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Lap-by-Lap: Phoenix

November 14, 2011, ,

Lap 312 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Kasey Kahne snaps a winless streak of more than two seasons, and Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart finish second and third. Jeff Burton was fourth and Ryan Newman was fifth in the Kobalt Tools 500. The points are identical to where they were coming in: Carl Edwards leads Tony Stewart by three points going into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Lap 311 -- WHITE FLAG: Kasey Kahne is leading Carl Edwards by more than one second.

Lap 310 -- Kasey Kahne's lead is 1.15 seconds.

Lap 309 -- Kasey Kahne leads by 1.3 seconds.

Lap 308 -- Kasey Kahne has stretched his lead to 1.3 seconds.

Lap 307 -- Clint Bowyer is running 10th.

Lap 306 -- It's a two-car race. Third-place Jeff Burton is 3.9 seconds behind.

Lap 305 -- Carl Edwards is down by less than eight-tenths of a second to Kasey Kahne.

Lap 304 -- Carl Edwards is methodically closing on Kasey Kahne. But does he have enough room to get the victory?

Lap 302 -- As they run, Carl Edwards has a four-point gap on Tony Stewart in the points.

Lap 301 -- It's been 81 races since Kasey Kahne last visited Victory Lane.

Lap 300 -- It's Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman in the top five.

Lap 299 -- Kasey Kahne takes over the lead when Brad Keselowski slows down for the pits. He's up 1.3 seconds on Carl Edwards.

Lap 298 -- Lapped traffic is slowing Kasey Kahne down, and Edwards has cut it to about 1.5 seconds.

Lap 297 -- Kasey Kahne has about a two-second lead on Carl Edwards.

Lap 295 -- Brad Keselowski has yet to pit. He's the leader, with Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart rounding out the top five.

Lap 294 -- Tony Stewart is calling for no tires, and four gallons of fuel. He was going to take left-sides, but changed his mind.

Lap 293 -- Sorry to harp, but Kurt Busch: "Just trying to make sure we finish 11th in points, aren't we? Unreal."

Lap 292 -- Brad Keselowski is up to fifth, with Mark Martin fourth. Carl Edwards pits and takes right-sides only with some fuel. It was a 6.9 second stop.

Lap 291 -- Carl Edwards' lead is 4.7 seconds.

Lap 289 -- Kurt Busch is running 22nd after pitting from the lead.

Lap 288 -- Kasey Kahne pits from second place and takes right-side tires and some fuel, along with air pressure adjustments to his rear tires.

Lap 287 -- A.J. Allmendinger takes left sides only and some fuel.

Lap 286 -- A.J. Allmendinger is back up to fifth.

Lap 285 -- Carl Edwards will pit in about seven laps and take left-side tires only and some fuel. Hopefully enough to get him to the end!

Lap 284 -- Carl Edwards is still out front with Kasey Kahne right behind him. Tony Stewart is still third.

Lap 282 -- Kurt Busch: "We just never learn from our mistakes. Brilliant. Just brilliant."

Lap 281 -- Carl Edwards is now the leader. Kurt Busch was flagged for entering too quickly and will have a pass-through. Call it insult to injury.

Lap 279 -- Kurt Busch heads for the pits and reports he's out of fuel. He takes two tires and fuel. He took a little extra time to get fuel. He stalled it trying to leave the pits and they're trying to bleed some into his tank to help him.

Lap 277 -- Carl Edwards continues to eye the lead, but Kurt Busch is holding him off. Busch will pit on the next lap.

Lap 276 -- Kurt Busch continues to hold the lead.

Lap 275 -- Carl Edwards is looking for a way around Kurt Busch, but can't quite find the right line just yet.

Lap 274 -- Green-flag pit stops are under way.

Lap 273 -- Carl Edwards is still drawing nearer, and looks like he's going to take the outside line.

Lap 272 -- Carl Edwards is closing ever so much on the rear bumper of Kurt Busch.

Lap 271 -- Jamie McMurray gets past Kevin Harvick for 14th, and Clint Bowyer followed him.

