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Lap-by-Lap: Richmond

September 09, 2012, ,

Lap 400 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Clint Bowyer manages to stretch his fuel mileage enough to score the victory. Jeff Gordon finishes second to clinch a wild card spot in The Chase.

Lap 393 -- Jeff Gordon plows his way past Mark Martin for second place. He might be able to catch Clint Bowyer, fuel or no fuel strategy.

Lap 392 -- Denny Hamlin is pitting. Will Clint Bowyer be able to make it?

Lap 390 -- Ten laps to go. Clint Bowyer is very visibly trying to save fuel. He's lost about five seconds off his lead in the last few laps.

Lap 388 -- Jeff Gordon jumps under Denny Hamlin for third.

Lap 387 -- Mark Martin gets by Denny Hamlin for second place.

Lap 386 -- Clint Bowyer's advantage over Denny Hamlin is 10.8 seconds.

Lap 383 -- Jeff Gordon is moving. He blasts past Matt Kenseth for fourth place.

Lap 382 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is making his pit stop.

Lap 379 -- Jeff Gordon takes fifth place from Brad Keselowski.

Lap 377 -- Clint Bowyer lets a couple of lapped cars pass uncontested on the frontstretch.

Lap 373 -- Clint Bowyer leads Denny Hamlin by 9.1 seconds.

Lap 370 -- Thirty laps to go.

Lap 368 -- There are just five cars on the lead lap. They are Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Mark Martin.

Lap 366 -- Greg Biffle is on pit road.

Lap 362 -- Tony Stewart gives up second place to drop into his pit stall. That moves Denny Hamlin up to the runnerup position.

Lap 361 -- Ryan Newman is stopping.

Lap 358 -- Jeff Gordon and Regan Smith are making their stops.

Lap 357 -- Denny Hamlin may be trying to work out a fuel strategy as well.

Lap 355 -- Kevin Harvick is pitting.

Lap 354 -- Clint Bowyer leads Tony Stewart by 1.8 seconds.

Lap 352 -- Clint Bowyer is still looking at going the rest of the way without stopping.

Lap 350 -- Fifty laps to go.

Lap 348 -- Mark Martin and Carl Edwards are on pit road.

Lap 346 -- Third place now belongs to Denny Hamlin, and he might not be finished moving forward.

Lap 345 -- Denny Hamlin is challenging Mark Martin for third place.

Lap 343 -- After a hard charge up through the field, the handling on Jeff Gordon's car is going away.

Lap 340 -- Denny Hamlin is up to fourth place, having just passed Jeff Gordon for the position.

Lap 337 -- Brad Keselowski stops.

Lap 336 -- Sam Hornish Jr. makes his stop.

Lap 335 -- Kyle Busch is on pit road. A lug nut is left off the right rear tire.

Lap 332 -- Clint Bowyer leads Tony Stewart by about a second. Kyle Busch is asked what he needs on his pit stop, and he responds, "I don't **** care."

Lap 329 -- Mark Martin is in third place, Jeff Gordon fourth.

Lap 325 -- Jimmie Johnson is on pit road. Tony Stewart takes second place from Ryan Newman.

Lap 324 -- Kasey Kahne is pitting. Kyle Busch was just lapped.

Lap 322 -- Clint Bowyer laps Jimmie Johnson ... you read that right. Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 319 -- Jeff Gordon has caught Mark Martin, and should be making a move for fourth place at any moment.

Lap 312 -- Clint Bowyer goes to the lead coming off Turn 2.

Lap 311 -- Clint Bowyer is working Ryan Newman over hard for the race lead.

Lap 308 -- Clint Bowyer wrests second place from Tony Stewart.

Lap 307 -- Throw a blanket over the front three.

Lap 303 -- Denny Hamlin is up to 12th place.

Lap 301 -- Clint Bowyer is in third, not too far behind second-place Tony Stewart.

Lap 300 -- One hundred laps to go. Ryan Newman takes the lead from Tony Stewart going into Turn 1.

Lap 297 -- Jeff Gordon, off the pace for most of the night, is in 10th place.

Lap 294 -- Tony Stewart leads Ryan Newman by about half a second.

Lap 291 -- The top five are Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer.

Lap 288 -- After the late stop, Denny Hamlin is back in 16th place. Kyle Busch didn't stop, and he's right behind Hamlin in 17th.

Lap 285 -- Tony Stewart goes three wide under Matt Kenseth and another for the lead going into Turn 1.

