Harvick wins Richmond, now tops Chase standings

By JENNA FRYER | September 10, 2011 | 11:25 PM EDT

Kurt Busch (22) leaves a plume of smoke as Denny Hamlin (11) passes by during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., Saturday Sept. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Clem Britt)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Kevin Harvick snapped out of his slump in time to storm into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Harvick picked up his fourth win of the season Saturday night by winning at Richmond International Raceway. The victory ties Kyle Busch for most in the Sprint Cup Series, and puts the two rivals at the top of the Chase standings.

The 10-race Chase begins next Sunday at Chicago. The field will include Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will race for the championship for the first time since 2008.

But Earnhardt making the 12-driver field was no gimmee: He struggled most of Saturday night and limped into the Chase with a 16th-place finish.