Lap 268 -- Jeff Burton is closing on Ryan Newman for fifth.

Lap 267 -- Juan Montoya is up to 13th.

Lap 266 -- Tony Stewart remains fourth, but he's 5.4 seconds back.

Lap 265 -- We're closing in on green-flag stops, probably in the next 10-15 laps.

Lap 264 -- Kurt Busch has finished in the top 10 in five of the past six races at Phoenix.

Lap 262 -- Carl Edwards is looking to close up on Kurt Busch as he's now three-tenths of a second behind as lapped traffic helps his cause.

Lap 261 -- Kurt Busch: "Remind me never go to through the dogleg like I did on the previous lap EVER again."

Lap 259 -- There are eight Chasers on the lead lap, and six of them in the top 15.

Lap 258 -- Kasey Kahne is also closing in third, now just 1.3 seconds off the pace.

Lap 256 -- And here comes Carl Edwards. I really am uncanny with these curses. Sorry, drivers!

Lap 255 -- Jeff Burton, David Reutimann, A.J. Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose and Paul Menard are the second five in this race.

Lap 254 -- Kurt Busch's lead on Carl Edwards is .6 seconds.

Lap 253 -- There are only six cars within 10 seconds of the leader.

Lap 251 -- Methinks Carl Edwards is using the fact he's got a two-second lead on third-place Kasey Kahne to try to conserve fuel. I don't think he's really making an effort to cut into Kurt Busch's lead.

Lap 250 -- Kurt Busch said his car is really good, but is starting to get a little snug.

Lap 249 -- Marcos Ambrose is up into the top 10. Juan Montoya is back to 14th.

Lap 247 -- Tony Stewart says they might have taken too much air pressure out of his right-front as he's now 5.7 seconds off the pace set by Kurt Busch.

Lap 246 -- Kurt Busch has stretched his lead out to just about one second.

Lap 245 -- A.J. Allmendinger gets around Paul Menard for eighth.

Lap 244 -- Kasey Kahne is running third, but he's 3.4 seconds behind Kurt Busch in the lead.

Lap 243 -- Carl Edwards is seven-tenths of a second behind Kurt Busch, but he was told by crew chief Bob Osborne they were 18 laps short on fuel.

Lap 242 -- A.J. Allmendinger gets around Denny Hamlin for ninth.

Lap 241 -- Kasey Kahne gets past Tony Stewart for third. Tony Stewart wants to get a little looser, but not too much.

Lap 240 -- A.J. Allmendinger restarted fifth but is running 10th now.

Lap 239 -- Jeff Burton also gets past his teammate Paul Menard, whose two-tire call isn't working as well as Kurt Busch's. Burton is now sixth.

Lap 237 -- Carl Edwards is slicing into Kurt Busch's lead, as it's down to about 1.3 seconds now. Tony Stewart is another 2.5 seconds back.

Lap 236 -- Denny Hamlin is up to ninth. Ryan Newman passes Paul Menard for fifth.

Lap 235 -- Tony Stewart passes Paul Menard for third, and Kasey Kahne follows him into fourth.

Lap 234 -- Of the Chase cars still on the track, Jeff Gordon is the backmarker in 30th.

Lap 233 -- Mark Martin may not have the speed to run in the top five, but he's pretty consistently been in the top 15.

Lap 232 -- Kurt Busch is now up by nearly two seconds on Carl Edwards.

Lap 231 -- Carl Edwards takes second from Paul Menard.

Lap 230 -- Kasey Kahne is all over Tony Stewart for fourth.

Lap 229 -- Jeff Burton is running eighth, and Ryan Newman passes A.J. Allmendinger for sixth.

Lap 228 -- Kurt Busch's lead over Paul Menard is nearly a second.

Lap 227 -- Kevin Harvick is up to 13th. Joey Logano is running 12th.

Lap 226 -- Kasey Kahne has gotten past A.J. Allmendinger for fifth.

Lap 225 -- Kurt Busch checks out with the inside line. Carl Edwards clears Tony Stewart for third.

