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Lap-by-Lap: Texas

April 14, 2012, ,

Lap 334 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Greg Biffle is the winner. It's his first victory since October 2010 at Kansas, a span of 49 races.

Lap 331 -- Greg Biffle is just behind a big pack of lapped traffic.

Lap 329 -- Five laps to go. Greg Biffle is sailing.

Lap 326 -- Although his crew says that he's a lap to the good, Greg Biffle is still being asked to save fuel.

Lap 324 -- Ten laps to go. Greg Biffle leads Jimmie Johnson by 3.3 seconds.

Lap 321 -- Despite his problem, second-place Jimmie Johnson is still five seconds ahead of third-place Mark Martin.

Lap 318 -- Jimmie Johnson has brushed the wall between Turns 3 and 4. There's light damage on the right side of his car, but he's still going.

Lap 314 -- Twenty laps to go. The space between first and second remains steady at about a second.

Lap 311 -- As Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson flash under the flagstand, their closest competition -- third-place Mark Martin -- is in the middle of Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 308 -- Jimmie Johnson is about a half second behind Greg Biffle. Is he saving his stuff for later, or is he hanging on for dear life?

Lap 303 -- Greg Biffle dives under Jimmie Johnson for the lead going into Turn 3, and then slides up in front of him coming off the next corner.

Lap 302 -- Greg Biffle has caught Jimmie Johnson. Here we go!

Lap 297 -- Jeff Gordon plows his way past Matt Kenseth for fourth place.

Lap 296 -- Greg Biffle says that he's saving his equipment for a late-race run on leader Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 294 -- Forty laps to go.

Lap 290 -- Greg Biffle trails Jimmie Johnson by about 9/10ths of a second.

Lap 286 -- What could be the last cycle of pit stops is over. The top five are Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon.

Lap 284 -- Jeff Gordon is getting his car serviced.

Lap 283 -- Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle are on pit road.

Lap 282 -- Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., Marcos Ambrose Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and others are stopping.

Lap 281 -- Denny Hamlin makes his stop. Carl Edwards is also in.

Lap 279 -- Kevin Harvick is pitting.

Lap 276 -- Geoffrey Bodine captured team owner Rick Hendrick's first Cup victory at Martinsville in 1984, and we raced there the last time out of the chute.

Lap 271 -- When was the last time a race had this few cautions? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

Lap 267 -- Greg Biffle has erased quite a bit of Jimmie Johhnson's lead. It's now down to about 7/10ths of a seceond.

Lap 265 -- Jeff Gordon scoots past Matt Kenseth for fourth place between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 260 -- There's a one-second gap between leader Jimmie Johnson and second-place Greg Biffle, and it's 5.3 seconds back to third-place Mark Martin.

Lap 257 -- After Jimmie Johnson sorts his way through lapped traffic, he opens his margin over Greg Biffle back up to 1.4 seconds.

Lap 253 -- Greg Biffle is now just one second behind race leader Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 248 -- Just two cautions have slowed the pace of the race. The last one came out on lap 93.

Lap 245 -- Rick Hendrick's 200th victory is looking pretty good right about now. It's not a sure thing, but ...

Lap 240 -- Jimmie Johnson's lead over Greg Biffle is now about 2.2 seconds.

Lap 235 -- Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. are the top five after the series of stops.

Lap 234 -- Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and others make their stops. There are 100 laps remaining.

Lap 233 -- Martin Truex Jr. pits.

Lap 232 -- Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards are pitting.

Lap 231 -- Denny Hamlin, Marcos Ambrose and A.J. Allmendinger are on pit road.

Lap 230 -- Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin kick off another round of green-flag pit stops.

Lap 227 -- Hendrick Motorsports has three cars in the top seven. Jimmie Johnson is first, Jeff Gordon sixth and Dale Earnahrdt Jr. in seventh.

Lap 224 -- Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle and Mark Martin are separated by about 1.5 seconds each.

