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Lap-by-Lap: Indianapolis

July 29, 2012, ,

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Lap 160 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Jimmie Johnson sails to the fourth Indy Cup win of his career. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon finish fourth and fifth respectively.

Lap 159 -- Jimmie Johnson is outta here!

Lap 158 -- White flag next time by.

Lap 157 -- Three laps, five seconds. Jimmie Johnson wouldn't be able to coast from here, but it would be close!

Lap 156 -- Somebody might need to check Jimmie Johnson's car for surplus solid rocket boosters once used by the Space Shuttle!

Lap 155 -- Five to go.

Lap 154 -- Jimmie Johnson is 3.4 seconds ahead of Greg Biffle.

Lap 153 -- If the race were to end right now, which it won't, Dale Earnhardt Jr. would be the new points leader. But it IS looking good for the checkered flag!

Lap 152 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. may be able to make a move on Greg Biffle for third place in the next lap or so.

Lap 151 -- Jimmie Johnson is still picking up ground on second-place Kyle Busch.

Lap 150 -- Ten laps to go. It ain't over 'til it's over!

Lap 148 -- Greg Biffle is in third place, but he's not making any headway on catching up to second-place Kyle Busch.

Lap 147 -- NASCAR has spotted something amiss on Joey Logano's damaged car. It's being reported to the crew chief.

Lap 146 -- Jimmie Johnson now has 2.2 seconds on second-place Kyle Busch.

Lap 145 -- Ryan Newman has picked his way up to fifth place.

Lap 144 -- Matt Kenseth, who led the point standings coming into this event, is officially out of the race due to the accident just a few laps ago.

Lap 143 -- Jimmie Johnson is 1.6 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch. Also, Mark Martin has scraped the wall.

Lap 142 -- Tony Stewart has moved up five spots since the restart. He ain't taking it no more!

Lap 141 -- There's some big-time jockeying for position from Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski on back.

Lap 140 -- GREEN FLAG: The leaders are Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Johnson is shot out of a cannon and has the lead well in hand in the first two turns. Busch takes second from Biffle in Turn 3.

Lap 139 -- One lap to the restart at the stripe. The field is in Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 138 -- Tony Stewart, running 14th, is displeased with drivers changing lanes and trying to block. He says he's had enough!

Lap 137 -- The pits are finally open, and there are a few takers.

Lap 134 -- Pit road is still closed.

Lap 132 -- YELLOW FLAG: Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth and Bobby Labonte are involved in a crash in Turns 1 and 2. It's the fifth caution of the day.

Lap 131 -- Jimmie Johnson flashes by Greg Biffle for the lead on the backstretch.

Lap 130 -- The field goes three wide back in the pack, and there's a mad dash still in Turn 4.

Lap 129 -- GREEN FLAG: Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are the leaders. Biffle shoots clear with the lead in Turn 1, and then Johnson and Busch make contact in the next corner.

Lap 127 -- One to go at the stripe. The field is in Turns 1 and 2 now.

Lap 126 -- The leaders are on pit road for what could be the last time today. Greg Biffle takes just two tires, and is the first out of the pits. Jeff Gordon lost four spots on the exchange.

Lap 124 -- YELLOW FLAG: The race's fourth caution is out for Jeff Burton's flat tire.

Lap 122 -- Look for green-flag pit stops to begin in the next few laps.

Lap 121 -- Well ... check that. Greg Biffle moves around Denny Hamlin for third place on the frontstretch.

Lap 120 -- Forty laps to go. Denny Hamlin has worked his way back to fourth place.

Lap 118 -- Hendrick Motorsports has seven wins here at Indy. Teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are first and second right now.

Lap 116 -- Kyle Busch has lost contact with Jeff Gordon for second place.

Lap 114 -- NASCAR is checking Kurt Busch's car for signs of smoke.

Lap 112 -- Jimmie Johnson is now 3.3 seconds ahead of Jeff Gordon, who has taken over second place.

Lap 109 -- Kyle Busch's best previous finish here at Indy is a fourth.

Lap 108 -- Kyle Busch now faces a 2.4-second deficit up to leader Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 107 -- Jeff Gordon is concerned about the oil temperature in his car. It's now up to about 240 degrees.

Lap 106 -- Regan Smith has fallen out of the top 10 after running second on the restart.

Lap 105 -- The top five are Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle. Brad Keselowski has moved back up to sixth place.

Lap 104 -- In just three laps, Jimmie Johnson has moved out to a 1.4-second lead over second-place Kyle Busch.

Lap 103 -- Paul Menard, last year's winner here at Indy, is now in 10th place.

Lap 102 -- Brad Keselowski dropped from first to seventh on that restart.

Lap 101 -- GREEN FLAG: On the restart, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Regan Smith, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon. Smith initially takes the lead, but then Johnson goes to the front in a big scramble.

Lap 100 -- Sixty laps to go.

