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Lap-by-Lap: Talladega

May 05, 2012, ,

Lap 122 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Cole Whitt has help from Ricky Stenhouse Jr., but they don't have enough steam. Joey Logano jukes out from behind Kyle Busch in the trioval and scores the win by 34/1,000ths of a second. Danica Patrick slaps the wall coming to the checkered flag after contact with Sam Hornish Jr. After the finish, she puts him in the wall.

This is the 200th win for Toyota in NASCAR's three national touring divisions.

Lap 121 -- GREEN FLAG: Kyle Busch, Joe Nemechek, Joey Logano, Justin Allgaier and Cole Whitt are the leaders on the restart. Busch gets help from his Cup teammate Joey Logano, and takes the lead on the backstretch.

Lap 118 -- Elliott Sadler is getting some repairs on pit road.

6:23 p.m. ET -- Engines have been refired on the backstretch, and cars begin to roll away. The red flag has been withdrawn.

6:19 p.m. ET -- The impact of Eric McClure's car on the inside of the backstretch has damaged the SAFER barrier. It will take some time to repair.

6:17 p.m. ET -- A helicopter will transport Eric McClure to a hospital in Birmingham.

6:14 p.m. ET -- Eric McClure is out of his car, and is being taken to an ambulance on a stretcher.

6:08 p.m. ET -- Safety workers are working to get Eric McClure out of his car. Reports are that he's talking to them.

Lap 117 -- RED FLAG: Cars are stopped on the backstretch.

Lap 116 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 7: Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, Robert Richardson Jr., Jeffrey Earnhardt, Brad Keselowski, Eric McClure, Taylor Malsam, Michael Annett and others are caught up in the "big one."

Lap 116 -- GREEN FLAG: Kyle Busch, Joe Nemecehek, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Michael Annett are the leaders. Harvick is pushing Nemechek hard, but gets spun on the backstretch.

Lap 115 -- The race is going to end in a green-white-checkered finish.

Lap 113 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 6: Danny Efland and Mike Wallace spin in Turn 4.

Lap 113 -- GREEN FLAG: Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joe Nemechek, Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick are the top five on the restart. Here we go! Dillon drops back through the middle, as Busch gets help from Nemeechek to take the lead.

Lap 108 -- Most of the leaders stay on the track. Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler and others are pitting from further back in the pack. Sadler has some substantial damage on the front of his Chevrolet.

Lap 107 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 5: Mike Bliss crashes at the entrance to Turn 3, following a bump from drafting partner Elliott Sadler.

Lap 106 -- Its tightening up at the front of the field. Kyle Busch is the leader, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. just behind.

Lap 102 -- Sam Hornish Jr. and Brad Keselowski briefly get around Kyle Busch for the lead, but Busch grabs it right back.

Lap 93 -- Elliott Sadler's car is overheating.

Lap 92 -- The top four -- Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joe Nemechek and Austin Dillon.

Lap 90 -- Several cars are single file at the head of the field.

Lap 89 -- Kyle Busch has left Kenny Wallace. He's still out front, but now with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his rear bumper.

Lap 88 -- The lead two cars are Kyle Busch and Kenny Wallace. There's a duo you woudln't have thought of before the race.

Lap 87 -- GREEN FLAG: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Danica Patrick, Kenny Wallace and Dale Earnahrdt Jr. are the leaders. Harvick gets a push from Patrick on the inside lane, but then Joey Logano and Elliott Sadler split through the middleand under Kyle Busch and Kenny Wallace to lay claim to the lead.

Lap 86 -- There are 30 laps ... no, 29 ... dang it. There are 31 laps left in the Aaron's 312 ... I think.

Lap 85 -- Timmy Hill has climbed out of his car. It's reported that he was ... well ... demonstrably ill last night.

Lap 84 -- Sam Hornish Jr. is on pit road.

Lap 83 -- The leaders are on pit road. Sam Hornish Jr. stays on the track.

Lap 82 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 4: Josh Richards spins in Turn 2.

Lap 81 -- Kevin Harvick goes into the lead through the trioval.

Lap 80 -- Kurt Busch is on pit road, and his crew is under the hood pumping water itnto the radiator.

Lap 79 -- If you're looking for a dark horse winner, there are certainly a few candidates here at Talladega. Go, Front Row Joe!

Lap 78 -- Joe Nemechek pushes Dale Earnhardt Jr. past Danica Patrick, but she falls into third place, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. right behind her.

Lap 77 -- Danica Patrick is now the leader. The sky is falling!