Lap 224 -- GREEN FLAG: Kurt Busch and Paul Menard, with two tires each, lead the field to green.

Lap 223 -- One to go.

Lap 222 -- The top five on the restart will be Kurt Busch, Paul Menard, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and A.J. Allemendinger. The track is tightening up a bit, but Stewart said track position is key.

Lap 221 -- Greg Erwin calls over the radio for four tires and no adjustments on A.J. Allmendinger's car. Kurt Busch took two tires and a chassis adjustment. Tony Stewart took air out of the right-front and took four tires. Carl Edwards had no changes and four tires. Kurt Busch is the fastest off pit road with his two tires, and Paul Menard was second off with two tires as well.

Lap 220 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 8: Robby Gordon got into the wall. Kasey Kahne had gotten past Kurt Busch for the fourth spot.

Lap 219 -- Kevin Harvick is still hanging out in 14th place.

Lap 218 -- Jeff Gordon is having all kinds of brake problems.

Lap 217 -- Jeff Burton is back in the top 10.

Lap 216 -- A.J. Allmendinger has picked up nearly a second on second-place Carl Edwards.

Lap 214 -- Kyle Busch said there was no indication for what caused his engine to give up the ghost.

Lap 213 -- Matt Kenseth said there's nothing more premeditated than what Brian Vickers did to him and he thinks NASCAR should step in.

Lap 212 -- With 100 laps to go, it's Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and A.J. Allmendinger.

Lap 211 -- Jeff Gordon goes two laps down.

Lap 210 -- A.J. Allmendinger's crew chief is just telling him to manage his race and not to worry too much about the two guys in front of him just yet.

Lap 209 -- Denny Hamlin made a big jump on that last pit stop but has held his position. He's running 10th.

Lap 208 -- A.J. Allmendinger gets past Kurt Busch for third place.

Lap 206 -- Kasey Kahne gains another spot, passing Brad Keselowski for a spot in the top five.

Lap 205 -- Here comes Carl Edwards.

Lap 204 -- David Reutimann is holding on to eighth place.

Lap 203 -- Tony Stewart is making the second groove work for him.

Lap 202 -- Kasey Kahne gets past Ryan Newman for sixth place.

Lap 200 -- Kurt Busch is comfortably in third place, but A.J. Allmendinger wants more.

Lap 199 -- Jeff Burton is running 12th with Mark Martin 13th.

Lap 198 -- Tony Stewart's lead is only two-tenths of a second on Carl Edwards.

Lap 193 -- Wow. David Ragan's crew is now pitting A.J. Allmendinger's car after a pit-road error on the last pit stop. Different teams, but still Fords.

Lap 192 -- A.J. Allmendinger gets past Brad Keselowski for fourth.

Lap 190 -- Joey Logano is back up to 11th.

Lap 188 -- Top five are Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and A.J. Allmendinger.

Lap 187 -- Kyle Busch drops low on the track and slows, dropping to ninth. He says he's blowing up.

Lap 186 -- A.J. Allmendinger has been strong all day and is still running seventh, just ahead of David Reutimann and Denny Hamlin.

Lap 185 -- Ryan Newman is up to fifth.

Lap 184 -- Kurt Busch regains third position, but Kyle's not done yet.

Lap 183 -- Tony Stewart to the lead, Kyle Busch to third. Ryan Newman is running sixth behind Brad Keselowski.

Lap 182 -- Kurt Busch is back to third in front of Kyle Busch.

Lap 181 -- GREEN FLAG: Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart lead the field to green one more time.

Lap 180 -- One to go.

Lap 179 -- Oh, I'm sorry. I must have been mistaken. Brian Vickers just claimed over his radio that Matt Kenseth "stopped" on the backstretch. Of course, Vickers made sure Kenseth didn't stop for several hundred more yards.

Lap 178 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 7: Brian Vickers gets his Martinsville payback on Matt Kenseth.

Lap 177 -- Carl Edwards continues to lead.

Lap 176 -- Ryan Newman has climbed to eighth, and Denny Hamlin is up into the top 10.

