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Lap-by-Lap: Darlington

May 13, 2012, ,

Lap 368 -- CHECKERED FLAG: No. 200 is finally here. Jimmie Johnson makes his fuel last and outlasts Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart for the win in the Bojangles' Southern 500.

Lap 367 -- WHITE FLAG: Jimmie Johnson has checked out and is up front.

Lap 366 -- GREEN FLAG: Jimmie Johnson leads the field to green alongside Tony Stewart.

Lap 365 -- One to go.

Lap 364 -- The restart could be very interesting here.

Lap 362 -- Ryan Newman's car has some serious damage. This shakes things up quite a bit as we're looking at a green-white-checkered finish.

Lap 361 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 8: Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman end up in the wall bringing out another caution.

Lap 359 -- Tony Stewart is hovering, and could be waiting to see what Jimmie Johnson's fuel status is.

Lap 358 -- Jimmie Johnson's lead is almost a second on Tony Stewart.

Lap 356 -- Jimmie Johnson is running about a mile an hour faster than Tony Stewart right now.

Lap 355 -- Then again, Tony Stewart might not be his biggest problem. Here comes Kyle Busch!!!

Lap 353 -- Jimmie Johnson is trying to conserve fuel while also making sure Tony Stewart can't catch him. It's a balancing act.

Lap 351 -- You know, when you're doing Lap-by-Lap you miss some of the big-picture stuff. I just looked at the leaderboard and saw Marcos Ambrose's name and did a double-take.

Lap 349 -- Carl Edwards takes seventh from Kasey Kahne.

Lap 348 -- Greg Biffle is sliding again, back to ninth now.

Lap 346 -- Jimmie Johnson's lead is more than six-tenths of a second on comeback kid Tony Stewart.

Lap 344 -- Matt Kenseth is up to fifth, one spot ahead of Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 340 -- This is totally a two-car race right now. Kyle Busch is nearly two seconds back in third.

Lap 339 -- Tony Stewart is about a half-second behind Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 338 -- Jimmie Johnson going for 200? Tony Stewart going for his first Darlington win? What will happen? The suspense is terrible ... I hope it lasts!

Lap 336 -- Greg Biffle takes sixth from Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 335 -- The outside line works for Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Stewart who slides into second place as well.

Lap 334 -- GREEN FLAG: Jimmie Johnson, still milking his fuel, leads the field to green, right next to Kyle Busch.

Lap 332 -- This caution can only help Jimmie Johnson, unless Kyle Busch puts a hurting on him on this restart.

Lap 330 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 7: The caution is back out after Reed Sorenson spins.

Lap 328 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed Ryan Newman for 13th.

Lap 327 -- Forty laps to go and Jimmie Johnson is out front by about a half-second in the Bojangles' Southern 500.

Lap 325 -- Fuel is still an issue for Jimmie Johnson barring another couple of cautions.

Lap 324 -- Jimmie Johnson takes the lead.

Lap 323 -- The top five is Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and pole-sitter Greg Biffle.

Lap 321 -- Problems? What problems? Tony Stewart is up to fourth after his trouble on pit road.

Lap 320 -- Kyle Busch used the outside line to his advantage and held on to his car to hold on to the lead.

Lap 319 -- GREEN FLAG: Kyle Busch leads the field to green alongside Jimmie Johnson. Greg Biffle, who started on the pole, restarts third.

Lap 318 -- The one-to-go command has come down, and Martin Truex Jr. is, shall we say, unhappy with his team's game plan.

Lap 317 -- Cars are on pit road, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jimmie Johnson is staying out again after Chad Knaus tells him this is their game plan and they have to ride it out.

Lap 316 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 6: Jamie McMurray gets into the wall, bringing out yet another caution.

Lap 313 -- Jimmie Johnson tried a crossover move to regain the lead, but it fell short. Greg Biffle is now on his tail for second and the fuel-saving seems to have gone out the window for Johnson.

Lap 312 -- Kyle Busch takes the lead from Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 311 -- GREEN FLAG: Jimmie Johnson leads the field to green alongside Kyle Busch.

Lap 310 -- Jimmie Johnson is cutting his car on and off trying to conserve fuel after staying out of the pits. Chad Knaus said they're three laps short of fuel. One to go to the green flag.

Lap 309 -- Ryan Newman takes fuel only, Kasey Kahne takes four tires, Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes fuel only.

Lap 308 -- The free pass goes to Jeff Burton, putting him back on the lead lap.

Lap 307 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 5: The caution is out for Regan Smith in Turn 4.