Lap 283 -- GREEN FLAG: Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth are the leaders.

Lap 282 - Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are pitting just before the green.

Lap 279 -- The first seven cars in the race rundown stayed on the track.

Lap 278 -- Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and a couple of others are pitting.

Lap 276 -- YELLOW FLAG: The caution is out for rain. This is the fifth stoppage of the night.

Lap 273 -- Rain is reported in Turn 3.

Lap 269 -- The first three cars in the running order have opened up a little bit of room on each other.

Lap 266 -- Fourth-place Kevin Harvick has a mirror full of Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 264 -- The fight for second place has allowed leader Denny Hamlin to open up an advantage of about 1.3 seconds.

Lap 261 -- Jimmie Johnson isn't far behind Kevin Harvick for fourth place.

Lap 256 -- Kasey Kahne takes second from Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 254 -- Kevin Harvick, in fourth place, is about a quarter of a straightaway behind the three-car battle for the lead.

Lap 253 -- Kasey Kahne is catching Martin Truex Jr. for second place.

Lap 249 -- Denny Hamlin goes back to the lead between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 246 -- Denny Hamlin is hounding Martin Truex Jr.'s every move.

Lap 244 -- Kasey Kahne goes around Mark Martin for third place. Kevin Harvick follows Kahne past Martin.

Lap 242 -- Martin Truex Jr. goes under Denny Hamlin for the lead between Turns 1 and 2.

Lap 240 -- GREEN FLAG: Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin are the leaders on the restart. Truex thinks very hard about going three wide for the lead in Turn 1, but backs out of it. Hamlin is clear for the lead.

Lap 238 -- Jeff Gordon, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Kurt Busch and Marcos Ambrose are pitting.

Lap 237 -- Kyle Busch is back on pit road. Ryan Newman will have to serve a penalty for an uncontrolled tire during its green-flag stop.

Lap 236 -- The top five after the cycle of green-flag stops is Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin.

Lap 235 -- YELLOW FLAG: Clint Bowyer spins on the frontstretch.

Lap 233 -- Denny Hamlin makes his stop. Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart are also in.

Lap 232 -- Matt Kenseth, Regan Smith, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and others are on pit road.

Lap 231 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle and others are pitting.

Lap 229 -- Denny Hamlin's lead over Kasey Kahne now stands at 1.2 seconds.

Lap 227 -- Marcos Ambrose is pitting.

Lap 224 -- Carl Edwards is reporting oil on the frontstretch ... he was the first car one lap down. Mark Martin makes his pit stop.

Lap 222 -- Kasey Kahne's disadvantage is now down to 1.8 seconds.

Lap 217 -- Kasey Kahne has picked up a few car lengths on leader Denny Hamlin, but he's still not close enough to make a move for the top spot.

Lap 214 -- Denny Hamlin says that his car has better forward bite than earlier in the race. That doesn't sound very good for the rest of the field!

Lap 211 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. has moved back up to sixth place.

Lap 208 -- Move Kasey Kahne into second place. He's 2.3 seconds behind leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 205 -- Kasey Kahne is catching Clint Bowyer for second place.

Lap 203 -- Denny Hamlin leads Clint Bowyer by 1.5 seconds.

Lap 200 -- Crossed flags! The race has reached the halfway mark, at which point it becomes official.

Lap 198 -- The top five is Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson.

Lap 196 -- Denny Hamlin puts another lap on Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano.

Lap 191 -- Denny Hamlin just sliced through lapped traffic like a warm knife through butter ... or is it just a knife through warm butter? No matter. Hamlin is super fast!

Lap 188 -- Jeff Gordon is not having the greatest of nights. He's in 20th place and still not happy with the handling of his car.

Lap 185 -- Race leader Denny Hamlin has two Sprint Cup victories here at Richmond to his credit. They came in 2009 and 2010.

Lap 180 -- Tony Stewart is up to eighth place.

Lap 179 -- The front-two drivers have put more than a second on Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 176 -- Kasey Kahne dives under Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson for fourth place between Turns 1 and 2.

Lap 174 -- Jimmie Johnson gives up third place to Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 172 -- Denny Hamlin leads Clint Bowyer by 8/10ths of a second.

Lap 170 -- The laps since the restart have not been kind to Dale Earnhardt Jr. He's all the way back to seventh.

Lap 167 -- Clint Bowyer gets second place from Jimmie Johnson on the front straightaway.

