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Lap-by-Lap: Homestead

November 21, 2011, ,

Lap 267 -- CHECKERED FLAG: After holding off Carl Edwards for the final 40 laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Tony Stewart wins the Ford 400 -- his fifth Chase victory this season -- and becomes the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup champion.

Lap 266 -- WHITE FLAG: Tony Stewart leads Carl Edwards by 1.131 seconds with one final lap to decide the championship.

Lap 264 -- Carl Edwards is doing everything he can to catch Tony Stewart, who now leads by 1.247 seconds.

Lap 263 -- Carl Edwards has to get by Mike Bliss in lapped traffic and still manages to trim Tony Stewart's lead to less than a second.

Lap 260 -- Travis Kvapil forces Tony Stewart to the low side as Carl Edwards follows in lapped traffic.

Lap 259 -- Carl Edwards trims the lead to less than a second. He'll have to catch the No. 14, then find away around Tony Stewart.

Lap 257 -- With 10 laps to go, lapped traffic is approaching. Tony Stewart continues to lead.

Lap 254 -- Tony Stewart's lead: 1.343 seconds in Turns 1 and 2 and 1.251 seconds through Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 252 -- Both Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards hug the wall coming out of Turn 4 and record near identical lap times with 15 laps to go.

Lap 250 -- Kevin Harvick rounds out the top 10; Matt Kenseth is in fifth. Tony Stewart leads Carl Edwards by 1.478 seconds through Turn 3.

Lap 248 -- It is now Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards alone and out front as the rest of the field is more than 4.5 seconds behind.

Lap 248 -- Tony Stewart continues to turn faster lap times, but not by much.

Lap 246 -- For Carl Edwards to win his first title, he must pass Tony Stewart. It's all or nothing with 22 laps to go.

Lap 244 -- To say that's it go-time would be an understatement. Tony Stewart leads Carl Edwards by 1.294 seconds as Brad Keselowski and the Blue Deuce fall of the pace from third.

Lap 242 -- Lapped traffic is still far off as the No. 14 enjoys clean air and a 1.181 second lead.

Lap 241 -- Tony Stewart is taking a much higher path around the track and flirting with the wall as Carl Edwards trails by 1.208 seconds.

Lap 239 -- Tony Stewart's lap time: 32.186. Carl Edwards' lap time: 32.392.

Lap 236 -- Two worthy contenders are now running 1-2 with 31 laps to go. Tony Stewart's lead is 1.029 seconds. Both Stewart and Carl Edwards have enough fuel and aren't holding back.

Lap 235 -- Carl Edwards passes Brad Keselowski on the low side and is told to go get the No. 14, who leads by .965 seconds.

Lap 233 -- Tony Stewart leads with Brad Keselowski in second. Behind the No. 2 is Carl Edwards. Both of those drivers have history.

Lap 232 -- Tony Stewart blows by the Blue Deuce on fresh tires as Carl Edwards motors to third.

Lap 231 -- GREEN FLAG: Kyle Busch leads the field to green with Brad Keselowski on the outside. Tony Stewart restarts third. Tony Stewart drops to the bottom and takes the field three wide into Turn 2. Stewart moves to second.

Lap 230 -- David Reutimann gets the free pass with one to go. Tony Stewart is told his fuel window is good by five laps.

Lap 229 -- NASCAR asks the No. 87 and 24 what they think of the track. Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and now Kurt Busch weigh in and tell NASCAR the track is ready.

Lap 228 -- Officals discuss three laps until green.

Lap 226 -- Spotters in Turns 3 and 4 report the track is dry. Turns 1 and 2 still need work.

Lap 225 -- Jet dryers are staying ahead of the rain, but the track is still not dry.

Lap 223 -- Darian Grubb reports the No. 14 is two laps in the good if the Ford 400 comes down to a G-W-C.

Lap 220 -- Jet dryers are still out with isolated showers in the area.

Lap 219 -- With every lap under caution, the chances of Carl Edwards having to pit for fuel increase. Tony Stewart and team believe their fuel window is good.

