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Lap-by-Lap: Gatorade Duel 1

February 23, 2012, ,

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Lap 60 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Danica Patrick crashes very hard on the backstretch after contact with Aric Almirola. The race ends under caution. Tony Stewart is the winner, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. second. Luckily, Patrick is able to walk to the ambulance under her own power.

Lap 59 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards go to the front for a moment, but Tony Stewart grabs the lead right back.

Lap 58 -- Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Jeff Burton are three wide for second place going into Turn 1.

Lap 57 -- GREEN FLAG: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. lead the field to the restart. Aric Almirola, Jamie McMurray, A.J. Allmendinger, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski round out the top 10. There are four laps remaining.

Stewart clears easily.

Lap 55 -- Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards stay on the track, but everybody else pits for a splash of gas.

Lap 52 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: Michael Waltrip crashes on the backstretch. He lost control making the transition from the apron onto the race track.

Lap 51 -- Michael Waltrip hits pit road for a couple seconds' worth of fuel. Marcos Ambrose and Denny Hamlin are lapped.

Lap 50 -- Two laps to go. Marcos Ambrose and Denny Hamlin are a lap or two from being lapped by leader Tony Stewart.

Lap 48 -- For the moment, Michael Waltrip and Michael McDowell are in the two transfer spots for the Daytona 500.

Lap 47 -- It's going to be very tight on fuel for the front few cars. All are reportedly short on making it the rest of the way without stopping.

Lap 46 -- Denny Hamlin and Marcos Ambrose are about a third of a straightaway from going a lap down.

Lap 45 -- The front five are now Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Aric Almirola and Jeff Burton.

Lap 44 -- Denny Hamlin and Marcos Ambrose drop onto pit road for tires and fuel. The lead goes to Tony Stewart.

Lap 43 -- Danica Patrick -- remember her?!? -- is running 10th.

Lap 42 -- Sixth-place Michael McDowell is being told to save fuel.

Lap 41 -- Carl Edwards is still poking along out of the lead pack, eight seconds or so back.

Lap 39 -- The lead cars remain unchanged. They appear content to set up for a sprint to the finish.

Lap 36 -- The first cars side by side are A.J. Allmendinger and Michael McDowell in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

Lap 33 -- Carl Edwards has dropped well out of the lead pack. He's shown in 15th place.

Lap 32 -- The top five are currently Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 31 -- Now, the first nine cars -- from leader Denny Hamlin to ninth-place Jamie McMurray -- are single file.

Lap 30 -- Jamie McMurray's move for the lead didn't work. He's now dropped back to eighth place.

Lap 28 -- Jamie McMurray has hopped to the outside line, with Aric Almirola in tow. He draws even with leader Denny Hamlin in Turn 3, but fades back.

Lap 26 -- Mike Wallace is back on the track, but NASCAR is still not satisfied. He's being black flagged again, and will be sent to the garage.

Lap 25 -- The first five cars are single file for the time being. Denny Hamlin is first, followed by Tony Stewart.

Lap 22 -- NASCAR has been trying to get Mike Wallace on pit road, and he finally complies.

Lap 21 -- Michael McDowell is hanging in there in eighth place.

Lap 20 -- Denny Hamlin is still the leader, with Tony Stewart trying to hold off Jamie McMurray for second place.

Lap 17 -- Nope. Denny Hamlin isn't finished just yet. He's now the leader, with Michael McDowell running second.

Lap 16 -- With help from Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart moves to the outside of Denny Hamlin for the race advantage.

Lap 15 -- Denny Hamlin goes to the front of the field.

Lap 14 -- GREEN FLAG: Marcos Ambrose, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray bring the field to the restart. The front two cars did not stop. Almirola is shoving teammate Ambrose clear.

Lap 11 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have to come back in for a crew member going over the wall too soon. He had been shown in fourth place.

Lap 10 -- Several cars are making their stops.

Lap 9 -- Brad Keselowski, who also got a piece of the action, is on pit road.

Lap 8 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: Juan Montoya, Paul Menard and David Gilliand are involved in an accident between Turns 1 and 2.

Lap 7 -- A lap ago, Trevor Bayne was fighting for the lead. He's now well back in the pack.

Lap 6 -- Carl Edwards isn't saving his pole-sitting car. He's moving all over the place, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes back to the front.

Lap 5 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. grabs the point from Carl Edwards, and has Marcos Ambrose on his bumper.

Lap 4 -- Trevor Bayne gives Carl Edwards a big boost to the outside of Tony Stewart going into Turn 3.

Lap 3 -- Behind leader Tony Stewart, cars are three wide ... at least -- from about fourth place back.

Lap 2 -- Tony Stewart jumps to the outside line, and moves around Carl Edwards for the lead.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. bring the field to the start. The race gets under way at 2:19 p.m. ET. Edwards gets a good start and clears Dale Earnhardt JR.. There's smoke trailing from the right front of Robby Gordon's car.

2:17 p.m. ET -- The race will go green the next time by the starter's stand. Today's races are 60 laps each. The pit window is 44-48 laps.

2:11 p.m. ET -- The cars are beginning to make their way off pit road. The green flag will come out the third time by the starter's stand.

2:10 p.m. ET -- The tower has asked inspectors on pit road if "competitors are ready to participate. Let's rock and roll these cars off pit road!

2:07 p.m. ET -- Ryan Lochte, a three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer, gives the command to fire engines.

2:01 p.m. ET -- Catina Mack is singing the national anthem.

2 p.m. ET -- Dr. L. Ronald Durham of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church is giving the invocation.

1:55 p.m. ET -- There are still clouds over the track, but they appear to be breaking up quite a bit. It's 82 degrees, with 17 mph winds out of the southwest. There's just a 10-percent chance of rain.

1:38 p.m. ET -- To some, it may seem that it takes a theoretical physicist to determine the starting grid for the Daytona 500. It's really not that complicated. The grid set through time trials, today's races and the top 35 in last year's point standings.

1:31 p.m. ET -- Strange ... nobody else this week seems to have mentioned it ... but Danica Patrick will be starting 17th in the first duel. Although she's locked in to the Daytona 500 through a points deal with another team, this will be her first taste of actual Sprint Cup competition.

Pre-Race: Lineups for the 150-mile qualifying races were set via time trials for the Daytona 500, which was held February 19. Carl Edwards, the pole sitter for the 500, will start first in Duel 1. Dale Earhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne are second through fifth. Tony Stewart, Aric Almirola, Paul Menard, David Ragan and A.J. Allmendinger round out the top 10.