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Lap-by-Lap: Charlotte

May 27, 2012, ,

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Lap 400 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Kasey Kahne breezes to the 13th victory of his Sprint Cup career, his fourth at Charlotte and first for Hendrick Motorsports. It's the second straight points win for the team, and third including last week's all-star event.

Lap 397 -- No change up front. Kasey Kahne could almost coast from here. Almost.

Lap 395 -- Five laps to go. The trophy is not Kasey Kahne's ... yet.

Lap 393 -- The lead is now 3.7 seconds.

Lap 392 -- Kasey Kahne finished fourth here last fall.

Lap 390 -- Ten laps to go.

Lap 386 -- Kasey Kahne is gone. He's now 2.5 seconds ahead of second place Denny Hamlin. It's 9.4 seconds to third-place Kyle Busch.

Lap 384 -- This is the 300th start of Kasey Kahne's Sprint Cup career. It's about to be his first victory for Hendrick Motorsports!

Lap 380 -- Twenty laps to go. Kasey Kahne's lead now stands at at 1.5 seconds.

Lap 378 -- Denny Hamlin is now losing ground, back to about a second behind Kasey Kahne.

Lap 374 -- Denny Hamlin is closing! He's now several car lengths behind leader Kasey Kahne.

Lap 371 -- The gap between Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin is anywhere from 8/10ths of a second to a second.

Lap 369 -- Denny Hamlin has erased a couple of tenths of a second off Kasey Kahne's lead.

Lap 365 -- Kyle Busch gets past Greg Biffle for third place.

Lap 362 -- Kasey Kahne leads Denny Hamlin by a little more than one second.

Lap 360 -- Forty laps to go.

Lap 358 -- After the stops, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski are the leaders. The miscue on his pit stop has dropped Jimmie Johnson to 13th place, one lap down.

Lap 355 -- Kevin Harvick Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman and others pit. Jimmie Johnson will have to serve a stop-and-go penalty.

Lap 354 -- Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin pit. Johnson leaves his stall with the gas can still attached.

Lap 353 -- Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle bring their cars to pit road for what could be the last time tonight.

Lap 350 -- Fifty laps to go. Greg Biffle has passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. for fourth place.

Lap 347 -- Jimmie Johnson gets around Dale Earnhardt Jr. for third place. Earnhardt has a couple of pieces of trash on the grille of his Chevrolet.

Lap 345 -- Martin Truex Jr. is reporting oil on the backstretch. As it just so happens, he's in 11th place, the first car a lap down. He couldn't possibly have an ulterior motive for wanting a caution, could he?

Lap 343 -- Kasey Kahne led at the 500-mile mark last year, but finished 22nd.

Lap 341 -- After losing power on the track, Mark Martin heads to the garage.

Lap 340 -- Kasey Kahne leads Denny Hamlin by about 9/10ths of a second. It's another second or so back to third-place Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 337 -- Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson are fighting hard for fourth place.

Lap 334 -- Kasey Kahne leads at the 500-mile mark.

Lap 332 -- Kasey Kahne takes to the high side coming off Turn 2 to capture the lead.

Lap 331 -- Denny Hamlin has Kasey Kahne on his rear bumper for the lead.

Lap 328 -- Kasey Kahne has been shot out of a cannon after the restart. He blasts past teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. for second place on the frontstretch.

Lap 326 -- Kasey Kahne flies to the outside of Kyle Busch for third place coming off turn 4.

Lap 325 -- GREEN FLAG: Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson are the leaders on the restart. Earnhardt and Hamlin remain side by side for most of the lap, until Hamlin clears for the point off Turn 4.

Lap 320 -- Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. stay on the track while most of the rest of the leaders pit during the caution.

Lap 318 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 5: Debris is reported on the track.

Lap 317 -- Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle are side by side for the lead.

Lap 315 -- Kasey Kahne battles past Greg Biffle for the lead, but Biffle comes right back after him.

Lap 311 -- Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson are the top five after the cycle of stops.