Lap 305 -- Joey Logano has been shuffled back to seventh.

Lap 304 -- Kyle Busch struggled on the restart and Jimmie Johnson grabbed second spot.

Lap 303 -- GREEN FLAG: Martin Truex Jr. leads the field to green, followed by Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards.

Lap 302 -- The one-to-go command has been given.

Lap 301 -- Martin Truex Jr. is still the leader after taking two tires. He's followed by Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin.

Lap 300 -- Leaders are on pit road. Jimmie Johnson says he needs to be tighter for a longer period of time, and takes two tires. Denny Hamlin takes four tires. Greg Biffle takes four tires as well. Tony Stewart is still on pit road with his team looking at his clutch and transmission; he was fifth at the time of the caution.

Lap 299 -- Jamie McMurray will get the free pass and rejoin the lead-lap cars.

Lap 298 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 4: Bobby Labonte spins out and brings out the caution.

Lap 296 -- Five cars are within 10 seconds of the leader. Seventh-place Kevin Harvick is 10.02 seconds back.

Lap 295 -- Martin Truex Jr. is slowly building up his lead. It's nearly eight-tenths of a second on Denny Hamlin now.

Lap 293 -- Kevin Harvick is up to seventh and has been steady all night.

Lap 292 -- Kyle Busch says his car is too free on exit from the turns.

Lap 291 -- Jimmie Johnson takes third from Kyle Busch.

Lap 289 -- Martin Truex Jr. is handling lapped traffic just fine and continues to lead the race.

Lap 287 -- Danica Patrick serves a pass-through penalty after hitting the cone while entering pit road.

Lap 286 -- The top 10: Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch.

Lap 283 -- Denny Hamlin got boxed in by Bobby Labonte leaving the pits, allowing Martin Truex Jr. to take the lead.

Lap 282 -- Martin Truex Jr. is now the leader, with about a half-second lead on Denny Hamlin. That reverses how they were running before the stops.

Lap 281 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets a point for leading a lap before he goes to pit road.

Lap 280 -- The leaders are on pit road. Greg Biffle takes four tires, as does Martin Truex Jr. Denny Hamlin takes four tires and says he's really tight. Jimmie Johnson says he's free and gets four tires and a chassis adjustment.

Lap 278 -- Matt Kenseth is up to 12th, and Greg Biffle has hit the pits.

Lap 276 -- Things are pretty well spaced out among the lead lap cars, so there's not much movement in positions.

Lap 272 -- Matt Kenseth is up to 13th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 15th and the last car on the lead lap.

Lap 269 -- Tony Stewart is hanging out in fifth and could be biding his time to make his move late.

Lap 268 -- It's 1.2 seconds between Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch in third.

Lap 267 -- Greg Biffle has fallen to nearly 10 seconds off the lead.

Lap 266 -- Denny Hamlin has stretched his lead to almost eight-tenths of a second on Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 262 -- Kasey Kahne is closing in on the fading Greg Biffle for that seventh spot.

Lap 260 -- Jeff Gordon is back on the track, scored 35th and 28 laps down.

Lap 259 -- Carl Edwards is up to 11th after passing Clint Bowyer.

Lap 258 -- Greg Biffle loses another spot as Joey Logano takes over sixth.

Lap 257 -- Jimmie Johnson is fourth, but 3.3 seconds behind leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 255 -- Carl Edwards isn't losing places like he was earlier, so that's good for him. He's riding along in 12th.

Lap 253 -- Matt Kenseth is hanging out in 14th.

Lap 252 -- Denny Hamlin continues to lead Martin Truex Jr. by about a half second.

Lap 250 -- Kevin Harvick passes Clint Bowyer for ninth.

Lap 249 -- Kurt Busch is running 11th after passing Carl Edwards.

Lap 247 -- Jimmie Johnson gets around Tony Stewart for fourth place.

Lap 245 -- Kevin Harvick is the final car in the top 10.

Lap 244 -- Tony Stewart is up to fourth and Jimmie Johnson takes fifth as Greg Biffle is battling a loose race car.

Lap 243 -- Denny Hamlin's lead is just more than a half-second.

Lap 241 -- Jamie McMurray is the last car on the lead lap in 16th.

Lap 239 -- All three JGR cars are in the top seven. They all restarted in the top five.

Lap 238 -- Joey Logano has slipped to seventh.

Lap 237 -- Kyle Busch has also passed Greg Biffle and taken third.

