 162 -- This is super intense. Four wide going into Turn 3!

Lap 161 -- It's three wide for fourth place!

Lap 160 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still trying to work a third line on the outside.

Lap 159 -- There are less than 30 laps to go. Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray are side by side for the lead.

Lap 158 -- Juan Montoya goes to the garage.

Lap 157 -- Greg Biffle jumps under Jamie McMurray for the lead in Turn 3.

Lap 156 -- Jamie McMurray now has Greg Biffle on his rear bumper. The jockeying around is picking up big time.

Lap 155 -- Kevin Harvick pushes Jamie McMurray into the lead.

Lap 154 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is back in the pack, trying to work in a third line.

Lap 153 -- With the exception of leaders Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch, the entire field is double file, just like on the pace laps!

Lap 152 -- Greg Biffle clears the field for the lead between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 151 -- Kevin Manion, Jamie McMurray's crew chief, says the team is about a lap short on fuel. His driver takes the lead!

Lap 150 -- Jamie McMurray is making another run on the outside.

Lap 149 -- The pack is very noticeably tighter as the laps wind down.

Lap 148 -- Greg Biffle is still the leader, followed closely by Kyle Busch. Jamie McMurray gets a huge run on the backstretch.

Lap 148 -- Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth are now hooked up in the draft.

Lap 147 -- Whoaaaaaa ... Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon make big time contact in Turn 2. How did they not wreck?

Lap 146 -- Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick are still side by side, leading long lines of traffic.

Lap 145 -- Kevin Harvick has a nose out front in Turns 3 and 4, but Greg Biffle comes back hard on the inside.

Lap 144 -- Kevin Harvick is leading the second line of cars.

Lap 143 -- GREEN FLAG: Casey Mears, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick are the leaders on the restart. The strategies have been wild! Mears and Busch are clear in Turns 1 and 2, but not for long. Biffle moves to the lead with help from the lapped car of Dave Blaney.

Lap 142 -- Several cars stop for more gas.

Lap 142 -- Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne are on pit road to top off their fuel supplies. One to go at the stripe!

Lap 141 -- The leaders are on pit road. Pack those puppies full of fuel!

Lap 140 -- Kyle Busch gets the free pass. This could get REALLY interesting! There are less than 50 laps remaining.

Lap 139 -- YELLOW FLAG: There's debris in Turn 4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets back on the lead lap! This is just the third caution of the race.

Lap 138 -- Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth are single file at the front.

Lap 137 -- Hold on a second ... Dale Earnhardt Jr. was getting a lap back. That WASN'T for the lead ... sorry about that!

Lap 136 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going after the top spot in Turn 3.

Lap 135 -- In all the shuffling the last couple of laps, Kyle Busch has again went a lap down.

Lap 134 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is at the front of the second line of cars in Turn 4.

Lap 133 -- Matt Kenseth tucks in behind Greg Biffle.

Lap 132 -- Greg Biffle pushes Jamie McMurray past Matt Kenseth for the lead. That's teamwork for ya ... not!

Lap 131 -- Kyle Busch is still hanging onto the lead lap, by about the length of his rear bumper!

Lap 130 -- Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have shuffled their way into second and third place, right behind leader Matt Kenseth.

Lap 129 -- Greg Biffle is now fighting to stay in the top 10 after leading just a lap ago.

Lap 128 -- Greg Biffle's turn in the lead didn't last long as Matt Kenseth goes back to the front.

Lap 127 -- Aric Almirola pushes Greg Biffle into the lead going into Turn 1.

Lap 126 -- Less than 6/10ths of a second separates the top 10.

Lap 125 -- Greg Biffle has the second lane in tow, trying to move up to leader Matt Kenseth.

Lap 124 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is all over Jamie McMurray's rear bumper. They're in second and third place.

Lap 123 -- Greg Biffle is in fifth place, trying to pull forward on the second line.

Lap 122 -- Jeff Burton and Casey Mears are trying to pull second and third lines together, but they're kind of ragged right now.

Lap 121 -- Kyle Busch is at the front of the first line of traffic, but he's at the tail-end of the lead lap.

Lap 120 -- The first five cars are single file.

Lap 119 -- Matt Kenseth goes to the front of the field!

Lap 112 -- The front few cars are now single file.

Lap 111 -- Kevin Harvick is closing in on the lead.