Lap 218 -- Jet dryers continue to run around the track as the field passes on the low side.

Lap 217 -- Twenty-seven cars remain on the lead lap.

Lap 216 -- Officials wait to decide whether or not to bring the field down pit road.

Lap 215 -- Kyle Busch is your leader, followed by Brad Keselowski and A.J. Allmendinger.

Lap 214 -- Carl Edwards pits and takes two tires and fuel. Tony Stewart catches a huge break with the caution and should lead again as the three cars in front of him have yet to pit.

Lap 213 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 8: Rain at Homestead. Carl Edwards takes the lead before the yellow drops; Tony Stewart is in 15th.

Lap 212 -- The No. 14 heads down pit road on fumes; Tony Stewart gets four tires, fuel and is off in 14.6 seconds.

Lap 210 -- Tony Stewart is told to pit.

Lap 208 -- Tony Stewart's lap time: 34.244 seconds; Carl Edwards' lap time: 32.940 seconds.

Lap 207 -- Debris reported on the backstretch, no yellow.

Lap 205 -- Carl Edwards, on fresh tires and new fuel, will gain considerable time on the No. 14 if Tony Stewart and team elect to stay out. What a huge gamble.

Lap 203 -- Tony Stewart says he can't maintain the gap and stay out after being told not to pit for another 12-15 more laps.

Lap 202 -- Carl Edwards takes four tires and fuel and is off in 13.5 seconds. Tony Stewart is your leader but will need to pit or risk giving up lap time to Edwards on fresh tires.

Lap 201 -- Kasey Kahne does battle for Matt Kenseth for third. Ryan Newman pits for four tires and fuel. Carl Edwards pits as Tony Stewart stays out.

Lap 200 -- Matt Kenseth trails the top-two contender by more than 4.2 seconds.

Lap 199 -- Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart stay out as several drivers decide to pit.

Lap 198 -- Brad Keselowski pits for four tires and fuel.

Lap 196 -- This is shaping up to be a dandy as Carl Edwards remains the leader and runs an identical lap to Tony Stewart.

Lap 194 -- Carl Edwards leads Tony Stewart by 1.243 seconds. Dale Jr. pits for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.

Lap 193 -- Greg Biffle comes down pit road and may be down a cylinder. Yep, the No. 16 heads to the garage with engine trouble. That's three Roush Yates engines to blow up tonight.

Lap 190 -- Green-flag pit stops begin. Jeff Burton comes in for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.

Lap 189 -- Denny Hamlin rounds out the top 10. Kasey Kahne is in fifth. Thirty cars remain on the lead lap.

Lap 187 -- Carl Edwards turns a fast lap of 33.150 seconds. Tony Stewart's lap is 33.449 seconds.

Lap 186 -- Minus a G-W-C finish, Carl Edwards will have led the most laps at Homestead.

Lap 185 -- Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth separate themselves from the field.

Lap 183 -- Tony Stewart makes up two-tenths of a second on the No. 99, but still has 1.240 seconds to go. Edwards gets loos out of Turn 4 but saves the car.

Lap 182 -- Carl Edwards continues to lead and thanks Bob Osborne for tightening up the No. 99.

Lap 180 -- Tony Stewart passes Matt Kenseth for second; he trials Carl Edwards by 1.449 seconds.

Lap 178 -- Carl Edwards leads Matt Kenseth by .650 seconds. Tony Stewart, in third, is 1.178 seconds off the lead pace.

Lap 177 -- Carl Edwards may soon lock up another bonus point for leading the most laps at Homestead.

Lap 176 -- Carl Edwards is back out front in a fast No. 99 as Tony Stewart moves up to third.

Lap 175 - Matt Kenseth won't fight Carl Edwards long for the lead.

Lap 174 -- Carl Edwards makes the pass on Martin Truex Jr. and takes second.

Lap 172 -- The top five: 17, 56, 99, 14 and the 31.