Lap 76 -- That didn't last long. Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes back to the front of the hard-charging lead pack.

Lap 75 -- New leader. Ryan Truex.

Lap 74 -- Remember. Breathe. It's got to be as touch watching a race at Talladega as it is actually driving. OK ... maybe not. But it's close.

Lap 73 -- Danica Patrick tries to go to the high side in Turn 1 for the lead, but gets bogged down in the draft. In Turn 4, Elliott Sadler shakes Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of the top spot.

Lap 72 -- Kenny Wallace is challenging Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the lead.

Lap 71 -- Danica Patrick is right behind her team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 69 -- Elliott Sadler had a piece of somebody else's car stuck in the nose of his car on the pit stop, but his crew was able to repair the minor damage.

Lap 68 -- GREEN FLAG: Austin Dillon, Cole Whitt and James Buescher are the leaders on the restart. Dillon and Whitt stay even throughout most of the lap, but Whitt gets the advantage coming through the trioval. He has help from Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 65 -- Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski and a few others hit pit road to take on gas.

Lap 64 -- ESPN has already started its lap countdown, showing 53 laps to go. So that means we're working Lap 65. No, that's not right. Lap 66. No, that's not it, either. We're working Lap 64, right? Right?

Lap 63 -- Most of the leaders take the chance to pit under the caution. Kevin Harvick stays on the track.

Lap 62 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: Brad Sweet, Eric McClure and Jon Wes Townley are swept into an accident going into Turn 1.

Lap 61 -- There's a second line led by Joe Nemechek on the high side, but it doesn't look to be making much progress.

Lap 59 -- The race has reached the halfway point. It's scheduled for 117 circuits of this 2.66-mile facility.

Lap 57 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't the only Earnhardt in the field today. Jeffrey Earnhardt, his nephew, is currently running in 14th place.

Lap 56 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is planning to pit again on lap 65 or so.

Lap 55 -- Joe Nemechek and Kenny Wallace trade places on the track, and that allows Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch and plenty of others to go flying by.

Lap 54 -- Joe Nemechek goes into the lead with help from Kenny Wallace.

Lap 53 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s lone Nationwide Series victory here at Talladega came back April 2003.

Lap 49 -- Here's the deal. Don't ever blink here at Talladega, or chances are, you're going to miss something!

Lap 48 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now just in front of Kurt and Kyle Busch, with Kevin Harvick just behind them in fouth place.

Lap 46 -- Joey Logano gets out of shape going into the trioval, and by the time they sort themselves out, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the leader.

Lap 44 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. jumps into the lead off Turn 4, but Joey Logano and Elliott Sadler again weave their through traffic to grab the advantage. That was one more heck of a move!

Lap 43 -- Wow. Where did he come from? Mike Bliss is now at the front of the pack.

Lap 41 -- Joey Logano has finished third, second and second in the last three Nationwide Series races here at Talladega.

Lap 40 -- The top 10 are currently Joey Logano, Elliott Sadler, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick, Michael Annett, Ryan Truex, Kyle Busch, Cole Whitt, James Buescher and Joe Nemechek.

Lap 38 -- Still single file at the front. Take a deep breath. This won't last.

Lap 37 -- The first 10 or 12 cars have sorted themselves out single file ... for now.

Lap 35 -- GREEN FLAG: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Justin Allgaier, Danica Patrick, Joey Logano are the leaders. Allgaier is quickly shuffled back by the tandem of Earnhardt and Patrick. At the opposite end of the track, Joey Logano and Elliott Sadler retake the race lead.

Lap 32 -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon come back onto pit road for fuel and tires.

Lap 30 -- Most of the leaders drop onto pit road to top off their fuel supply. Austin Dillon makes slight contact with Jon Wes Townley, who is pitting just ahead of him.

Lap 29 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: Brian Scott, Morgan Shepherd, Kurt Busch, Josh Richards and Jason Bowles are involved in an accident coming through the trioval.

Lap 28 -- Don't look now, but Danica Patrick has worked her way into third place. She's got help from rookie Ryan Truex.

Lap 27 -- Joey Logano and Elliott Sadler weave their way through traffic to grabe the lead.

Lap 26 -- GREEN FLAG: Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michael Annett, Joe Nemechek and James Buescher are the leaders. Kurt Busch starts 36th after his miscue in the pits. Busch very briefly takes the lead in Turns 1 and 2, but then the advantage goes to Earnhardt on the backstretch.

Lap 23 -- Brad Keselowski, Sam Hornish Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and a few others roll down pit road under the caution.