Lap 221 -- As Jimmie Johnson tries to figure out a way to put a lap on Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle has closed to within 1.2 seconds of the lead.

Lap 217 -- Brad Keselowski is back in the garage.

Lap 214 -- NASCAR has given teams an extra person to go over the wall to clean the windshield and assist the driver.

Lap 212 -- Greg Biffle has taken over second place from Mark Martin.

Lap 206 -- Second-place Mark Martin has one victory at Texas. The win came in March 1999.

Lap 202 -- Jimmie Johnson has not had a top-five finish here at Texas since April 2010, when he wound up second.

Lap 200 -- Two hundred laps down, 134 to go.

Lap 194 -- Greg Biffle is right on Mark Marton's bumper for second place.

Lap 192 -- Jimmie Johnson holds a lead of about 3.3 seconds over Mark Martin.

Lap 190 -- The round of green-flag pit stops is over. Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. are the top five.

Lap 189 -- Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin pit.

Lap 188 -- Martin Truex Jr. and Greg Biffle get fresh tires and fuel.

Lap 187 -- Mark and Dale Earnhardt Jr. make their stops.

Lap 186 -- Juan Montoya, Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick are pitting.

Lap 183 -- Tony Stewart is having a rough weekend. He qualified 29th in a backup, and isn't faring much better in the race itself. He's in 21st place,

Lap 180 -- Jimmie Johnson goes to the high side off Turn 2 to briefly take the lead from Martin Truex Jr., but Truex then tries a crossover move between Turns 3 and 4. It almost works.

Lap 177 -- Jimmie Johnson has caught Martin Truex Jr. When and where will his move come?

Lap 175 -- Jimmie Johnson is closing on Martin Truex Jr., trailing now by about 6/10ths of a second.

Lap 172 -- Martin Truex Jr. is setting a torrid pace up front. He's 1.4 seceonds ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 169 -- Marcos Ambrose is now back in the top ... never mind. Go get 'em, MA.

Lap 167 -- Crossed flags -- the race has reached the halfway point. Brad Keselowski is about to come back out of the garage.

Lap 163 -- No more Marcos Ambrose updates ... they must be a jinx. Right after the last one, he dropped out of the top 10. He's worked his back back up to 11th place.

Lap 160 -- Brad Keselowski heads to the garage.

Lap 158 -- Not so fast there, Matt Kenseth. Martin Truex Jr. is now about 1.1 seconds ahead of second place.

Lap 152 -- Matt Kenseth is eating into Martin Truex Jr.'s lead. It's now down to about 7/10ths of a second.

Lap 151 -- Move Dale Earnhardt Jr. to fifth place.

Lap 149 -- After the stops, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth are the top two.

Lap 148 -- Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson and Trevor Bayne drop onto pit road to get their cars serviced.

Lap 147 -- Marcos Ambrose and Matt Kenseth pit. Ambrose's car has to be pushed out of its stall.

Lap 146 -- Kyle Busch's crew goes to work, and it's a slow stop. Jeff Gordon is also pitting.

Lap 144 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin pit.

Lap 143 -- Martin Truex Jr., Mark Martin, A.J. Allmendinger and others are on pit road.

Lap 142 -- Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard are making their stops.

Lap 141 -- Juan Montoya is pitting.

Lap 139 -- Expect green-flag pit stops in the next few laps. Jimmie Johnson leads Greg Biffle by about 2.2 seconds.

Lap 136 -- A NASCAR official reports that Trevor Bayne's car appears to be leaking oil.

Lap 133 -- Marcos Ambrose is having one of the his better runs tonight. He's been consistently amongst the top five tonight, and is now in fifth place.

Lap 127 -- Jimmie Johnson's cushion has grown to about a second over Greg Biffle.

Lap 123 -- Jimmie Johnson has one previous Sprint Cup victory at Texas -- in November 2007.

Lap 121 -- Greg Biffle is trailing race leader Jimmie Johnson by about 6/10ths of a second.