Lap 175 -- Kasey Kahne is up to fifth. Matt Kenseth has dropped from fifth to 11th.

Lap 174 -- Kyle Busch gets past his older brother to take over third place after starting 42nd.

Lap 173 -- The top four are Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch.

Lap 172 -- GREEN FLAG: Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart lead the field to green with 140 laps to go.

Lap 171 -- Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson both pitted to repair some issues.

Lap 170 -- None of the leaders pitted so soon after the previous caution.

Lap 169 -- Cole Whitt appeared to get a little help from Martin Truex Jr. on that spin.

Lap 168 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 6: Cole Whitt spun out.

Lap 167 -- Carl Edwards is now the race leader, with Tony Stewart running second. Then it's Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth.

Lap 166 -- Matt Kenseth went wide and lost several spots.

Lap 164 -- Brad Keselowski dropped like a stone, down to ninth. Kurt and Kyle Busch are up to fourth and fifth.

Lap 163 -- GREEN FLAG: Matt Kenseth once again leads the field to green in the Kobalt Tools 500.

Lap 161 -- Brad Keselowski was second off pit road and will restart outside of Matt Kenseth. Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart will restart side-by-side.

Lap 160 -- Pit road is open. A.J. Allmendinger takes four tires and an air pressure adjustment. Tony Stewart gets four as well as a track bar and air pressure adjustment. Wedge and air pressure to the front tires plus four new ones for Carl Edwards. Matt Kenseth wins the race off pit road. Again.

Lap 159 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 5: Geoff Bodine brings out another caution.

Lap 158 -- Matt Kenseth takes the lead from Tony Stewart.

Lap 156 -- HALFWAY! Jimmie Johnson takes four tires and an air pressure adjustment. Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets four tires and fuel.

Lap 155 -- Marcos Ambrose pits for four tires and fuel. Jeff Gordon takes four tires and fuel.

Lap 154 -- Five of the top seven cars are Chasers.

Lap 152 -- Kasey Kahne has recovered up to 14th.

Lap 151 -- Kurt Busch is up to seventh as Jeff Burton hits the pits. Busch says he doesn't want to short-pit.

Lap 150 -- Green-flag pit stops are drawing closer, and teams are hashing out their strategy.

Lap 148 -- Brad Keselowski gets past A.J. Allmendinger for fourth place, and Jamie McMurray passes Jeff Burton for sixth.

Lap 147 -- With Kevin Harvick's pit stop, Kyle Busch is now up to 14th.

Lap 146 -- Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth both get past Robby Gordon and Kenseth continues to try to chase the race leader down.

Lap 144 -- Kevin Harvick makes a green-flag stop for a chassis adjustment and four tires as well as fuel.

Lap 143 -- Juan Montoya passes Kevin Harvick to take over 12th.

Lap 142 -- Kurt Busch gets past Marcos Ambrose for eighth.

Lap 140 -- Matt Kenseth is now just about two-tenths of a second behind race leader Tony Stewart.

Lap 139 -- Martin Truex Jr. got around David Reutimann to climb back into the top 10.

Lap 138 -- Eight Chasers now in the top 15, two of them from Stewart-Haas. Denny Hamlin is the last-place Chaser in 26th.

Lap 137 -- Matt Kenseth is slowly closing on Tony Stewart.

Lap 135 -- There are 31 cars on the lead lap, Robby Gordon last among them.

Lap 134 -- Kevin Harvick remains in 12th, one spot behind Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 133 -- Tony Stewart's lead is right around a half-second.

Lap 132 -- Marcos Ambrose is running eighth.

Lap 130 -- Kurt Busch picked up speed by dumping that on his radio. He's up to ninth now.

Lap 129 -- Kurt Busch is being a peach on the radio again. If you're not listening to his in-car audio on PitCommand, you're missing out.

Lap 128 -- Matt Kenseth remains about six-tenths of a second behind race leader Tony Stewart.

Lap 127 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running 26th, the last Chaser in the field.

Lap 126 -- Jeff Burton is slowly closing on Brad Keselowski for fifth, now .4 seconds behind.