Lap 164 -- Matt Kenseth has to jam on his brakes going into Turn 3 to keep from plowing into Mark Martin, and he's flat spotted his tires as a result.

Lap 163 -- Clint Bowyer roars past Dale Earnhardt Jr. for third place on the frontstretch.

Lap 161 -- Jimmie Johnson is under Dale Earnhardt Jr. for second place.

Lap 159 -- Denny Hamlin gets the lead back from Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 155 -- GREEN FLAG: Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne are the leaders. Earnhardt clears for the lead heading into Turn 3.

11:36 p.m. ET -- Although rain is still very lightly peppering parts of the race track, race director David Hoots calls for the cars to be re-fired.

11:25 p.m. ET -- Drivers are being called back to their cars.

11:20 p.m. ET -- Pace-car driver Brett Bodine has been making laps as track drying continues, and he's pleased with the progress. Race-director David Hoots says that the radar is clear.

Lap 152 -- RED FLAG: Awwwwww, man. The cars are stopped on pit road near the entrance to Turn 1. It's 10:46 p.m. ET.

Lap 149 -- Doggone it! The restart was called off due to rain picking back up.

Lap 148 -- One to go at the stripe.

Lap 146 -- Brett Bodine says the track is good except for Turn 2.

Lap 142 -- David Hoots asks if the pace laps are staying ahead of the rain wetting the track, and Brett Bodine responds, "Barely."

Lap 141 -- Ryan Newman gives up the top spot to make his pit stop.

Lap 140 -- The leaders are on pit road. Ryan Newman stayed on the track to lead a lap.

Lap 138 -- YELLOW FLAG: The caution is out for rain. It's the third yellow flag of the race.

Lap 136 -- NASCAR continues its poll of inspectors around the track. So good, so far.

Lap 133 -- Pace-car driver Brett Bodine is reporting rain drops.

Lap 131 -- Kasey Kahne takes fifth place from Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 129 -- Jeff Gordon goes down a lap to leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 127 -- Tony Stewart just drove right past Mark Martin to move into the top 10.

Lap 126 -- After starting in 28th place, Tony Stewart has been able to race his way up to 11th place.

Lap 123 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is about 8/10ths of a second behind race leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 120 -- Third-place Clint Bowyer trails leader Denny Hamlin by three seconds.

Lap 118 -- Denny Hamlin is working through some traffic. He just lapped both Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano.

Lap 114 -- The top five are Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 112 -- Denny Hamlin now leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. by about a second.

Lap 110 -- Jeff Gordon is now reporting brake and handling issues.

Lap 107 -- Crew chief Chad Knaus tells Jimmie Johnson that weather is all around the track, adding, "It should be raining right now."

Lap 105 -- Kasey Kahne's communications with his team is reportedly very spotty. He's currently in ninth place.

Lap 100 -- Forget the weather that might or might not be coming. There are 300 laps remaining in the race!

Lap 98 -- Clint Bowyer is about 1.5 seconds behind second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lap 94 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. sees Denny Hamlin go zipping past for the race lead between Turns 3 and 4.

Lap 93 -- Denny Hamlin is right back on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s rear bumper.

Lap 91 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. may be the leader, but he's not been able to shake second-place Denny Hamlin.

Lap 88 -- Kyle Busch is eighth on the leaderboard.

Lap 85 -- Dale Earnhardt dives under Denny Hamlin for the lead in Turn 4.

Lap 83 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is peddling hard ... Juuuuuuun-yer!

Lap 81 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is closing back in on Denny Hamlin.

Lap 77 -- The top-five drivers are separated by 3.8 seconds. On the track, that's about a full straightaway.

Lap 73 -- Denny Hamlin leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. by nearly 8/10ths of a second.

Lap 70 -- Jeff Gordon is currently shown in 18th place.

Lap 66 -- Jeff Gordon is reporting that his oil temperature has shot up to 300 degrees.

Lap 64 -- Running in 11th place, Carl Edwards has been told that more rain appears to be about an hour away from the track. Hustle, boy. Hustle!

Lap 60 -- Jimmie Johnson blows by Martin Truex Jr. for fourth place.

Lap 59 -- Denny Hamlin hustles past Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the lead.

Lap 58 -- Denny Hamlin was able to drop back into second place, with Clint Bowyer right behind him in third.

Lap 56 -- GREEN FLAG: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are the leaders on the restart. Earnhardt is clear in Turn 1.

Lap 51 -- YELLOW FLAG: David Ragan spins on the frontstretch. This is the second caution of the night.