Lap 236 -- Martin Truex Jr. takes advantage of Greg Biffle's bobble and takes second.

Lap 235 -- GREEN FLAG: Denny Hamlin leads the field to green.

Lap 233 -- The top 10 on the restart will be Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.

Lap 232 -- Denny Hamlin regains the lead after his pit stop. That was about the best thing he could have asked for. He barely edged Greg Biffle for that top spot.

Lap 231 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets the free pass and will rejoin the lead lap cars.

Lap 230 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: Denny Hamlin exhales. Debris in Turn 3 brings out the flag.

Lap 229 -- Denny Hamlin is coming up on his green-flag pit stop window, and is rooting hard for a caution.

Lap 227 -- Joey Logano is running eighth.

Lap 225 -- Jimmie Johnson is up to sixth.

Lap 224 -- Danica Patrick is running 30th, or four spots ahead of Jeff Gordon.

Lap 223 -- Greg Biffle is up to fourth, but his teammate Carl Edwards is down to 12th and saying he has no grip.

Lap 221 -- A third flat left rear tire sends Jeff Gordon to the garage.

Lap 220 -- Kasey Kahne's lead of Denny Hamlin is nearly 2.5 seconds.

Lap 219 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in 15th and the first car one lap down. He and Denny Hamlin might both be rooting equally hard for a caution to come out.

Lap 217 -- Kevin Harvick moves into the top 10 by passing Carl Edwards.

Lap 216 -- Jimmie Johnson moves up to seventh after passing Kyle Busch.

Lap 215 -- Joey Logano takes ninth from Carl Edwards.

Lap 213 -- Kevin Harvick is running 11th.

Lap 212 -- Martin Truex Jr. and Tony Stewart are right behind second-place Denny Hamlin and his older tires.

Lap 211 -- Greg Biffle takes over fifth from Kurt Busch.

Lap 210 -- Jimmie Johnson is up to eighth as Carl Edwards continues to slide.

Lap 209 -- Kasey Kahne's lead is more than a second and a half.

Lap 207 -- Tony Stewart is up to fourth after passing Kurt Busch.

Lap 205 -- Jeff Gordon is back on pit road with another flat left rear tire. That is not a coincidence.

Lap 204 -- The top 10: Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 203 -- Kurt Busch is up to fourth. Tony Stewart is running fifth.

Lap 200 -- Kasey Kahne takes the lead on the outside after taking two right side tires.

Lap 199 -- GREEN FLAG: Denny Hamlin leads the field to green. Kasey Kahne restarts second.

Lap 198 -- The one-to-go command has been given. Ryan Newman got the free pass and is running 14th.

Lap 196 -- Denny Hamlin stayed out of the pits and is now scored as the leader.

Lap 195 -- Jeff Gordon took four fresh tires and will rejoin the field no longer a part of the lead lap crowd. The leaders have hit pit road.

Lap 194 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: Jeff Gordon has brought out the caution with a flat left rear tire.

Lap 192 -- Kurt Busch has moved up to eighth, his best spot of the day.

Lap 191 -- Carl Edwards now has designs on fourth and Martin Truex Jr. Truex has been better on long runs, so this isn't entirely surprising.

Lap 190 -- Greg Biffle is continuing his march, passing Martin Truex Jr. for third.

Lap 189 -- Jimmie Johnson has taken the lead back from Kyle Busch. He has got a beast of a car tonight.

Lap 188 -- Kyle Busch is up by less than .2 seconds on Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 186 -- Greg Biffle has taken over fourth from Carl Edwards, but Jimmie Johnson is all over Kyle Busch for the lead.

Lap 184 -- We're halfway in the Bojangles' Southern 500!

Lap 183 -- Tony Stewart gets past Denny Hamlin for a spot in the top 10.

Lap 182 -- The racing is hot and heavy back in the pack as drivers fight for position.

Lap 181 -- Martin Truex Jr. has his eyes on second place, currently held by Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 180 -- Kyle Busch takes the lead on the restart, flying past Jimmie Johnson on the outside.

Lap 179 -- GREEN FLAG: Jimmie Johnson leads the field to green with Kyle Busch alongside him.

Lap 178 -- The one-to-go command has come out.

Lap 176 -- Clint Bowyer got the free pass, putting 14 cars back on the lead lap. When they restart, running order will be Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle in the top five.

Lap 175 -- Jimmie Johnson is back to the lead after Joey Logano hits the pits.

Lap 174 -- The leaders hit pit road for adjustments. Joey Logano is scored as the leader.