Lap 22 -- The leaders are hitting pit road. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. stays on the track. There's a mixture of strategies -- two tires, four or none. Kurt Busch drags his gas can out of his stall, costing him a penalty.

Lap 21 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: There's oil on the track from Johanna Long's car.

Lap 20 -- James Buescher goes back into the leader, and this time, he's got Kyle Busch on his bumper.

Lap 19 -- Kevin Harvick is reporting that his water temperature is running about 260, 270 degrees. That's dangerous territory.

Lap 18 -- Elliott Sadler gets swallowed up going into Turn 1. Kyle Busch -- with Kurt just behind him -- comes out of the fray in Turn 2 with the race lead.

Lap 16 -- Elliott Sadler goes around Joey Logano, but this time, they're able to stay in the lead.

Lap 15 -- Kenny and Mike Wallace were briefly out front, but they traded places and handed the lead over to Joey Logano and Elliott Sadler.

Lap 14 -- That's how quickly things change at this place. Kurt Busch goes to the top of the leaderboard when Dale Earnhardt Jr. and James Buescher trade places.

Lap 13 -- James Buescher and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are 1.3 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

Lap 12 -- Another set of brothers -- Kenny and Mike Wallace -- are running together. They're currently shown in third and fourth place, respectively.

Lap 10 -- Brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch are hooked up in the draft and are well into the top 10.

Lap 9 -- It's James Buescher and Dale Earnhardt Jr. up front, with a much-more traditional looking pack of cars behind them.

Lap 8 -- Dale Earnnhardt Jr. pushes James Buescher into the lead as they charge into Turn 3.

Lap 6 -- The black number 3 is back at the front of the field. Austin Dillon moves into the top spot going through the trioval, with help from Joe Nemechek.

Lap 5 -- It was strategy. Kevin Harvick gets a push from Kasey Kahne into the lead on the frontstretch trioval.

Lap 4 -- The tandem racing isn't quite as obvious as it has been, but it's still around despite rule changes designed to break it up.

Lap 3 -- Kevin Harvick, after starting third, has dropped all the way to 13th. Does he have a problem, or is this strategy? We'll see.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The race gets the green at 3:48 p.m. ET, just seven minutes late due to the rain shower that passed over the track. Elliott Sadler is getting a push from teammate Kevin Harvick on the outside, while Ricky Stenhouse Jr. initially has help from Joey Logano. Logano then goes with Sadler, and they have the advantage at the stripe.

3:46 p.m. ET -- We're going green the next time by the starter's stand. The field is entering Turn 1 right now.

3:38 p.m. ET -- Cars are about to roll off pit road for the start of three pace laps. Drivers ... let's keep the greasy side down and the shiny side up!

3:36 p.m. ET -- Representatives of the Wounded Warrior Project -- Marine Corps Lance Corporal Mitchell Underwood, Army Specialist Kasey Wade, Marine Corps Segeant James Rivera and Army Specialist Andrew Coughlan -- give the command to fire engines.

3:31 p.m. ET -- NASCAR is going to try to have the command to fire engines in five minutes.

3:27 p.m. ET -- There's still some drying to be done coming off Turn 2, so that's going to delay the start of the race a few minutes.

3:24 p.m. ET -- Two T-45s VT-9 Tigers do the fly-over. There's a back seat in those things, right?

3:23 p.m. ET -- Curb Records artist Tim Dugger sings the national anthem. Hey! Ain't he the guy with all the kids?

3:22 ET -- The invocation is given by Rev. Billy Dickey, minister of missions at Eastmont Baptist Church and a volunteer wityh Alabama Raceway Ministries. the colors are presented by the Alabama Army National Guard.

3:14 p.m. ET -- Eight minutes until the start of the invocation and national anthem.

3:10 p.m. ET -- A light rain shower has come -- and gone. Jet dryers are making what should be quick work of whatever moisture was laid down on the track.

3:07 p.m. ET -- Loud and clear tower! NASCAR officials are conducting their weekly radio checks.

2:35 p.m. ET -- Driver introductions are slated to start in 10 minutes.

7:54 a.m. ET -- Rain washed out qualifying, so that means Elliott Sadler will start from the pole based on his team's lead in the car owner point standings. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Austin Dillon are second through fifth, while Brad Sweet, James Buescher, Sam Hornish Jr., Brad Keselowski and Michael Annett round out the top 10.

Blake Koch was the only driver who failed to gain a starting berth in the Aaron's 312.