Lap 171 -- The front four separate themselves from the pack. Matt Kenseth leads, followed by Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart.

Lap 170 -- Matt Kenseth leads another lap with Martin Truex Jr. .656 seconds behind.

Lap 169 -- Carl Edwards passes Martin Truex Jr. for second, but doesn't stay in the throttle long enough to hold the spot.

Lap 167 -- Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart run 3-4 and both close on Martin Truex Jr. in second.

Lap 165 -- Tony Stewart gives the No. 99 a little bump as the No. 14 finds fourth. Officials deliver a message to Stewart and team to knock it off. Man, what a race!

Lap 163 -- Carl Edwards makes a move down low and takes third as Tony Stewart moves up to fifth.

Lap 162 -- Tony Stewart takes the field four wide into Turn 2 and moves up to seventh. Carl Edwards moves to fifth as Matt Kenseth takes the lead.

Lap 161 -- GREEN FLAG: Jeff Burton leads the field back to green with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in second.

Lap 160 -- Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. stayed out and are shown running in 1-2.

Lap 158 -- Pit road is open: Tony Stewart takes two tires and so does Carl Edwards. Stewart loses eight positions after a terribly slow stop. A lug nut got stuck in the socket as the right-rear tire was being taken off the No. 14. Stewart has officially passed 63 cars, so getting back to the front shouldn't be an issue.

Lap 157 -- Cleanup continues as drivers discuss two or four tires with their crew chiefs.

Lap 156 -- Tony Stewart remains the race leader with Martin Turex Jr. in second and Carl Edwards in third.

Lap 154 --YELLOW FLAG NO. 7: Landon Cassill gets loose and trades paint with Cole Whitt -- who had no place to go -- and Trevor Bayne.

Lap 153 -- Tony Stewart takes the lead with a pass of Martin Truex Jr. Carl Edwards settles into third.

Lap 152 -- Tony Stewart moves up to second as Carl Edwards passes Ryan Newman for third.

Lap 151 -- Martin Truex Jr. is your race leader, with Ryan Newman in second. Brad Keselowski rounds out the top 10.

Lap 149 -- Tony Stewart isn't holding back at all, up six spots in two laps and running third. Carl Edwards is in fifth with Matt Kenseth just in front of the No. 99.

Lap 148 -- Carl Edwards drops to seventh and is passed by Tony Stewart for sixth.

Lap 147 -- GREEN FLAG: Kevin Harvick leads the field back to green. Carl Edwards restarts third; Tony Stewart brings the No. 14 back up to speed from ninth.

Lap 143 -- Pit road is open. The leaders stay out. First car to pit comes from 13th.

Lap 142 -- Jimmie Johnson loses a lap but is off pit road with fresh tires. Kevin Harvick continues to lead.

Lap 141 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 6: Jimmie Johnson goes for a spin. No. 36 gets the free pass. Martin Truex Jr. moves to second as Ryan Newman drops to fourth. Tony Stewart is back up to ninth.

Lap 140 -- Carl Edwards moves to the bumper of Ryan Newman and prepares to battle for second. Tony Stewart drops to 11th after dropping out of line on the restart to make something happen.

Lap 139 -- GREEN FLAG: Kevin Harvick leads the field back to green. Tony Stewart restarts ninth.

Lap 137 -- Four cars are wave-around eligible with two to go until green.

Lap 136 -- Carl Edwards lost position as well, but not as much as Tony Stewart. Kevin Harvick elected for two tires and should lead the field back to green.

Lap 135 -- Pit road is open: Jeff Gordon is loose and takes four tires. Tony Stewart takes four tires and Carl Edwards takes four tires. Stewart loses eight spots by taking four tires. The 14 team had trouble getting the lug nuts off.

Lap 133 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 5: At the halfway point, Tony Stewart leads as the field slows for debris on the track.

Lap 132 -- Bob Osborne reminds Carl Edwards not to push the No. 99 at this point. Tony Stewart sets the pace with a lead of 1.259 seconds. Trevor Bayne hits the wall in Turn 4.