Lap 125 -- Regan Smith is returning to the track after his Lap 2 accident.

Lap 124 -- A.J. Allmendinger climbed to fourth and is staying there.

Lap 121 -- Mark Martin started fourth but is running 23rd.

Lap 120 -- Kyle Busch is up to 15th after starting 42nd.

Lap 119 -- Things have spaced out throughout the top 10.

Lap 118 -- Jimmie Johnson is now down to 22nd.

Lap 117 -- Ryan Newman is right behind Juan Montoya for 13th.

Lap 115 -- Kurt Busch gets around Martin Truex Jr. for 10th.

Lap 114 -- Tony Stewart's lead on Matt Kenseth is about eight-tenths of a second.

Lap 112 -- And down goes Jamie McMurray. Jeff Burton is now running sixth and about a second behind fifth-place Brad Keselowski.

Lap 111 -- Jeff Burton continues to climb, now past Marcos Ambrose for seventh. Next up for him is Jamie McMurray.

Lap 110 -- Jimmie Johnson is now saying his car is "scary scary loose."

Lap 109 -- Jeff Burton is now up to eighth. He passed David Reutimann.

Lap 108 -- Ryan Newman has climbed up to 14th.

Lap 107 -- Matt Kenseth is running second, but Tony Stewart's lead over third-place Carl Edwards is 1.2 seconds.

Lap 106 -- Jimmie Johnson is down to 16th. Two tires might not have been the right call there.

Lap 105 -- Juan Montoya has also gotten past Brian Vickers and takes 13th. They're still battling.

Lap 103 -- Jeff Burton is running ninth after passing Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 102 -- Kurt Busch gets around Brian Vickers in a three-wide battle to take 12th.

Lap 101 -- Kevin Harvick is running 11th.

Lap 100 -- Jamie McMurray is now fifth, with Brad Keselowski sixth.

Lap 99 -- Jimmie Johnson backed out of a three-wide battle and finds himself in 11th now.

Lap 98 -- Jimmie Johnson launched himself to eighth place on that pit stop. And Tony Stewart regained the lead again.

Lap 97 -- GREEN FLAG: Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart lead the field to green. Stewart says he's "pretty happy" with his car.

Lap 96 -- One to go at the line.

Lap 95 -- Winning the pole and getting that first pit stall pays off again for Matt Kenseth, who will again lead the field to green. Behind him are Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, A.J. Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski.

Lap 94 -- Replay shows Geoff Bodine spun after contact from Kasey Kahne. Leaders hit pit road. A.J. Allmendinger gets four tires as clouds roll in. Tony Stewart takes four and no adjustment. Carl Edwards is still too tight in the center and takes four tires and air pressure in his front tires. Air pressure, track bar and four tires for Matt Kenseth.

Lap 93 -- Dave Blaney will receive the free pass.

Lap 92 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 4: Geoff Bodine's spun out in a trail of smoke.

Lap 91 -- Jeff Gordon takes 11th place from Kurt Busch.

Lap 90 -- Carl Edwards is running third, but he's 3.4 seconds behind leader Tony Stewart.

Lap 89 -- Jamie McMurray gets around Martin Truex Jr. for sixth place.

Lap 88 -- There are seven Chase drivers in the top 15.

Lap 87 -- Kevin Harvick passes Mark Martin for 14th place.

Lap 86 -- Jeff Burton climbs into the top 10 by passing Kurt Busch.

Lap 85 -- A.J. Allmendinger is just more than a half-second behind Tony Stewart.

Lap 84 -- Brad Keselowski gets past David Reutimann for eighth place. Jamie McMurray is up to seventh.

Lap 82 -- Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon both get past Brian Vickers, putting Burton into 11th.

Lap 81 -- His lead might not be as large as it had been, but Tony Stewart is taking names out there. It's early, but if you'd told me someone would possibly win five races in this Chase, I'd have called you loco.

Lap 79 -- Brian Vickers is still running 11th.

Lap 78 -- Jamie McMurray is up to eighth.

Lap 76 -- Brad Keselowski gets past his teammate Kurt Busch for ninth place.