Lap 95 -- The leaders are on pit road. Regan Smith takes fuel only, and Brad Keselowski stays on the track.

Lap 93 -- YELLOW FLAG: Casey Mears brings out the third caution when he pops the wall.

Lap 92 -- Brad Keselowski's pit stop moves Jimmie Johnson into the lead. He's 6/10ths of a second in front of second-place Jeff Gordon.

Lap 91 -- Working a different strategy most of the day, Brad Keselowski drops out of the lead to pit much earlier than his rivals.

Lap 88 -- Fourth-place Greg Biffle is 7.1 seconds back.

Lap 87 -- Jeff Gordon is still staring at the back of Jimmie Johnson's car, trying to gain on second place.

Lap 86 -- Jimmie Johnson's move to the front has stalled out for right now.

Lap 85 -- There's about half a second, maybe a few car lengths, between Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 84 -- Jimmie Johnson is still moving in on Brad Keselowski, and Jeff Gordon isn't all that far behind Johnson.

Lap 83 -- Brad Keselowski is about to have company!

Lap 82 -- Jimmie Johnson is closing hard on Brad Keselowski for the point.

Lap 81 -- After leading earlier and getting out of shape on a restart, Denny Hamlin is now in 12th place, 21.3 seconds behind leader Brad Keselowski.

Lap 80 -- Crossed flags! Eighty laps down, 80 to go. The top five are Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch.

Lap 78 -- Brad Keselowski leads Jimmie Johnson by 1.2 seconds.

Lap 77 -- After the round of green-flag stops, the top five are Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Casey Mears.

Lap 76 -- Bobby Labonte was shown as the leader, but he's now on pit road.

Lap 75 -- Aric Almirola drops out of first place to pit.

Lap 74 -- Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth are on pit road.

Lap 73 -- Jimmie Johnson gives up the lead to come in for service. Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Ryan Newman and others are pitting.

Lap 72 -- Kyle Busch drops onto pit road.

Lap 71 -- Jeff Gordon has closed to within 1.5 seconds of leader Jimmie Johnson. Sam Hornish Jr. is on pit road.

Lap 70 -- Kurt Busch will have to come back in for a missing lug nut. Jamie McMurray is pitting.

Lap 69 -- Kurt Busch has pitted.

Lap 67 -- Jeff Gordon clips a few tenths of a second off Jimmie Johnson's lead.

Lap 66 -- The top five are currently Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 65 -- Move Jeff Gordon up to second. He's 2.5 seconds behind Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 64 -- Regan Smith is in ninth place.

Lap 62 -- Jimmie Johnson reports that his car is little bit looser than it had been, but it isn't hurting its performance. His lead is now up to 2.1 seconds over Greg Biffle.

Lap 61 -- Brad Keselowski is on pit road.

Lap 60 -- There are 100 laps remaining.

Lap 59 -- Jeff Gordon dives under Dale Earnhardt Jr. for fourth place.

Lap 58 -- Brad Keselowski has moved back around Greg Biffle for second place.

Lap 56 -- Jimmie Johnson has evidently lit the after burners.

Lap 55 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in fourth place, less than a quarter of a straightaway behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 54 -- Jimmie Johnson's lead over Greg Biffle is now about 7/10ths of a second.

Lap 53 -- Kevin Harvick gives Sam Hornish Jr. a slight nudge entering Turn 2, and it's just enough to open up room to make the pass.

Lap 52 -- GREEN FLAG: Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano are the top five on the restart. Johnson is clear for the lead in Turn 1, and Biffle grabs second from Keselowski in the next corner.

Lap 48 -- Clint Bowyer hits pit road.

Lap 47 -- YELLOW FLAG: Clint Bowyer's spin in Turn 2 brings out the race's second caution. Denny Hamlin had dropped all the way to 14th place before the interruption.

Lap 46 -- GREEN FLAG: The leaders on the restart are Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle and Joey Logano. Keselowski did not pit under the caution. Hamlin gets way high entering Turn 1, while Johnson takes the lead.

Lap 44 -- One to go at the stripe. The field is entering Turn 3 now.

Lap 43 -- Jimmie Johnson leads the field down pit road.

Lap 41 -- YELLOW FLAG: The race's first caution is out for Landon Cassill's mishap in Turn 2.

Lap 40 -- Jimmie Johnson has three wins here at Indy, in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Lap 38 -- Jimmie Johnson's cushion up front continues to grow.

Lap 37 -- Kyle Busch is maybe two car lengths behind his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin in the chase for second place.

Lap 36 -- Kyle Busch has caught Denny Hamlin for second place. Now all Busch has to do is pass Hamlin!

Lap 35 -- Jimmie Johnson has picked up another few car lengths on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 34 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now in 10th place, 28 seconds behind leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 31 -- After dominating the first portion of the race, Denny Hamlin now trails Jimmie Johnson by 1.5 seconds.