Lap 130 -- Carl Edwards drives through to second as the top-two contenders are now racing 1-2.

Lap 128 -- Tony Stewart's lead grows to 1.05 seconds. Carl Edwards is in third with Martin Truex Jr. about 2.2 seconds behind the No. 99.

Lap 126 -- Tony Stewart's lead is now .736 seconds as the No. 24 falls off the pace just a bit. Carl Edwards is in third and trails the No. 14 by 1.175 seconds.

Lap 124 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is racing Kyle Busch for seventh through Turn 4. Busch holds off the No. 88 at the start/finish line.

Lap 123 -- Jeff Gordon loses the lead to Tony Stewart as Carl Edwards remains in third.

Lap 122 -- Carl Edwards joins the party up front as he closes on Tony Stewart and waits for a chance to pass. Jeff Gordon is doing his best to hold off both title contenders.

Lap 121 -- Tony Stewart is on the door of the No. 24 out front, but can't make the pass.

Lap 120 -- Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards run 2-3 behind Jeff Gordon.

Lap 119 -- Carl Edwards is in third with Jeff Gordon out front. Tony Stewart is closing and wants the bonus point for leading a lap.

Lap 117 -- GREEN FLAG: Kevin Harvick leads the field to green on two new tires and is followed by Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, who took four under yellow. Edwards runs close to the bumper of Harvick as Tony Stewart passes for second and Gordon takes the lead.

Lap 114 -- Pit road is open to lead lap cars: Jeff Gordon takes tires and fuel. Kevin Harvick takes two tires. Tony Stewart takes four tires and an air adjustment. Carl Edwards gets some wedge and four tires. Kevin Harvick wins the race off pit road. Carl Edwards drops to third; Tony Stewart will restart fourth.

Lap 112 -- A couple more laps under yellow are planned.

Lap 111 -- Kasey Kahne and Trevor Bayne remain on pit road for repairs. Jimmie Johnson is on pit road as well. Jet dryers make a pass on pit lane to get it dry.

Lap 110 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 4: After a little more than an hour, drivers are back on the track for warm up laps. Look for several to pit once pit road opens.

5:55 p.m. -- Cars are waiting to exit pit road for warm up laps. The track will be slick and much different now that the sun has set and rain has fallen.

5:50 p.m. -- Drivers are back in their cars and will race the second half of the Ford 400 under the lights at Homestead.

5:45 p.m. -- Officials will soon call drivers back to their cars and say the track will be ready in 15 minutes. Crews will be allowed to take covers off their cars and clean the windshields, but no further adjustments are allowed.

5:40 p.m. -- Jet drying continues, but Turns 1 and 2 are looking good.

5:12 p.m. -- Doug Yates, CEO of Roush Yates Engines, reports the engine in the No. 99 isn't the same as the one in the No. 6 (experimental) at Homestead. He went on to say that the engine trouble in the No. 9 came as a surprise.

5:09 p.m. -- The sun is peeking through the clouds as jet dryers remain on the track. Conditions will be much different when the race goes back to green.

4:59 p.m. -- Jeff Gordon will restart second when the Ford 400 goes green. Hendrick Motorsports has yet to visit Victory Lane in the Cup Series at Homestead, the only track (besides first-year Kentucky) at which the organization has failed to win. Hendrick (which has 199 Cup wins) has three runner-up finishes among 10 top-fives: Joe Nemechek (2002) and Jimmie Johnson (2004 and 2010).

4:55 p.m. -- The past four races at Homestead were won by the driver who led the most laps. That happened just twice in the first eight Cup races at the track. Today, no one has led more than Carl Edwards (87) and if he continues to run the way he has in the first half of the Ford 400, he'll be hoisting the Sprint Cup trophy in just a few hours.

4:51 p.m. -- With two RFR cars out for engine failure, Carl Edwards is on his pit box, no doubt discussing what to watch for on the No. 99. Jimmie Johnson reports engine trouble on the No. 48 and will remain on pit road to see if the team can make repairs. He calls the incident a disappointing way to end the season.