Lap 50 -- GREEN FLAG: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson are the leaders on the restart. Earnhardt blasts clears with the lead in Turn 1.

Lap 48 -- The leaders are pitting.

Lap 46 -- YELLOW FLAG: This is the competition caution that was planned by NASCAR.

Lap 42 -- Clint Bowyer is losing contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Lap 39 -- Denny Hamlin has not been able to make up much more ground on leader Denny Hamlin.

Lap 34 -- Fourth-place Martin Truex Jr. and fifth-place Jimmie Johnson are catching the front three.

Lap 31 -- Denny Hamlin is stalking Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the race lead.

Lap 28 -- Denny Hamlin grabs second place from Clint Bowyer.

Lap 26 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is hanging on to the top spot, but he's got Clint Bowyer right on his rear bumper.

Lap 23 -- The front trio is tightening up.

Lap 20 -- Jimmie Johnson takes fifth place from Jeff Gordon, who has an extremely loose race car.

Lap 17 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon have broken away from fourth-place Martin Truex Jr. by several car lengths.

Lap 14 -- Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman have made contact, causing Newman to have to make a heck of a save.

Lap 12 -- Denny Hamlin drops Jeff Gordon back another position. Hamlin goes to third, Gordon to fourth.

Lap 10 -- Clint Bowyer pounces on Jeff Gordon going into the third turn, taking over second place.

Lap 9 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets a run on Jeff Gordon for the lead going into Turn 3.

Lap 7 -- GREEN FLAG: Here we go! Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon remain side by side until Gordon clears for the lead on the backstrech.

Lap 6 -- One to go!

Lap 4 -- The pace car has slowed to the pit road speed of 40 mph.

Lap 2 -- Turn 4 is still wet, reports Brett Bodine. Race director David Hoots calls another five laps until the green flag comes out.

Lap 1 -- YELLOW FLAG: The race starts, officially, at 9:31 p.m.

9:29 p.m. ET -- Cars are being kept single file and moving at a fairly brisk pace to help continue track drying. Pace-car driver Brett Bodine says that Turn 4 is still a concern.

9:25 p.m. ET -- The field is beginning to ease off pit road for the start of the pace laps.

9:23 p.m. ET -- Race director David Hoots tells inspectors to inform teams there's going to be a competition yellow, and that refueling will not be allowed until then.

9:22 p.m. ET -- Roy Kent, the vice president of wholesale distribution for Federated Mogul Corp., gives the command to fire engines.

9:19 p.m. ET -- A brief drizzle delayed the command to fire engines, but it should be taking place any time now.

9:10 p.m. ET -- The 29th Division Band from the Virginia Army National Guard sings the national anthem.

9:09 p.m. ET -- Pastor Joe Ellison of the Virginia Christian Alliance is giving the invocation.

9:08 p.m. ET -- United States Marine Corps Sgt. John Peck and U.S. Olympians lead the Richmond crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

9:06 p.m. ET -- Danny Rodriquez is singing "God Bless America." He's the "Singing Police Officer" who so memorably performed during the 2001 World Series just after the 9/11 attacks.

9:01 p.m. ET -- Five minutes until the start of pre-race ceremonies.

8:38 p.m. ET -- Cars are being onto pit road. It's almost go time!

8:23 p.m. ET -- Latest report is that the race will start at 9:15 p.m. ET.

8:07 p.m. ET -- ABC's pre-race coverage has started.

7:56 p.m. ET -- Jet dryers are on the track!

7:28 p.m. ET -- The rain is still falling at Richmond.

7:22 p.m. ET -- ABC's pre-race coverage will begin after the conclusion of the college football game, which was also delayed by inclement weather.

7:03 p.m. ET -- ABC is showing the conclusion of the USC-Syracuse college football during the rain delay.

7:01 p.m. ET -- We're in a holding pattern due to the weather.

6:38 p.m. ET -- It's raining in Richmond.

6 p.m. ET -- Weather is going to be a concern for most of the evening. Conventional wisdom seems to be that while the race will probably be delayed, it will be run to its completion tonight. Let's hope so!

2:50 p.m. ET -- J.J. Yeley and Mark Green failed to qualify for the event.

2:45 p.m. ET -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the pole for the Federated Auto Parts 400 after turning in a lap of 127.023 mph during qualifying. Jeff Gordon, Regan Smith, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson start second through fifth, while Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski round out the top 10.