Lap 172 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: FINALLY. Almost halfway through the Southern 500, debris is spotted in Turn 2.

Lap 170 -- Kyle Busch is 5.4 seconds behind Jimmie Johnson in second, the only car within 10 seconds of the leader.

Lap 169 -- Kevin Harvick is the last car on the lead lap, and Jimmie Johnson is coming hard.

Lap 167 -- Danica Patrick is now three laps down, but still 31st. She's one spot behind Casey Mears.

Lap 166 -- Clint Bowyer just went a lap down, leaving 13 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 165 -- Lapped traffic isn't help Martin Truex Jr. make his move on Greg Biffle, but he took third.

Lap 163 -- Martin Truex Jr. wants third, badly.

Lap 162 -- OK, after some technical difficulties on my end, let me recap the top 10: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch.

Lap 155 -- Jimmie Johnson's lead is back to 3.8 seconds. He wasn't kidding when he said it was the best car he's ever had at Darlington.

Lap 154 -- Kurt Busch is back into the top 10, passing Joey Logano for 10th.

Lap 153 -- Jimmie Johnson's lead is down to 2.5 seconds. Or up to, considering it was about 1.7 seconds at the time he got up to speed.

Lap 151 -- The top 10 after pit stops: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.

Lap 149 -- Despite being the last one to pit among the leaders, Jimmie Johnson retains the lead. That's insane at Darlington.

Lap 148 -- Jimmie Johnson hits the pits for four tires.

Lap 147 -- Jimmie Johnson stays out yet again, while Martin Truex gives up second for the pits.

Lap 146 -- Jimmie Johnson is still out on the track as pit stops continue.

Lap 144 -- Another green-flag stop is under way, and Greg Biffle appears to have learned his lesson. He's one of the first ones in the pits.

Lap 143 -- Joey Logano has passed Tony Stewart for 11th, and Clint Bowyer is now in 13th after passing Kevin Harvick.

Lap 142 -- Martin Truex Jr. is up to second. Before he celebrates too much, he's still 7 seconds behind Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 140 -- Marcos Ambrose just made a big save while nearly spinning out to save us from a caution, but he's about to go two laps down.

Lap 139 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still a lap down, but he's picked up three spots to 18th.

Lap 137 -- Jimmie Johnson's lead is at nearly 6.4 seconds over Kyle Busch now.

Lap 136 -- I'm just cursing myself now. Martin Truex Jr. makes a move on Greg Biffle and takes over third place.

Lap 135 -- The passing that was going on early has slowed considerably as the top 15 is staying largely static. Then again, Jimmie Johnson is just dominating up front.

Lap 133 -- Clint Bowyer is the last car on the lead lap in 14th, 26.8 seconds behind Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 132 -- Brad Keselowski is a lap down and is still struggling with his car after he hit the wall early on.

Lap 130 -- Down to 14 cars on the lead lap as Jimmie Johnson is just rolling along.

Lap 128 -- Carl Edwards has taken fifth from Denny Hamlin.

Lap 126 -- Kyle Busch has taken second from Greg Biffle, but is still nearly 6 seconds behind Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 125 -- Carl Edwards is closing in on Denny Hamlin for that fifth position.

Lap 123 -- How hard would it be to be running fifth and still be 13 seconds behind the leader? Welcome to Denny Hamlin's world.

Lap 121 -- Sixteen cars on the lead lap, three cars within 10 seconds of the leader, and no cautions yet.

Lap 119 -- Kevin Harvick is staying solid in 13th, but is still well back from the leader.

Lap 118 -- Make Jimmie Johnson's lead nearly 5 seconds as Kyle Busch is making moves on Greg Biffle for second.

Lap 116 -- Kurt Busch is back into the top 10, geting past Tony Stewart for 10th.

Lap 115 -- Jimmie Johnson's lead is at 4.1 seconds in front of Greg Biffle.

Lap 113 -- Danica Patrick is two laps down and running 31st.

Lap 112 -- Carl Edwards has gotten past Kasey Kahne and taken over the sixth position.

Lap 108 -- Eighteen cars on the lead lap. Ryan Newman, you're next on Jimmie Johnson's list.

Lap 106 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is down one lap and running 21st.

Lap 105 -- Whatever they did to Jimmie Johnson's car, he's thankful. He was running second before the pit stop, and is now out front by nearly 4 seconds.

Lap 104 -- David Reutimann has headed to the garage with no brakes. At least this time he went in before his car caused a caution. Too soon?