Lap 118 -- Don't forget. Jimmie Johnson is shooting to give team owner Rick Hendrick his 200th victory in Cup competition.

Lap 117 -- The top five are currently Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr. and Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 115 -- If Greg Biffle said, "Good night," after the restart, what's Jimmie Johnson thinking now? See ya later?

Lap 113 -- Jimmie Johnson is there. He gets a run on Greg Biffle off Turn 4 to go to the top of the leaderboard.

Lap 111 -- Jimmie Johnson is just a few car lengths behind Greg Biffle in their battle for the lead.

Lap 109 -- Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and A.J. Allmendinger are in sixth and seventh, respectively.

Lap 107 -- The wind is now said to be gusting up to 40 mph.

Lap 105 -- Greg Biffle leads Jimmie Johnson by nearly 6/10ths of a second. When he took the lead on the restart, he radioed his crew, "Good-night!"

Lap 103 -- Jimmie Johnson is now running in second place.

Lap 101 -- GREEN FLAG: Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Marcos Ambrose are the top five on the restart. Biffle wins the scramble into Turn 1.

Lap 100 -- Carl Edwards comes back onto pit road.

Lap 97 -- The leaders roll onto pit lane for another round of stops under caution.

Lap 93 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: Trevor Bayne has slapped the wall.

Lap 91 -- After a poor pit stop, the grille on Kevin Harvick's car is now partially covered with paper. His water temperature is now more than 260 degrees.

Lap 85 -- Mark Martin grabs third place from Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 83 -- Third-place Jimmie Johnson is about 1.7 behind second-place Greg Biffle.

Lap 82 -- Matt Kenseth roars past Greg Biffle for lead between Turns 1 and 2.

Lap 80 -- Jimmie Johnson goes past Martin Truex Jr. for third place.

Lap 78 -- Matt Kenseth puts his Ford into second place, past Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 76 -- Martin Truex Jr. trails leader Greg Biffle by about 6/10ths of a second.

Lap 73 -- Greg Biffle clears Martin Truex Jr. for the lead coming off Turn 2.

Lap 72 -- GREEN FLAG: Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson are the top five on the restart. Truex and Biffle stay side by side the entire lap.

Lap 69 -- Here come the leaders onto pit road.

Lap 67 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: There's debris in Turn 4.

Lap 63 -- The wind is picking up. Coming off Turn 2, Bobby Labonte slides up in front of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Labonte scrapes the wall after contact from Earnhardt.

Lap 62 -- That's Kevin Harvick's line -- very high in the turns, with Greg Biffle going low.

Lap 60 -- Kevin Harvick goes very high between Turns 3 and 4, and Martin Truex Jr. gets a huge run for second place. He can't quite the move off just yet.

Lap 56 -- In 18 Cup starts here at Texas, second-place Kevin Harvick's best finish is a third. In those races, he's led a total of just five laps.

Lap 54 -- Kevin Harvick trails leader Greg Biffle by about 8/10ths of a second.

Lap 50 -- After the cycle of green-flag stops, the top five are Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin.

Lap 48 -- Jimmie Johnson, Marcos Ambrose and Tony Stewart are in their pit stalls.

Lap 47 -- Greg Biffle gives up the lead to stop. Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth are also in.

Lap 46 -- Kyle Busch hits the pits.

Lap 44 -- Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton and Jamie McMurray are making their stops. Kahne gets blocked in his stall by Bobby Labonte, who is pitting just in front of him.

Lap 43 -- Jeff Gordon is on pit road.

Lap 41 -- Rain is being reported in Turn 3. A NASCAR official in the area said that it had sprinkled a little bit, but then stopped.

Lap 40 -- Roush Fenway Racing drivers Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth are now running first and second.

Lap 36 -- Race leader Greg Biffle has won Sprint Cup victory here at Texas. It came back in April of 2005. He's also riding a streak of seven straight top-10 finishes here.