Lap 308 -- Greg Biffle dives under Denny Hamlin for the lead on the backstretch, then avoids disaster off Turn 4 when he and Jamie McMurray nearly collide.

Lap 307 -- Kasey Kahne pits.

Lap 306 -- Jeff Gordon hits his pit stall. Greg Biffle is also stopping.

Lap 305 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch are pitting.

Lap 304 -- Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and others are making their stops.

Lap 301 -- Kasey Kahne laps 11th-place Mark Martin. The ten cars on the lead circuit are Kahne, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards.

Lap 300 -- One hundred laps to go.

Lap 297 -- Kyle Busch gets position on Jimmie Johnson for fourth place on the backstretch.

Lap 293 -- Brad Keselowski is trying to get his crew to explain his side of the story to Tony Stewart's team. He's concerned about "getting stuffed in the fence."

Lap 289 -- Kasey Kahne's lead over Greg Biffle is about 8/10ths of a second.

Lap 285 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. splits the cars of Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart on the frontretch. The move gave Junior eighth place over Keselowski. Stewart is a lap down.

Lap 284 -- Kasey Kahne has three Sprint Cup wins at Charlotte, the most recent in May 2008.

Lap 280 -- Kasey Kahne motors past Greg Biffle for the lead on the backstretch.

Lap 278 -- Gregg Biffle's bobble has allowed Kasey Kahne to close to within a few car lengths.

Lap 275 -- Greg Biffle gets way loose coming off Turn 2, but he's able to collect it without crashing.

Lap 274 -- Martin Truex Jr. has reported debris high in Turn 3. NASCAR says the track is clear.

Lap 269 -- After the stops, the top five are Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth.

Lap 265 -- Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle are making their stops.

Lap 264 -- Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski are on pit road. Keselowski makes contact with Tony Stewart, who spins.

Lap 263 -- Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are on pit road.

Lap 262 -- Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin and others are pitting.

Lap 258 -- Greg Biffle's margin over Kasey Kahne is about 2.2 seconds. On the track, that's maybe about a quarter of a straightaway.

Lap 255 -- Chip Ganassi has arrived at the track from the Indianapolis 500, where his driver Dario Franchitti won open-wheeled racing's biggest prize earlier today.

Lap 253 -- Kasey Kahne finally clears Kyle Busch to grab the runnerup spot.

Lap 252 -- Kasey Kahne moves under Kyle Busch for second place coming off Turn 4.

Lap 251 -- Greg Biffle has to check up a little bit behind some lapped cars, but he's able to power past without further incident.

Lap 249 -- Kasey Kahne has closed even more on Kyle Busch.

Lap 245 -- Kasey Kahne is now within several car lengths of Kyle Busch for second place.

Lap 243 -- Greg Biffle is again hitting the afterburners. His lead is now up to 2.5 seconds.

Lap 237 -- Greg Biffle works through some more lapped traffic. Kyle Busch trails by about 1.2 seconds.

Lap 232 -- The top five are currently Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.

Lap 229 -- Matt Kenseth pits again, this time with a loose right-rear tire.

Lap 228 -- There's smoke reported coming from Kurt Busch's car, possibly from the left front.

Lap 226 -- Denny Hamlin gets past Kevin Harvick for fourth place.

Lap 225 -- Jamie McMurray finally obeys the black flag for the missing lug nut and drops onto pit road.

Lap 224 -- Jamie McMurray is missing a lug nut after is stop, and he'll have to come back.

Lap 223 -- Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson stop.

Lap 222 -- Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne are pitting.

Lap 221 -- Tony Stewart and several others make their stops.

Lap 220 -- Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski are pitting.

Lap 219 --- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose and others are on pit road.

Lap 217 -- Greg Biffle has to work his way past a couple of lapped cars, and that allows Kasey Kahne to close further. Also, Marcos Ambrose has had a problem on the track.

Lap 215 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. has moved into 10th place.

Lap 211 -- AJ Allmendinger is back on the track.

Lap 209 -- Kasey Kahne is closing in on leader Greg Biffle.