Lap 102 -- The top 10 after stops: Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart.

Lap 101 -- And as the pit stops cycle through, Jimmie Johnson is now scored as the leader.

Lap 100 -- Jeff Gordon leads now as Denny Hamlin peels into the pits.

Lap 99 -- Greg Biffle has hit the pits, leaving the lead to Denny Hamlin.

Lap 98 -- Green-flag pit stops have started, with Jimmie Johnson heading into the pits.

Lap 96 -- There are 22 cars on the lead lap, with Mark Martin the last car in that line.

Lap 95 -- Matt Kenseth has passed Tony Stewart for ninth, leaving Stewart one spot ahead of Kurt Busch and two in front of Joey Logano.

Lap 94 -- Two consecutive green-flag pit stops to start the race? I'm serious, you guys ... what happened to Darlington?

Lap 91 -- Three Hendrick Motorsports cars are in the top eight.

Lap 90 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 21st and says he's "wrecking loose" but thinks he can move forward if Steve Letarte can tighten his car up.

Lap 89 -- Greg Biffle's lead is now approaching one second. Denny Hamlin has taken fifth from Kasey Kahne.

Lap 88 -- Ryan Newman has dropped to 18th. This was not what he wanted after qualifying fourth.

Lap 86 -- Greg Biffle's lead on Jimmie Johnson is almost seven-tenths of a second.

Lap 85 -- Clint Bowyer is up to 14th, just behind his old teammate Kevin Harvick.

Lap 84 -- Martin Truex Jr. has gotten past Kasey Kahne and taken over the fourth spot.

Lap 82 -- We're still under green *knock on wood* and Greg Biffle is still out front. What happened to Darlington?

Lap 80 -- Denny Hamlin is riding strong in sixth, about a second and a half behind Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 77 -- Joey Logano is up to 12th, with Kevin Harvick following him in 13th. Brad Keselowski has lost a couple more spots and is trying to hold on until his next pit stop.

Lap 76 -- Kurt Busch passes Brad Keselowski, and is now one spot behind another ex-teammate, Matt Kenseth, for 10th. Then again, Kurt has quite a few ex-teammates.

Lap 75 -- Kurt Busch is up to 12th, just behind his old teammate Brad Keselowski.

Lap 74 -- Same as it ever was, Jimmie Johnson is looking at the rear bumper of Greg Biffle, trying to plot his move to the lead.

Lap 72 -- Both Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson charge past Kyle Busch, with Biffle regaining the lead.

Lap 71 -- Kurt Busch's charge to the front has slowed, but he's still on the move. He's up to 13th.

Lap 69 -- Kasey Kahen is running two seconds behind his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, in fourth.

Lap 68 -- Kyle Busch has led the past 17 laps.

Lap 66 -- Tony Stewart is up to ninth, passing Brad Keselowski. Matt Kenseth has also taken 11th from Ryan Newman.

Lap 65 -- Jimmie Johnson is really making that inside line work for him. What wall??

Lap 64 -- Jimmie Johnson passes Kasey Kahne for that third position.

Lap 62 -- Jimmie Johnson is trying to catch his teammate Kasey Kahne for third.

Lap 61 -- Danica Patrick remains 34th and one lap down. But her car is still clean and she's just trying to learn as much as she can.

Lap 60 -- Ryan Newman is running 11th after starting fourth.

Lap 59 -- Kyle Busch is stretching out his lead, now more than a half-second ahead of Greg Biffle.

Lap 57 -- Joey Logano is into the top 15 after his pit stop, and Matt Kenseth has just passed Regan Smith for 12th.

Lap 55 -- The top 10 after pit stops: Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart.

Lap 54 -- Greg Biffle is closing on Kyle Busch for the race lead.

Lap 53 -- Kyle Busch is now scored as the leader, with Greg Biffle running second. Busch's early stop has paid off for him.

Lap 52 -- Landon Cassill is now the leader, thanks to pit stops.

Lap 51 -- Green-flag stops continue to cycle through as Kasey Kahne pulls in, leaving the lead to Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 50 -- Kasey Kahne becomes the leader as Greg Biffle hits the pits.

Lap 48 -- Kevin Harvick is having trouble turning and is asking his crew to work on that during his stop.

Lap 47 -- Kasey Kahne takes second from Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski starts the green-flag pit stops.

Lap 46 -- The front of the pack has tightened up with the lapped traffic, and Kasey Kahne and Jimime Johnson are battling for second.