4:49 p.m. -- Tony Stewart exits from his car and says when the race goes green, he's ready to wear out Carl Edwards. He reports the punctured grille isn't a problem and that he plans on delivering a whoopin' soon.

Lap 110 -- RED FLAG: Officials call for red to be displayed as the Ford 400 comes to a complete stop for rain. Drivers are told to exit but not to go far. "This won't take long," officials say. Jimmie Johnson has the ignition boxes replaced on the No. 48 with no results. Chad Knaus asks his team to look at spark plugs and the carburetor.

Lap 109 -- Officals bring the field down pit road as jet dryers enter the track. Jack Roush is in the garage looking at David Ragan's engine.

Lap 108 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 4: Rain and a rainbow at Homestead.

Lap 107 -- Officials are keeping an eye on a rain shower closing in on the track.

Lap 105 -- Jimmie Johnson is on pit road with the hood up on the No. 48.

Lap 104 -- The No. 6 and the No. 9 have already had engine problems today. Bad news for Carl Edwards, who is told to baby the No. 99 as best as possible.

Lap 102 -- Carl Edwards' lead: .966 seconds.

Lap 101 -- Jimmie Johnson moves to fifth, followed by Tony Stewart in sixth.

Lap 100 -- Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver not in the Chase to be running in the top 12.

Lap 98 -- Brad Keselowski rounds out the top 10 with Kyle Busch on his bumper.

Lap 95 -- Carl Edwards continues to lead as Jeff Gordon trails by .888 seconds. Kevin Harvick moves to third.

Lap 94 -- Tony Stewart is now in seventh and closing on Jimmie Johnson. From his car, Stewart's confidence is apparent over the radio.

Lap 93 -- The sun will set in one hour as the track begins to change under overcast skies.

Lap 92 -- Jimmie Johnson moves up to seventh with what appears to be a faster No. 48. Dale Jr. falls out of line and back to eighth.

Lap 91 -- Dale Jr. reports a vibration but will roll the dice and elects not to pit.

Lap 90 -- Officials allow for an extra man on pit road (windshield).

Lap 88 -- Carl Edwards leads the lap as Tony Stewart moves up to ninth.

Lap 87 -- GREEN FLAG: Carl Edwards brings the field back to green, followed by Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Tony Stewart restarts from 10th.

Lap 86 -- Two to go until green. No. 71 will restart last for too fast on exit.

Lap 84 -- Clint Bowyer brings a handful of cars down pit road under yellow. Bowyer takes two tires as Kasey Kahne takes four and a big swing at the chassis.

Lap 83 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: David Ragan blows an engine. Jimmie Johnson pits and takes four tires and fuel. He's off in 16 seconds flat as Carl Edwards leads. Casey Mears gets the free pass

Lap 82 -- Matt Kenseth pits for tires and fuel in 13.4 seconds. Jimmie Johnson stays out to lead another lap.

Lap 81 -- Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson have not pitted. Johnson takes the lead.

Lap 80 -- Carl Edwards heads to his pit box. He takes four tires and fuel on a free No. 99. He gets an air adjustment and is off in 13.1 seconds. Matt Kenseth leads as Jeff Gordon pits.

Lap 79 -- Tony Stewart is in for an air adjustment and to have tape removed from the front. Dale Jr. gets a chassis adjustment as Jeff Gordon takes the lead.

Lap 78 -- Greg Biffle is in with a loose car. He takes four tires and fuel. Brad Keselowski pits for four tires and fuel.

Lap 77 -- Kevin Harvick wants the car tightened up.

Lap 76 -- Matt Kenseth won here in 2007 and is running in fifth as some drivers begin to pit under green.

Lap 75 -- Martin Truex Jr. is in third and will take four tires on his next pit stop. Dale Jr. loves the No. 88 right now and is chasing Truex from fourth.

Lap 74 -- Marcos Ambrose is down a cylinder. Carl Edwards wants more wedge on the next pit stop.

