CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick earned an automatic berth into the third round of NASCAR's Chase for the Championship by winning Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Harvick had the strongest car for most of the race — as he seemingly does almost every week, only to have some sort of problem keep him out of Victory Lane.
It almost happened again Saturday as a caution with seven laps to go forced Harvick to win it in a two-lap sprint to the finish.
The win was his first since Darlington in April and came on a night Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered a serious blow to his championship hopes.
The shifter broke in the Chevrolet of NASCAR's most popular driver and Earnhardt is now last in the 12-driver Chase standings heading into next Sunday's elimination race at Talladega.
Patrick opens up about tricky racing relationship
Danica Patrick admits there are some occupational hazards to dating a fellow NASCAR driver.
In a column for Derek Jeter's new sports website, The Players' Tribune, Patrick wrote that racing against boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse can create "Montagues and the Capulets" moments — a reference to the feuding families of the star-crossed lovers in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
"If it's crazy to want to go to sleep next to the person who ran your car off the road going 200 miles per hour earlier that day, then I'm certifiable," she wrote.
Patrick and Stenhouse went public with their relationship in 2013 and have had only a handful of scrapes on the track. After their most recent, at Chicago, she used profanity to discuss it with him after the race. Then they moved on. "He's also extremely cuddly, which really helps his cause, because sometimes I'm not very happy with him," she wrote.
Jeter launched his website at the beginning of the month after he retired from the Yankees. The site is devoted to delivering athletes' "unfiltered" views to the fans.
Patrick used her debut on the site to touch on a variety of topics, including her struggles in NASCAR and the question of children, "a decision for us to consider in our future."
Recently, Patrick had a sixth-place finish at Atlanta, her best in Sprint Cup, whereas Stenhouse finished 20th. She said it made for several quiet moments on the plane: "Ricky had a bad race. I had my best-ever finish. I was very happy. He was very bummed. But after about 10 minutes, we did what all drivers do in awkward moments of silence. We talked about how our cars were running. Pretty soon, everything in our relationship was back to normal. Well, our normal anyway."
Toyota reveals its remodeled Camry
Toyota unveiled a remodeled Camry it will race next season, and the street version was the designated pace car for Saturday's race. Toyota is the first manufacturer to move to an updated version of its race car. It closely resembles the 2015 Camry consumers can purchase. Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota in 2013 all unveiled race cars that resembled the showroom vehicles. The boldest change to the NASCAR version of the 2015 Camry is an aggressive front end and grille area, which looks exactly like its production counterpart. The new Camry also boasts an all new, sleek hood and nose, along with a new tail of the car.