Lap 207 -- The lights are on at Charlotte Motor Speedway!

Lap 206 -- Kasey Kahne is now up to second place.

Lap 202 -- Greg Biffle leads Kyle Busch by 7/10ths of a second.

Lap 200 -- Halfway!

Lap 197 -- Paul Menard is reporting debris in Turn 3. The NASCAR inspector there says that it's a piece of paper.

Lap 193 -- For Greg Biffle fans, it's been an exhilarating night. Could he be headed for a second win in 2012?

Lap 191 -- Greg Biffle gets position on Kyle Busch for the lead coming off Turn 4.

Lap 190 -- Greg Biffle has caught back up to the Kyle Busch's rear bumper.

Lap 187 -- Kyle Busch is already out to a lead of about 7/10ths of a second.

Lap 184 -- Greg Biffle clears Kasey Kahne for second coming off Turn 2.

Lap 183 -- GREEN FLAG: Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick are the leaders. Busch drops down in front of Biffle going into Turn 1.

Lap 180 -- Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart pit under the caution.

Lap 178 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 4: There's a large chunk of metal in the racing groove between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 175 -- GREEN FLAG: Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson are the top five. Busch rockets into Turn 1, already well clear of the field.

Lap 174 -- AJ Allmendinger's car is being pushed to the garage.

Lap 173 -- Race director David Hoots calls a lap to go to the green when the field gets back to the start-finish line.

Lap 172 -- The leaders are on pit road.

Lap 170 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 3: Travis Kvapil slaps the wall in Turn 4.

Lap 168 -- Jeff Gordon is on pit road to change his well-worn tires.

Lap 163 -- Kyle Busch finished second here last fall. Matt Kenseth won the event.

Lap 160 -- Kyle Busch has nine top-10 finishes in the last 11 Sprint Cup races at Charlotte. His best finishes here are a pair of second-place efforts.

Lap 157 -- Kyle Busch's lead remains steady.

Lap 153 -- Second-place Jimmie Johnson is about 6/10ths of a second behind leader Kyle Busch.

Lap 150 -- Paul Menard, Kurt Busch and Trevor Bayne go three wide on the frontstretch, fighting over who'll be the first car a lap down.

Lap 149 -- Carl Edwards is on pit road, apparently with a loose wheel.

Lap 146 -- Jamie McMurray is still going very high in the turns. He's in 20th place.

Lap 143 -- After the hairy restart, most of the field has now sorted itself out single file.

Lap 141 -- Jimmie Johnson is now second, Greg Biffle third.

Lap 139 -- GREEN FLAG: Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the top five. Gordon was 12th before the caution. Busch blows to the outside of Gordon for the lead, and then Gordon sees two more cars go three wide around him.

Lap 137 -- One lap to go to the green at the stripe.

Lap 136 -- Most of the leaders are back on pit road. Jeff Gordon stays on the track.

Lap 133 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 2: There's debris in Turn 1.

Lap 132 -- Greg Biffle has already led more laps this year than he did in all of 2011.

Lap 130 -- Greg Biffle leads Kyle Busch by about 6/10ths of a second.

Lap 127 -- Greg Biffle goes back around Kyle Busch for the lead after Busch dropped his left-side tires below the white line at the bottom of the racing surface.

Lap 125 -- Jimmie Johnson gets a run on Marcos Ambrose for third place on the backstretch, and then coming off Turn 4, Kyle Busch grabs the lead from Greg Biffle coming off the last corner.

Lap 122 -- There's another report of debris on the race track in Turn 3. They are a couple of water bottles, but they're out of the groove.

Lap 121 -- Kyle Busch charges under Marcos Ambrose for the lead on the backstretch.

Lap 119 -- Jamie McMurray has a loose wheel, and says that he's going to be pitting.

Lap 118 -- GREEN FLAG: Marcos Ambrose and Jamie McMurray took two tires on the stop to claim the top-two spots on the restart. Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne are third through fifth. Ambrose clears for the lead going into Turn 1, while Busch squeezes into second.