Lap 110 -- Think this is easy? No way!

Lap 109 -- Look at how close these guys are!

Lap 108 -- Jamie McMurray is leading the outside line.

Lap 107 -- Casey Mears gets muscled out of line.

Lap 106 -- Casey Mears pushes Kyle Busch back onto the lead lap ... almost.

Lap 105 -- Matt Kenseth is still up front, with Juan Montoya in his wake.

Lap 104 -- GREEN FLAG: The top five on the restart are Marcos Ambrose, Casey Mears, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth. Kenseth bulls his way through traffic to take the lead!

Lap 103 -- Pace-car driver Brett Bodine tells the tower that the track looks good. One to go at the stripe.

Lap 102 -- NASCAR wanted Kurt Busch to stop, but he had his helmet off and couldn't hear his crew. He's being parked.

Lap 101 -- The leaders are on pit road. Kurt Busch pulls away from the accident site, trailing debris behind him.

Lap 100 -- Kasey Kahne is on pit road. He was also out of gas.

Lap 99 -- YELLOW FLAG: Kasey Kahne was off the pace, but then Kurt Busch spins off Turn 2. He says he's out of fuel.

Lap 98 -- Jeff Burton is leading the second line.

Lap 97 -- Kurt Busch wheels his car to the front of the field in his last race with team owner James Finch.

Lap 96 -- Jeff Burton is having one of his best runs of the year. He's in third place.

Lap 95 -- Matt Kenseth is now the leader. Teams have been given an extra person to over the wall to clean the windshield and assist the driver.

Lap 94 -- Jamie McMurray wasn't penalized for going below the yellow line because he was forced and he certainly didn't gain any positions.

Lap 93 -- Jamie McMurray got shoved below the yellow line in the tri-oval.

Lap 92 -- Getting around the lapped traffic has strung the front part of the field out single file. Kurt Busch is the leader, followed by Matt Kenseth.

Lap 91 -- The field fans out on the backstretch as it puts a lap on a small pack of traffic.

Lap 90 -- Matt Kenseth helps Kurt Busch take the lead.

Lap 89 -- Jamie McMurray is about to catch a line of traffic to lap it.

Lap 88 -- Kurt Busch goes after Jamie McMurray for the lead on the backstretch, but it doesn't work.

Lap 87 -- Drivers say Talladega is fairly easy to drive by themselves, but unimaginably difficult in traffic. Watching this race, that makes perfect sense!

Lap 86 -- The top 10 are separated by less than half a second. That's amazing.

Lap 85 -- Kevin Harvick has shoved his way up to second ... no, third. No. Second. Heck, he's up there somewhere!

Lap 84 -- Jeff Gordon still has help from Kasey Kahne in the third line, but they're back out of the top 10.

Lap 83 -- Jamie McMurray is back at the top of the leaderboard, with Joey Logano at the front of the inside line.

Lap 82 -- That didn't take long! Kasey Kahne pushes Jeff Gordon into the lead in Turn 3, but they lose each other coming through the trioval.

Lap 81 -- Jeff Gordon is now out of the top 10, leading a third line of cars on the outside.

Lap 80 -- Joey Logano is holding his own at the head of the inside line. He's a lap down, however.

Lap 79 -- Jeff Gordon and the lapped car of Joey Logano very nearly make contact in Turn 4. That was close!

Lap 78 -- Jamie McMurray moves into second in line behind Jeff Gordon, and then dives under him in an attempt to take the lead.

Lap 77 -- Joey Logano had reported debris on the track. Could he also be hoping for a caution?

Lap 76 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is lapped between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 75 -- Matt Kenseth is moving back toward the front.

Lap 74 -- Jeff Gordon is now in front of Kasey Kahne in the middle line.

Lap 73 -- Matt Kenseth pushes Jeff Gordon clear for the lead in Turn 3.

Lap 72 -- Jeff Gordon pulls alongside Jimmie Johnson for the leader on the backstretch.

Lap 71 -- Jeff Gordon has left Casey Mears' draft to jump in front of Matt Kenseth on the outside.

Lap 70 -- Matt Kenseth is leading the second line, but it's not nearly as fast as the inside right now.

Lap 69 -- Trevor Bayne is lapped on the backstretch.

Lap 68 -- Former leader Trevor Bayne is about to go a lap down after his pit-road penalty.