Lap 75 -- Tony Stewart's lead over A.J. Allmendinger is now .7 seconds.

Lap 73 -- Kasey Kahne and Paul Menard started 10th and 11th. They're currently running 19th and 20th.

Lap 72 -- Marcos Ambrose remains in fifth.

Lap 70 -- It's a two-car race out front as Carl Edwards is nearly a second and a half behind A.J. Allmendinger.

Lap 69 -- A.J. Allmendinger is slowly cutting into Tony Stewart's lead, but he's still nearly a second behind.

Lap 68 -- Both Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon get past Mark Martin.

Lap 67 -- It's a battle of Jeffs as Burton is 13th and Gordon is running 14th.

Lap 66 -- Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin are running 24th through 26th, the last Chase drivers in the field.

Lap 65 -- Mark Martin has dropped to 12th.

Lap 64 -- Brad Keselowski gets around Brian Vickers for that 10th-place spot.

Lap 63 -- A.J. Allmendinger takes over second from Carl Edwards.

Lap 62 -- Tony Stewart leads Carl Edwards by nearly 1.4 seconds, but A.J. Allmendinger is just behind Edwards.

Lap 61 -- After losing a couple spots, Martin Truex Jr. is holding on to sixth.

Lap 60 -- A.J. Allmendinger gets past Matt Kenseth for third place.

Lap 59 -- Brad Keselowski has designs on the top 10 as he runs in 11th.

Lap 58 -- David Reutimann is in seventh.

Lap 56 -- Jeff Gordon gets past Joey Logano for 13th, and Kevin Harvick follows him for 14th.

Lap 55 -- Kyle Busch has picked up 26 spots after starting in the rear of the field for his engine change.

Lap 54 -- Jeff Gordon is running 14th.

Lap 53 -- Jamie McMurray is up to 10th.

Lap 52 -- A.J. Allmendinger gets past Martin Truex Jr. for fourth, and Marcos Ambrose follows him.

Lap 51 -- Carl Edwards is making a move on teammate Matt Kenseth for second place and takes it.

Lap 49 -- Joey Logano has climbed to 13th, up from 25th at the start.

Lap 48 -- Brian Vickers is up to eighth, one spot ahead of Kurt Busch.

Lap 46 -- Tony Stewart is able to get to the inside of Matt Kenseth and regains the lead.

Lap 45 -- GREEN FLAG: With J.J. Yeley hitting the pits, the Chase cars of Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards lead the field back to green.

Lap 44 -- One to go at the line.

Lap 43 -- Michael McDowell gets the free pass. J.J. Yeley is score as the race leader.

Lap 42 -- Two tires only for A.J. Allmendinger and fuel. Martin Truex Jr. says he's loose into Turn 1 and takes two tires. Tony Stewart gets two tires and an adjustment. Carl Edwards takes two tires and a track bar adjustment. Matt Kenseth wins the race off pit road.

Lap 41 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: This is the competition caution.

Lap 39 -- Robby Gordon is the biggest dropper on the lead lap, running in 30th after starting 20th.

Lap 38 -- Paul Menard and Jeff Burton are hovering in the 11th and 12th spots.

Lap 36 -- Tony Stewart takes the lead from Matt Kenseth after splitting the lapped car of Geoff Bodine.

Lap 35 -- Carl Edwards says his car is a little tight in Turns 3 and 4. Bob Osborne says they'll look at the track bar.

Lap 33 -- It's a sea of yellow on the leaderboard just outside the top 10 as Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are running 13-15.

Lap 32 -- Kurt Busch is back up to eighth, a nine-spot improvement from the start of the race.

Lap 30 -- A.J. Allmendinger gets past his teammate, Marcos Ambrose. And now he's passed David Reutimann for fourth.

Lap 28 -- And just like that, my curse continues. I say Matt Kenseth is stretching the lead, and Tony Stewart wakes up and starts slicing into it. At this rate, Tony should be the leader before too long.

Lap 26 -- Jeff Gordon has climbed to 15th after starting 23rd. Another big climber is Clint Bowyer, up 10 spots to 18th.