Lap 113 -- The leaders are on pit road. Brad Keselowski was too fast exiting pit road.

Lap 111 -- YELLOW FLAG NO. 1: There's debris on the back straightaway.

Lap 109 -- That comment about Kyle Busch closing in on Marcos Ambrose for second place? Never mind. He's more than 1.3 seconds back of the runnerup spot.

Lap 106 -- AJ Allmendinger is fighting a bad vibration in his Dodge. There was concern that a rear wheel might be loose, but that's evidently not the cause of the issue.

Lap 104 -- Marcos Ambrose has chopped nearly a second off Greg Biffle's lead in the last few laps.

Lap 100 -- One laps down, 300 -- gulp! -- to go.

Lap 99 -- Kyle Busch is moving in on Marcos Ambrose for second place.

Lap 97 -- Greg Biffle's advantage over second-place Marcos Ambrose stands at about four seconds.

Lap 94 -- Greg Biffle goes right back to the front after making his stop. After Biffle, it's Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson in the top five.

Lap 93 -- Greg Biffle finally hits the brakes to drop onto pit road for his service.

Lap 91 -- Kasey Kahne, Aric Almirola and others stop.

Lap 90 -- Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose and plenty more are on pit road.

Lap 89 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. pits.

Lap 88 -- Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick are making their stops.

Lap 87 -- AJ. Allmendinger, Juan Montoya and others are pitting.

Lap 86 -- Jamie McMurray goes high between Turns 3 and 4, but he's able to keep it off the wall.

Lap 82 -- Leader Greg Biffle has never won a Sprint Cup race here at Charlotte. His best finish is a second back in 2008.

Lap 80 -- Jimmie Johnson slips past Clint Bowyer for fourth place.

Lap 78 -- The top-five drivers are separated by nearly nine seconds.

Lap 74 -- Astronaut Doug Hurley -- the pilot of STS-135, the final Space Shuttle mission in history -- is at the race tonight as a guest of Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli.

Lap 69 -- About 1.7 seconds separate leader Greg Biffle and second-place Marcos Ambrose, and it's 6.1 seconds back to third-place Clint Bowyer.

Lap 67 -- Kyle Busch has worked his way up to sixth place,

Lap 65 -- Tony Stewart goes a lap down to Greg Biffle.

Lap 63 -- Tony Stewart isn't having the greatest of nights so far. Right now, he's in 28th place.

Lap 59 -- Now there's oil said to be in Turn 2, but again, it's called clear by observers.

Lap 57 -- Debris was reported on the track, but NASCAR officials around the track report that it's clear.

Lap 55 -- Greg Biffle is in the process of easing back out to a comfortable lead over Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 52 -- Leader Greg Biffle is forced to go three wide under a couple of lapped cars as they approach the entrance to Turn 3.

Lap 51 -- Marcos Ambrose is within about 6/10ths of a second of leader Greg Biffle.

Lap 48 -- After the cycle of stops, the top five are Greg Biffle, Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne and Mark Martin.

Lap 47 -- Greg Biffle gives up the lead to make his stop. Jimmie Johnson's crew is also going to work. Aric Almirola is pitting.

Lap 46 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon get tires and fuel.

Lap 45 -- Marcos Ambrose pushes Danica Patrick down pit road, evidently not happy with how slow she's going. Carl Edwards is in his stall.

Lap 44 -- Kevin Harvick is stopping.

Lap 43 -- Jamie McMurray is in the pits.

Lap 42 -- Jeff Burton, Terry Labonte, Paul Menard and Kurt Busch are making their stops.

Lap 41 -- AJ Allmendinger is pitting.

Lap 39 -- Greg Biffle's lead is now up to 1.8 seconds over Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 37 -- Greg Biffle is in a little bit of lapped traffic, but nothing he shouldn't be able to handle with relative ease.

Lap 35 -- Expect green-flag pit stops to begin in about 10-13 laps or so.