Lap 71 -- Under a long green-flag run, the No. 99 now has a lead of 2.04 seconds.

Lap 70 -- Carl Edwards leads his 52nd lap at Homestead as Jeff Gordon remains in second, 1.848 seconds behind Edwards.

Lap 68 -- Tony Stewart is now two spots away from the top 10. Next up to knock down? Kasey Kahne, in 11th.

Lap 66 -- Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick battle for eighth as Matt Kenseth rounds out the top five.

Lap 65 -- Tower confirms the track is clear as Carl Edwards grows his lead to 1.2 seconds.

Lap 64 -- The No. 42 team is reporting debris on the back straightaway.

Lap 62 -- Marcos Ambrose says the motor is laying down after falling to 29th.

Lap 61 -- Carl Edwards increases his lead ahead of Jeff Gordon to 1.096 seconds.

Lap 60 -- Drivers are showing Tony Stewart respect and giving way to a faster No. 14.

Lap 59 -- Jeff Gordon can't close on Carl Edwards out front. Dale Jr. remains in third as Tony Stewart moves to 13th as a man on a mission.

Lap 58 -- Kevin Harvick is your biggest mover, up 14 spots to seventh. Tony Stewart moves to 14th, passing Kyle Busch.

Lap 57 -- Jeff Gordon moves up to second and is .879 seconds behind Carl Edwards.

Lap 56 -- The top 5: 99,24,88,56 and the 17.

Lap 54 -- Jimmie Johnson takes back 10th from Denny Hamlin as Tony Stewart cuts his way to 16th.

Lap 53 -- Carl Edwards' lead: 0.676 seconds through Turn 4.

Lap 51 -- Kurt Busch brings the No. 22 back into the race.

Lap 50 -- Denny Hamlin moves to 10th as Jimmie Johnson gives up the spot.

Lap 48 -- Jeff Gordon moves up to third as Carl Edwards takes back the lead from Brad Keselowski.

Lap 47 -- Tony Stewart is using every ounce of the track to pass four cars on a single lap. He's charging from 19th.

Lap 46 -- Carl Edwards passes Kevin Harvick in Turn 3 and takes second.

Lap 44 -- Tony Stewart is up to 25th; Carl Edwards continues to run in third. Dale Jr. rounds out the top five.

Lap 42 -- Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick battle for second as Brad Keselowski continues to lead. The No. 2 took right-side tires only on the last pit stop.

Lap 40 -- Tony Stewart will mount another charge to the front. This time, from 27th.

Lap 39 -- Kevin Harvick slides into second as Brad Keselowski leads another lap.

Lap 37 -- GREEN FLAG: Brad Keselowski brings the field to green. Carl Edwards' tire changer slipped on some fuel and delayed the No. 99 in getting back on track; he restarts in third.

Lap 36 -- Carl Edwards leads the field down pit road. Dale Jr. takes four tires and fuel. Jimmie Johnson takes four tires. Kasey Kahne is loose and takes four tires. Carl Edwards is tight, takes four tires and a track bar adjustment. Tony Stewart takes four tires and a little extra time to add some tape to the front of the No. 14. Most of the ground he made up on the restart has been given right back. As the field crawls through Turn 4, Stewart and the 14 team continue to work on the car.

Lap 35 -- Tony Stewart reports all is well with the No.14 and says the car is as fast as ever. Using a few choice words over the radio, he informs his team that the field is going to feel "bad" when he comes back and takes the checkers.

Lap 34 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: Debris in Turn 4. No free pass.

Lap 32 -- Dale Jr. continues to challenge Martin Truex Jr. for second as Carl Edwards enjoys clean air.

Lap 31 -- Clint Bowyer joins the top 10 as Jeff Gordon remain in fifth. Carl Edwards leads the field by 1.377 seconds through Turn 4.

Lap 29 -- Tony Stewart is back up to 27th and continues to charge. Jeff Gordon passes Jimmie Johnson for fifth.