Lap 30 -- After the cycle of green-flag pit stops, the top five are Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle.

Lap 29 -- Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Sam Hornish Jr. are on pit road.

Lap 28 -- Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Trevor Bayne, Matt Kenseth, Marcos Ambrose, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth are pitting.

Lap 27 -- Mark Martin and Greg Biffle pit, while Jimmie Johnson continues to move in on leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 26 -- Joey Logano is in his pit stall.

Lap 25 -- Kevin Harvick is not happy with the handling on his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, and he hasn't been for most of the weekend. Brad Keselowski is pitting.

Lap 24 -- There's a small piece of paper covering part of the grille opening on Jimmie Johnson's car, but it doesn't appear to be slowing him down any.

Lap 23 -- Jimmie Johnson is still closing on leader Denny Hamlin. There's less than half a second between them now.

Lap 22 -- Carl Edwards thinks the headers might be broken on his car. The team will try to stay on the track as long as possible.

Lap 21 -- Regan Smith, in the Aurora tribute car, is now in 10th place.

Lap 20 -- The gap between leader Denny Hamlin and second-place Jimmie Johnson is now down to less than a second.

Lap 19 -- Jimmie Johnson has gained a few tenths of a second on leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 17 -- Aric Almirola is in ninth place, driving the Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. Seeing his No. 43 car in green will take some getting used to!

Lap 16 -- Carl Edwards is back on the track, currently shown in 41st place, two laps down. Jamie McMurray short pits.

Lap 15 -- With Carl Edwards' problems, the top five is now Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon.

Lap 14 -- Carl Edwards is on pit road. The crew goes under the hood.

Lap 13 -- Carl Edwards is well off the pace. He'll be pitting the next time around.

Lap 11 -- The top-10 drivers are separated on the track by 12.2 seconds.

Lap 10 -- Denny Hamlin leads Jimmie Johnson by 1.5 seconds.

Lap 9 -- Kyle Busch has picked up another spot, going past Carl Edwards for third place.

Lap 8 -- After winning at Eldora Saturday night, Tony Stewart is running 22nd here at Indy.

Lap 7 -- Kyle Busch powers his way past Greg Biffle for fourth place.

Lap 6 -- Mike Bliss has no power in Turn 3, but he should be able to make it back around.

Lap 5 -- Denny Hamlin has already worked up a one-second lead over second-place Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 4 -- Carl Edwards was working Jimmie Johnson over for second place, but he's settled back in line for now.

Lap 3 -- Class move by Front Row Motorsports to honor the victims of the Aurora, Colo. theater shootings on Regan Smith's car.

Lap 2 -- There might have been some debris on the grille of Jeff Gordon's car, but if it was there, it's gone now.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The race gets under way at 1:25 p.m. ET. Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards remain side by side for most of the lap, until Hamlin clears for the lead in Turn 4.

1:21 p.m. ET -- One lap to go until the green at the stripe. The field is between Turns 3 and 4 now.

1:17 p.m. ET -- The field begins to roll from their positions on the frontstretch for the start of what should be three pace laps.

1:14 p.m. ET -- Race director David Hoots asks if the drivers are ready to participate.

1:12 p.m. ET -- Mari Hulman George gives the command to fire engines.

1:06 p.m. ET -- Two Osprey aircraft do the fly-over from Turn 4 to Turn 1.

1:04 p.m. ET -- Raul Malo, lead singer of The Mavericks, sings "The Star-Spangled Banner."

1:03 p.m. ET -- After the Joint Services Color Guard presents the colors, Rev. Howard Brammer delivers the invocation.

1 p.m. ET -- Kudos to the first person who can get Ron Howard to say, "Poor Horatio!"

12:58 p.m. ET -- Ron Howard will be behind the wheel of a pace car during the pace laps. Opie!

12:56 p.m. ET -- Sunny Sweeney is singing "America the Beautiful."

12:50 p.m. ET -- Hey! Reggie Jackson is in the house today.

12:30 p.m. ET -- Driver introductions have started at Indy.

12:20 p.m. ET -- There's a parade of vintage NASCAR race cars taking place at Indy right now. That's cool!

12:11 p.m. ET -- Mike Helton addressed the issue of jumping restarts during the drivers meeting Sunday morning, a subject that bit Elliott Sadler hard during Saturday's Nationwide Series event. The gist of his message? Don't do it!

6:50 a.m. ET -- It was a Joe Gibbs Racing kind of day in qualifying, as its drivers took three of the first seven spots on the starting grid. Denny Hamlin will start from the pole, followed by Joey Logano in third and Kyle Busch in seventh.

Overall, the top five consisted of Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Logano, Aric Almirola and Greg Biffle, while Jimmie Johnson, Busch, Paul Menard, Jeff Gordon and Mat Kenseth rounded out the top 10.

Reed Sorenson, Joe Nemechek and Michael McDowell failed to qualify for the event.