Lap 33 -- The top five are currently Greg Biffle, Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin.

Lap 32 -- Jeff Gordon has gained 14 spots since the green flag, and is now showin in ninth place.

Lap 29 -- The trash is evidently gone from the nose of leader Greg Biffle's car, because he's flying.

Lap 26 -- Marcos Ambrose is looking at a gap of nearly a second up to leader Greg Biffle.

Lap 24 -- Mark Martin is in fifth place!

Lap 23 -- Clint Bowyer is now running in third place, about half a second behind the leaders. Then, Greg Biffle goes back into the lead coming off Turn 4.

Lap 20 -- Greg Biffle goes high in Turns 3 and 4, and then pulls right up to leader Marcos Ambrose's bumper on the frontstretch. He's trying to get the debris off the front of his car.

Lap 17 -- The water temperature in Greg Biffle's car has been rising dangerously high due to debris on the grille.

Lap 15 -- Marcos Ambrose goes around Greg Biffle to re-claim the lead.

Lap 13 -- Clint Bowyer has moved into fourth place, past Aric Almirola.

Lap 11 -- Greg Biffle has opened up a cushion of about half a second over second-place Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 9 -- Move Greg Biffle to the top of the leaderboard, after he roars past Marcos Ambrose on the frontstretch.

Lap 7 -- Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson are both able to get by Aric Almirola, dropping him back to fourth place.

Lap 6 -- Marcos Ambrose gets a run on Aric Almirola to grab the lead in Turn 4, with Greg Biffle in hot pursuit of them both.

Lap 3 -- Aric Almirola blows by Marcos Ambrose for the top spot coming off Turn 4. Greg Biffle clears Jimmie Johnson for second.

Lap 2 -- Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle are side by side for second place.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: Here we go! The race gets under way at 6:23 p.m. ET. Aric Almirola wiggles between Turns 1 and 2, allow teammate Marcos Ambrose to take the lead.

6:23 p.m. ET -- Kurt Busch is going to the rear of the field in a backup car.

6:21 p.m. ET -- One lap to go at the stripe!

6:17 p.m. ET -- Pace-car driver Brett Bodine begins to roll down pit road, a field of 43 cars in tow.

6:12 p.m. ET -- The command to fire engines is given by Frank Thorp, a retired U.S. Navy admiral and senior vice president for marketing and communications at the USO; Col. Gregory Gadson, director of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program; and actress Brooklyn Decker.

6:04 p.m. ET -- A B-52 from Barksdale Air Force Base is approaching the track for the fly-over, just as Darius Rucker begins to sing the national anthem.

6:03 p.m. ET -- The Fort Bragg Firing Squad gives a 21 Gun Salute, and a bugler blows "Taps." Wow. What a moment ...

6:02 p.m. ET -- The Charlotte Fire Department Pipe Bag is playing "Amazing Grace" as the world's largest American flag is unfurled on the frontstretch grass.

6:01 p.m. ET -- After the colors are presented by the U.S. All Army Color Guard, the invocation is given by Darrell Waltrip.

5:52 p.m. ET -- No matter how you put it, 600 miles is a long way. It's always hard to comprehend how difficult it is to drive one of these cars, but this ups the ante that much more!

5:46 p.m. ET -- The weather in North Carolina is gorgeous. It's warm, but temperatures will cool off once the sun goes down and the lights come up.

5:41 p.m. ET -- Fox is airing a segment on Bud Moore and his service in World War II. You can't help but be humbled by his story, especially this weekend.

5:40 p.m. ET -- Twenty minutes until the start of the invocation and national anthem.

8:39 a.m. ET -- Richard Petty Motorsports teammates Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose swept the first two starting positions during qualifying. The pole is the first of Almirola's Sprint Cup career, and Ambrose's effort equals his best start.

Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer are third through fifth, and Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard and Regan Smith sixth through 10tth.

J.J. Yeley, Mike Bliss, David Reutimann and Scott Riggs failed to qualify for the race.