Lap 67 -- Jeff Gordon is sticking to Casey Mears like glue. They're in second and third place right now.

Lap 66 -- Leader Jimmie Johnson is entering Turn 1, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. is approaching Turn 3. Can Junior keep from going a lap down?

Lap 65 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is all by himself on the track, about 28 seconds behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 64 -- After the cycle of stops, the top five are Jimmie Johnson, Casey Mears, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Paul Menard.

Lap 63 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on pit road to serve his pass-through penalty.

Lap 62 -- Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Casey Mears, Aric Almirola, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, and several others are on pit road. Kyle Busch and Trevor Bayne, Dale Earnhardt Jr. are being penalized for speeding on pit road.

Lap 61 -- There's a huge pack on pit road, including Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Trevor Bayne and others.

Lap 60 -- Sam Hornish Jr., Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Bobby Labonte and others are on pit road.

Lap 59 -- Pit stops are coming up shortly.

Lap 58 -- Jeff Gordon is still helping former teammate Casey Mears, who is now the leader.

Lap 57 -- Matt Kenseth has moved back into the top 10.

Lap 56 -- The top three are Trevor Bayne, Aric Almirola and Casey Mears.

Lap 55 -- Shuffled out of the lead, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has settled into about ninth place.

Lap 54 -- Trevor Bayne gives Aric Almirola a thumbs up as they fire off down the backstretch.

Lap 53 -- Aric Almirola shoves Trevor Bayne into the lead at the starter's stand.

Lap 52 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. pushes Kurt Busch to the front for a moment, but Jeff Burton comes charging right back to the lead.

Lap 51 -- It's now Jeff Burton shown as the leader, with help from teammate Kevin Harvick.

Lap 50 -- Casey Mears goes to the front of the field as Dale Earnhardt Jr. drops back.

Lap 49 -- Dave Blaney is also having a day of days in eighth place.

Lap 48 -- This just isn't Carl Edwards' year. He's gone another lap down, this time in Turn 3.

Lap 47 -- How about David Reutimann in fifth place?!?

Lap 46 -- Casey Mears is leading the second line, ahead of Jeff Gordon.

Lap 45 -- Matt Kenseth is in front of a third line, just in front of Trevor Bayne. How damaged is his car?

Lap 44 -- Matt Kenseth is now shown in 31st place. That's the bad news. The good news is that his car is NOT in a wad right now!

Lap 43 -- The car that got Matt Kenseth sideways was his teammate Greg Biffle. How in the world did Kenseth save that car?!?

Lap 42 -- Matt Kenseth gets way out of shape in Turns 1 and 2, after contact with another car. There's no caution.

Lap 41 -- Matt Kenseth grabs the lead.

Lap 40 -- The front is getting shaken up a little bit. Clint Bowyer is trying to pull the second line forward.

Lap 39 -- Jeff Burton may be in 18th place right now, but he's less than a second behind leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 38 -- For the record, the first four cars are Dale Earnhardt Jr., JamIe McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch!

Lap 37 -- The first four cars in the running order have stretched out single file, but behind them, it's anybody's guess!

Lap 36 -- Kurt Busch has charged to the front of the second line of cars.

Lap 35 -- The rearview mirror has shaken loose in Denny Hamlin's car. That's not good!

Lap 34 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes into the lead.

Lap 33 -- Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin are running toward the back of the pack, probably in an effort to avoid trouble.

Lap 32 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still not able to pull the outside line to the front.

Lap 31 -- Casey Mears is having a decent run in ninth place.

Lap 30 -- It's still Matt Kenseth ... and pick 'em ... at the front of the field.

Lap 29 -- Jamie McMurray was second in line the last lap. He's now shown in sixth.

Lap 28 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets a huge push from Jamie McMurray going into Turn 3, but he can't quite hold the lead at the starter's stand.

Lap 27 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. moves to the front of the second line, but it's still not moving as well as the bottom groove.

Lap 26 -- The field has to squeeze tight in Turn 4 to get around the damaged car of Carl Edwards.

Lap 25 -- Jamie McMurray is again pacing the second line, and he's hustling as hard as he can to catch leader Matt Kenseth.

Lap 24 -- Holy cow, spoke too soon. Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rocket to the front going into Turn 1.