Lap 33 -- Greg Biffle has already opened up a cushion of about half a second over former leader Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 31 -- Greg Biffle gets a run on Martin Truex Jr. for the top spot coming off Turn 2. The lead is his!

Lap 30 -- As Matt Kenseth closes on Greg Biffle for second, Biffle is gaining ground on Martin Truex Jr. for the lead. This is getting good!

Lap 28 -- We're going to have us a race here! The top-three cars -- Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth -- are now very close on the track.

Lap 27 -- Matt Kenseth's car may have issues, but he's closing fast on Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle for second place.

Lap 25 -- Third-place Matt Kenseth's water temperature is peaking at more than 250 degrees. Also, he's reporting a burning smell in his car.

Lap 23 -- It's very overcast at the track, but weather isn't expected to develop until after midnight.

Lap 22 -- Matt Kenseth has dropped Marcos Ambrose back to fourth place.

Lap 19 -- Martin Truex Jr.'s best Sprint Cup finish here at Texas is a third, and it came back in November of 2007. He also started from the pole in that event.

Lap 15 -- Greg Biffle is now nearly 8/10ths of a seecond behind leader Martin Truex Jr. Thrid-place Marcos Ambrose is 2.3 seconds back of Biffle.

Lap 14 -- Landon Cassill is on pit road, steam billowing from underneath the hood of his car.

Lap 12 -- G'day, mate ... Marcos Ambrose has picked his way up to third place.

Lap 10 -- Leader Martin Truex Jr. is already beginning to lap the tail-end of the field.

Lap 8 -- Jamie McMurray goes way high between Turns 1 and 2 to move past Mark Martin for sixth place, but Martin takes the spot right back in the next corner.

Lap 7 -- Martin Truex Jr. has a lead of about half a second over second-place Greg Biffle.

Lap 5 -- The field is single file all the way back to about 17th place.

Lap 4 -- You know you've got it bad when you try to figure out just how many of your Best Buy purchases it took to pay for Matt Kenseth's sponsorship!

Lap 2 -- Matt Kenseth did not get a good start. He's dropped from second at the green flag to fifth place.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The green drops at 7:48 p.m. ET. Pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. is well clear of the pack before it gets to Turn 1.

7:42 p.m. ET -- Pace-car driver Brett Bodine begins to pull off pit road for the start of what should be three pace laps.

7:41 p.m. ET -- Race director David Hoots asks pit road officials to check with drivers to see if they're ready to participate. Let's hope so!

7:38 p.m. ET -- Travis Pastrana gives the command to fire engines.

7:33 p.m. ET -- Four F-15s from the 122nd Figher Squadron at Joint Reserve Base New Orleans do the traditional pre-race flyover. Sign me up! Bucket list!

7:31 p.m. ET -- Urgent! Kelly Hansen from Foreigner is singing the national anthem. He's a jukebox hero, you know! OK ... just one more. Break it up!

7:30 p.m. ET -- The invocation is being given by Dr. Roger Marsh from TXARM-Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries.

7:26 p.m. ET -- It's just four minutes until the presentation of colors by the 75th Division Color Guard from Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

7:12 p.m. ET -- NASCAR officials and inspectors on pit road are going through their weekly radio check. Loud and clear, tower!

7:04 p.m. ET -- It's very windy at the track, with gusts up to 30-35 mph. That's going to make things very interesting getting into the turns at speeds of about 200 mph.

6:57 p.m. ET -- Do you want to know what love is? Kelly Hansen from the legendary rock band Foreigner is slated to sing the national anthem tonight!

6:30 p.m. ET -- Thirty minutes to the start of driver introductions.

1:11 p.m. ET -- Martin Truex Jr. is on the pole for Saturday's race after turning in a lap of 190.369 mph during qualifying. Matt Kenseth will start second, Greg Biffle third, Mark Martin fourth and Kasey Kahne fifth.

Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose, Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray and Jimmie Johnson are sixth through 10th.

David Stremme, Joe Nemechek and Stacy Compton failed to qualify for the race.