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Mike Harris, Senior Writer

Mike Harris has covered sports with a heavy concentration on motor sports for 43 years, including the past 40 with The Associated Press. After growing up in Madison, Wis., Harris graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Jan. 1967 and began his full-time journalism career later that year with The Rockford (Ill.) Morning Star and Register-Republic. After 18 months covering a variety of news and sports for the Rockford paper, Harris took a job as a newsman with AP in Chicago. After a brief apprenticeship on the news desk in Chicago, Harris spent five years as Indiana Sports Editor, five years as a sports writer in the Cleveland bureau and became the AP’s Motorsports Writer in January, 1980. Over the next 30 years, he covered every aspect of motorsports, as well as reporting from the LA and Seoul Olympics and the 1980 Super Bowl. Last May’s Indianapolis 500 was the 40th of his career. Along the way, Harris twice won the Frank Blunk Award, as well as the Henry McLemore Award and the Ray Marquette Award, among others. His coverage of the death of Dale Earnhardt in 2001 was honored as AP’s Story of the Year. After retiring from AP in July 2009, Harris decided to continue his career writing for RacinToday.com. He lives in Wake Forest, N.C., with Judy, his wife of 41 years. They have two grown children, Tory Harris and Lanni Isenberg.

Articles by Mike Harris

Harris: Indy 500 Adapts To Times
Sunday, Jan 3, 2010 – 8:42 | 3 Comments
Harris: Indy 500 Adapts To Times

Tradition can be a wonderful thing. But not always.
It has taken officials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a long time to figure out that less can be more.
True, for many of the 93 years that the Indianapolis 500 has been run, the month-long schedule every year in May was the right way to go – a celebration [...]

Harris: Drivers Not Athletes? Guess Again
Wednesday, Dec 23, 2009 – 10:37 | 3 Comments
Harris: Drivers Not Athletes? Guess Again

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
When Jimmie Johnson was named AP’s Male Athlete of the Year for 2009 earlier this week, I felt a real shot of pride.
Finally, after all these years, the sport that I chose to follow got some serious attention as an athletic endeavor.
Then, listening to a local sports talk show, I [...]

Harris: Let’s Give The Woman A Chance
Tuesday, Dec 22, 2009 – 7:23 | 7 Comments
Harris: Let’s Give The Woman A Chance

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
I could be wrong, but:
I think Danica Patrick will be a success in NASCAR – though it may take a few years.
I have to laugh over the fuss created by Patrick’s decision to give stock cars a try.
The naysayers have come out in force. Why?
I guess they don’t like the [...]

A Few Words With: Ralph Gilles
Sunday, Dec 20, 2009 – 8:24 | 3 Comments
A Few Words With: Ralph Gilles

Ralph Gilles, the new president and CEO of Chrysler and the company’s former head designer, sat down recently with a small group of media members, including RacinToday.com senior writer Mike Harris, to discuss his background, his new job and Chrysler’s future in racing:
Question: You have an interesting background in grassroots racing and product testing. Could [...]

Harris: Success Is In The Details
Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009 – 7:51 | One Comment
Harris: Success Is In The Details

One big reason for the long-term success of Hendrick Motorsports is the attention that team owner Rick Hendrick pays to detail.
He’s got more than 500 people working for his elite team, and many of them are among the best at what they do. That’s how his team has matched Petty Enterprises with nine championships in [...]

Racing Moves Indoors For PRI Show
Wednesday, Dec 9, 2009 – 8:17 | 2 Comments
Racing Moves Indoors For PRI Show

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
Most everyone who watches and cares about racing thinks of December as the quietest month of the year for the sport.
After all, the seasons are over, the awards have all been handed out by the early part of the month, very little, if any, testing is allowed and the holidays [...]

Harris: Vegas Is A Long Way From Manhattan
Saturday, Dec 5, 2009 – 14:18 | One Comment
Harris: Vegas Is A Long Way From Manhattan

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
Las Vegas – The first NASCAR Championship Week and awards banquet in the gambling capital of the world were nothing like the inaugural events in New York City in 1981.
For one thing, stock car’s stars are no longer a bunch of good ol’ boys, hicks from the Southeast, who walked [...]

Harris: Cup Banquet Won’t Get Snowed Out
Friday, Dec 4, 2009 – 4:08 | Comments Off
Harris: Cup Banquet Won’t Get Snowed Out

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
Las Vegas – A few observations and random notes from the NASCAR festivities in Sin City.
After 27 years in New York City, champion’s week and its focal point, the Sprint Cup awards dinner, are being held amid the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.
So far, the biggest difference has been [...]

Harris: Do Numbers Tell The Whole Story?
Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009 – 9:07 | One Comment
Harris: Do Numbers Tell The Whole Story?

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
By this time, everyone who follows NASCAR knows that the statistics for Jimmie Johnson’s first eight seasons in the Sprint Cup series are pretty darn impressive, topped by those four straight championships.
But is it the best first eight years for a NASCAR driver? Let’s take a look at some stats [...]

Harris: Thanks For The Memories
Thursday, Nov 26, 2009 – 8:15 | One Comment
Harris: Thanks For The Memories

It’s Thanksgiving and time to think about why we should be thankful having a sport like motor racing to enjoy.
Let’s reflect a bit on the past, the present and the future as 2009 nears its final laps.
We saw some veteran racers find renewed life this season:
* Fifty-year-old Mark Martin  joined Hendrick Motorsports after two years [...]