Lap 23 -- Matt Kenseth is at the front of the second line of traffic from the bottom, and it doesn't appear to be moving as well as the inside lane.

Lap 22 -- GREEN FLAG: Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray are the leaders on the restart. Kahne pushes Busch clear of the field going into Turn 1.

Lap 21 -- Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin pit.

Lap 20 -- Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard drop onto pit road this time around.

Lap 19 -- Most of the leaders are on pit road. Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin stayed out.

Lap 18 -- Joey Logano's car also received some damage.

Lap 17 -- YELLOW FLAG: The event's first caution is out for an accident involving Cole Whitt and Carl Edwards.

Lap 16 -- Give the lead to Kyle Busch, who runs just ahead of Matt Kenseth's all-pink Ford.

Lap 15 -- Kyle Busch is now at the head of the second line of traffic, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the inside line.

Lap 14 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. moves into the lead!

Lap 13 -- Denny Hamlin has dropped well off the pace. He's way, way, way out of the lead draft.

Lap 12 -- Clint Bowyer and Trevor Bayne are neck and neck at the stripe for the race lead.

Lap 11 -- Trevor Bayne roars into the lead between Turns 3 and 4 with help from Clint Bowyer.

Lap 10 -- Want close racing? How's this? The top 10 are separated by less than half a second.

Lap 9 -- It appeared that the tandem drafts might have made a comeback at the very beginning of the race, but that's no longer the case.

Lap 8 -- Clint Bowyer is making a charge to the front.

Lap 7 -- Most of the third lane has filtered toward the back of the pack. Kasey Kahne leads the low line, Trevor Bayne the outside.

Lap 6 -- It's still Kasey Kahne at the top of the leaderboard, but not by much!

Lap 5 -- Trevor Bayne briefly poked his nose into the lead going down the backstretch, but he doesn't appear to have a lot of help.

Lap 4 -- The top 27 cars are separated by less than a second. Wow. That's the only word for it. Wow.

Lap 3 -- This looks almost like the start of the Indianapolis 500, stacked three wide so far back!

Lap 2 -- There are three distinct lines of traffic shaping up.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The race goes green at 2:25 p.m. ET. Clint Bowyer pushes Kasey Kahne to the front between Turns 1 and 2, but teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart hook up on the backstretch for a run to the outside.

2:22 p.m. ET -- One to go at the stripe!

2:16 p.m. ET -- The caution car begins to roll off pit road with the field in tow. Hold your breath for the next three hours or so!

2:11 p.m. ET -- On the Kevin James Scale, this command to fire engines registers at about a nine! The robot moonwalk was a decent touch ...

2:07 p.m. ET -- It's four minutes until Kevin James' command to fire engines. The countdown is on!

2:05 p.m. ET -- Four T-38s from the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida do the fly-over. Just one flight in one of those bad boys. That's all I'm asking. Just one.

2:04 p.m. ET -- RaeLynn, Republic Nashville recording artist, sings the national anthem.

2:03 p.m. ET -- After the colors are presented by the Alabama Army National Guard, Billy Irvin, a volunteer with Alabama Raceway Ministries and director of ministry relations with FAITH Radio in Montgomery, Ala., gives the invocation.

1:47 p.m. ET -- Holy cow!!! Willie and Korie Robertson from A&E's "Duck Dynasty" are helping greet drivers as they walk across the pre-race stage. If only Uncle Si and Phil were around, we'd REALLY have a party!

1:37 p.m. ET -- There are some pretty cool paint schemes honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

1:30 p.m. ET -- Driver introductions are under way!

1:13 p.m. ET -- ESPN's Ray Evernham says that Brad Keselowski reminds him of Alan Kulwicki. Hmmmmm ... interesting.

1:04 p.m. ET -- It's heavily overcast here in central Alabama, but there's no rain on the radar. We should be good to go for some good ol' fashioned hammer-down racing!

1 p.m. ET -- ESPN's pre-race coverage from Talladega has started.

12:34 p.m. ET -- Actor Kevin James is the grand marshal for Sunday's Cup race at Talladega. He's got A LOT to live up to when it comes to topping his previous command to fire engines!

6:50 a.m. ET -- Kasey Kahne is on the pole with a lap of 191.455 mph. Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle are second through fifth, while Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr. and Sam Hornish Jr. round out the top 10.