Lap 25 -- I was getting ready to say Mark Martin was in the top 10, until I realized he started fourth. Oops.

Lap 23 -- Travis Kvapil heads to the garage. With that, Carl Edwards can not clinch the Cup this weekend. Tony Stewart breathes a sigh of relief.

Lap 22 -- Tony Stewart remains in second place, but Matt Kenseth is slowly growing his lead.

Lap 21 -- David Reutimann is hanging tough in fourth place, just ahead of RPM drivers Marcos Ambrose and A.J. Allmendinger.

Lap 19 -- There are four Chasers in the top 10: Matt Kenseth (first), Tony Stewart (second), Carl Edwards (seventh) and Kurt Busch (ninth).

Lap 18 -- Jimmie Johnson has climbed four spots and is up to 12th.

Lap 17 -- Tony Stewart gets past Martin Truex Jr. for the runner-up spot. No laying back for Smoke today.

Lap 15 -- With that wobble, Carl Edwards is back up to seventh. Tony Stewart is cruising along in third behind Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 14 -- Kurt Busch gets a little loose on the outside, but saves it.

Lap 13 -- Kurt Busch now gets past Carl Edwards for seventh place. Matt Kenseth continues to lead.

Lap 12 -- Tony Stewart is up to third while Carl Edwards is back in seventh.

Lap 11 -- Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards are running close together still, climbing through the field.

Lap 10 -- GREEN FLAG: They're back to green at Phoenix with Matt Kenseth out front.

Lap 8 -- David Ragan is back on the lead lap after multiple pit stops for his spin. The free pass puts him back with the leaders.

Lap 7 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: Geoff Bodine has gone around on the frontstretch.

Lap 6 -- The outside line held on a bit better that time through, but they're still a little slow. That allows them to fall into single file line.

Lap 5 -- GREEN FLAG: Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. lead the field back to green. Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart are restarting sixth and seventh.

Lap 4 -- One to go at the line.

Lap 3 -- There's no free pass on the caution since no one had yet to go a lap down.

Lap 2 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: David Ragan and Regan Smith are into the wall.

Lap 1 -- The outside line proved to be problematic as the outside runner dropped back quickly.

3:17 p.m. ET -- GREEN FLAG: Matt Kenseth and A.J. Allmendinger led the field to green in the Kobalt Tools 500 for the first of 312 scheduled laps.

3:13 p.m. ET -- The warm-up laps are under way.

3:11 p.m. ET -- Kyle Busch is the only driver headed to the rear of the field. He drops for the engine change he had to make shortly after the start of the weekend's first practice.

3:10 p.m. ET -- Veteran race car driver Adrian Fernandez delivers the most famous words in motorsports: "Gentlemen, start your engines!"

3:04 p.m. ET -- The fly-by is four F-16s from the 62nd FS from Luke AFB.

3:03 p.m. ET -- The national anthem is performed by Catch Penny.

3:02 p.m. ET -- The colors are presented by Luke Air Force Base, and PIR chaplain Ken Bowers gives the invocation.

2:24 p.m. ET -- There will be a competition caution on or around Lap 40 after the rain erased the rubber from the track.

2 p.m. ET -- The pre-race show on ESPN is under way. The track is dry, the sun is trying to break through the last remaining clouds and we're on schedule for a 3:18 p.m. ET start at Phoenix International Raceway. (And there's perhaps one or two spotty showers to the south that could cause trouble.)

8:44 a.m. ET -- It's an early morning here, but it's looking like it might be a late night. The rain showers that were expected in Arizona have taken hold, and it appears to be at least a 30 percent chance of rain through 8 p.m. ET. There are lights at Phoenix International Raceway, so I'm sure NASCAR will wait it out as long as possible to get the Kobalt Tools 500 in Sunday. Matt Kenseth won his third pole of the season and will lead the field to green next to A.J. Allmendinger. Tony Stewart starts eighth and Carl Edwards ninth in the penultimate Chase race of 2011. The green flag is set for 3:18 p.m. ET.