Lap 43 -- Jimmie Johnson takes the lead from Greg Biffle for a split second, but not at the start/finish line so Biffle has still led every lap.

Lap 42 -- Jeff Gordon has gotten into the wall pretty hard and has some damage to the right side.

Lap 41 -- The top 10 has stayed pretty static for the last little bit, but Matt Kenseth has gotten past Brad Keselowski for the 13th spot.

Lap 39 -- Cars are starting to peel off for the garage. See you guys next week!

Lap 37 -- Greg Biffle has led all the laps, and just forced his way past David Reutimann.

Lap 35 -- Things aren't going so well for Paul Menard and Aric Almirola, who have dropped six and eight places, respectively.

Lap 34 -- Joey Logano, who won the Nationwide race Friday night, is running 17th.

Lap 32 -- The front of the field is spaced out, as there's more than a second between Kasey Kahne in third and Kyle Busch in fourth.

Lap 30 -- Kurt Busch has gained two more spots and is up to 15th.

Lap 29 -- Danica Patrick has gone a lap down, and is still struggling to get as close to the wall as her spotter would like.

Lap 28 -- Jeff Gordon has climbed up to ninth and is closing on Ryan Newman.

Lap 26 -- Jimmie Johnson keeps drawing up closer to Greg Biffle, but then falling back a little. Biffle's got to have his eyes on the rear-view mirror.

Lap 25 -- Denny Hamlin is up to seventh. He's had plenty of success at Darlington in the past.

Lap 23 -- Regan Smith got the first stripe of the night. Congratulations, Regan!

Lap 21 -- Brad Keselowski is running 13th, one spot ahead of Matt Kenseth.

Lap 20 -- Danica Patrick has made up four spots and is running 34th.

Lap 19 -- Regan Smith, who won here last year, is holding strong in ninth. That means he's neither gained nor lost a spot in 19 laps.

Lap 17 -- Tony Stewart is knocking on the door of the top 10, running 11th after starting 17th.

Lap 16 -- Kurt Busch has picked up eight spots and is up to 17th.

Lap 15 -- Greg Biffle has extended his lead back to nearly a second on Jimmie Johnson after getting quite a scare a few laps ago.

Lap 13 -- Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards have also gotten past Ryan Newman, who is now down to seventh.

Lap 12 -- Kurt Busch is continuing his mad dash toward the front of the field.

Lap 11 -- Jeff Gordon is running 10th, putting three Hendrick Motorsports cars in the top 10.

Lap 10 -- Never mind on that note, as well. Kyle Busch passes Ryan Newman for a spot in the top five.

Lap 8 -- Matt Kenseth is moving forward. The top seven is unchanged from the start, however.

Lap 7 -- Remember two laps ago when Greg Biffle was up a half-second on Jimmie Johnson? Not so much.

Lap 6 -- Tony Stewart is up to 13th after starting 17th. He's one spot behind AJ Allmendinger.

Lap 5 -- Greg Biffle leads by almost a half second over Jimmie Johnson, then it's another half-second back to Kasey Kahne.

Lap 3 -- These drivers don't seem to be having much trouble passing, though spots are easier to come by early in the race.

Lap 2 -- AJ Allmendinger has picked up three spots to 13th.

Lap 1 -- Greg Biffle pulls out to a lead, but they are packed up behind him.

7:18 p.m. ET -- GREEN FLAG: Greg Biffle leads the points, and he leads the field to green at Darlington for the Bojangles' Southern 500.

7:08 p.m. ET -- And in my favorite pronouncement of the whole darn season, the drivers' moms get together to say, "Sons and daughter, start your engines!"

7:02 p.m. ET -- The national anthem is performed by Casey Weston, one of the final eight performers from last year's "The Voice."

7:01 p.m. ET -- The invocation is given by Pastor Mark Jones, First Baptist Church of Darlington.

7 p.m. ET -- The South Carolina Air National Guard presents the colors, and a moment of silence is held for Carroll Shelby.

6:57 p.m. ET -- Michael Waltrip just said he likes Danica Patrick's eyeballs. I really have nothing to add to that.

6:30 p.m. ET -- We're a little less than an hour from the green flag, and Fox is on the air with its prerace show.

12:54 p.m. ET -- Looks like it's going to be a cloudy but dry day leading up to Saturday night's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Temperatures will top out in the upper 70s, but start dropping down into the 60s as the race goes on under the lights. Greg Biffle will start out front, right next to Jimmie Johnson. Green flag is set for 7:16 p.m. ET.