Lap 27 -- No. 55 heads to the garage as Jimmie Johnson moves to fourth with teammate Jeff Gordon in sixth.

Lap 26 -- Carl Edwards' lead: 1.201 seconds through Turn 3.

Lap 25 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. moves up to second, then gives the spot back to the No. 56.

Lap 24 -- No. 66 and No. 30 head to the garage. Tony Stewart moves up to 31st as the bumper and the No. 55 is spotted as coming loose.

Lap 23 -- Carl Edwards leads the field with Martin Truex Jr. knocking on the door. Jimmie Johnson is up to sixth as Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounds out the top three.

Lap 22 -- GREEN FLAG: Carl Edwards brings the field back to green and is followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr.. Tony Stewart restarts 40th; he would have restarted eighth.

Lap 21 -- One to go until green. Stewart returns to pit road, but should make it off in time to be the last car on the lead lap.

Lap 20 -- Drivers are shown two to go. Asked who they are rooting for today, both Michelle Obama and Jill Biden say they're staying neutral. Turn 2 reports a clear track.

Lap 19 -- The 14 team speculates the damage to the car came from the No. 22 earlier in the race.

Lap 18 -- Tony Stewart is back on pit road to have the fencing replaced on the front grille of the No. 14; Stewart says he hit something and a hole the size of a fist is being repaired.

Lap 17 -- Tower reports that the track is coming back; officials are determining when to take the race back to green as jet dryers enter the track.

Lap 16 -- Rain has lifted in Turns 3 and 4 but is still falling in Turn 1 as the field crawls through that portion of the track.

Lap 15 -- The field heads down pit road. Tony Stewart is tight in the center and free on exit; he takes two tires. Carl Edwards takes two tires as well and wins the race off pit road. No. 42 will serve a speeding penalty for too fast on exit.

Lap 14 -- Spotters confirm a light rain over the track. Pit road will be open to the caution car.

Lap 13 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: Light rain in Turn 2. No free pass.

Lap 11 -- Tony Stewart joins the top 10, up five spots since the start of the race.

Lap 10 -- Spotters confirm rain has stopped as Carl Edwards' lead grows to .791 seconds.

Lap 9 -- Spotters confirm light rain, but the track is still good.

Lap 7 -- Carl Edwards continues to lead by Martin Truex Jr. by .435 seconds.

Lap 5 -- Tony Stewart is up to 11th as Dale Earnhardt Jr. moves to seventh.

Lap 4 -- Kurt Busch heads to the garage with what may be a broken drive shaft.

Lap 3 -- Carl Edwards remains out front as Matt Kenseth moves up to third.

Lap 1 -- Carl Edwards starts from the outside as Tony Stewart takes the field three-wide through Turn 2. Edwards leads the first lap and gets the bonus point.

3:20 p.m. -- GREEN FLAG: Carl Edwards brings the field to the green as the final race of the season, the Ford 400, is under way at Homestead-Miami. Tony Stewart is starting 15th.

3:17 p.m. -- The cars are rolling off pit road for warm-up laps.

3:08 p.m. -- First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, along with Andrew Barry and his family, give the command: "Gentlemen, start your engines!"

3:03 p.m. -- American Idol finalist and recording artist Pia Toscano sings the national anthem.

3:02 p.m. -- Pastor Scott Claunch gives the Invocation.

2:15 p.m. -- It all began 10 months ago under the Florida sun. Today, the Cup Series returns to the Sunshine State for its season finale. The stakes are high and the chance for rain is less than 30 percent. It will be windy at race time, with temperatures in the mid-70s.

2 p.m. -- Pre-race coverage of the Ford 400 is now live on ESPN.

11 a.m. ET -- Three points. Two drivers. One race! This year's Chase for the Sprint Cup will soon be decided and a new champion will be crowned. Can Tony Stewart bring the heat to Miami? Or will Carl Edwards deliver the final blow to claim his first Cup Series title? Green flag is set for 3:20 p.m. ET.