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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: What Mood Would The ‘Big E’ Be In Today?
Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011 – 7:30 | One Comment
Harris: What Mood Would The ‘Big E’ Be In Today?

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
A lot of people are reflecting this week on the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death  and what the tragic last-lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500 has meant to the stock car sport.
As I pondered that question this week,  I also found myself wondering what The Intimidator might think [...]

Harris: In Age Of HANS, Some Are Asking ‘What if?’
Wednesday, Feb 2, 2011 – 11:24 | Comments Off
Harris: In Age Of HANS, Some Are Asking ‘What if?’

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
Dale Earnhardt’s tragic death has been the catalyst for an era of safety improvements unmatched in the history of not just NASCAR, but auto racing in general.
From SAFER Barriers cushioning racetrack walls to improved crush panels on cars to helmets that reduce concussions, it’s all working to make an unsafe [...]

NASCAR Rolls Out Its New Point-Paying System
Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011 – 19:14 | One Comment
NASCAR Rolls Out Its New Point-Paying System

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
Charlotte, N.C. – NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced a series of rule changes Wednesday aimed at simplifying the points system, giving drivers more incentive to race for wins and adding entertainment value to each of the stock car organization’s three traveling professional series.
“Everyone is looking to make sure [...]

Bruton Smith Says Cash Will Solve NASCAR’s Problems
Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011 – 17:57 | Comments Off
Bruton Smith Says Cash Will Solve NASCAR’s Problems

Charlotte, N.C. – While NASCAR is ready to divulge its reworked points system for the Sprint Cup series, track owner Bruton Smith says money is far more important than points.

Smith, whose SMI owns tracks that will host 12 Sprint Cup races in 2011, said NASCAR needs to increase the winner’s purse to add some needed [...]

‘Sudden Sam’ Is Slammed Into Reverse
Tuesday, Jan 25, 2011 – 17:46 | Comments Off
‘Sudden Sam’ Is Slammed Into Reverse

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
Charlotte, N.C. – Sam Hornish Jr. has won an Indianapolis 500 and three IndyCar championships. But the what-have-you-done-lately world of auto racing has placed Hornish in a miserable limbo just weeks from the start of the 2011 season.
After three difficult and frustrating years of trying to master the bigger, heavier [...]

Ganassi Has Tough Act To Follow
Monday, Jan 24, 2011 – 17:32 | Comments Off
Ganassi Has Tough Act To Follow

Charlotte, N.C. – As bright and shining as the possibilities are for the 2011 racing season, Chip Ganassi  grows a little wistful when he thinks about 2010.
“I’ve got to be honest with you, I didn’t want the year to end,’’ Ganassi  said Monday during the first event of the 29th annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted [...]

Harris: Cup History Has Vanished in Puff Of Smoke
Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011 – 8:26 | 3 Comments
Harris: Cup History Has Vanished in Puff Of Smoke

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
The announcement that Richmond International Raceway will ban smoking from its grandstands and portals areas, beginning in the upcoming race season, brought back a lot of smoky memories.
When my career in racing began, R.J. Reynolds’ Winston brand was the dominating sponsor in NASCAR.
RJR influenced everything about stock car racing in [...]

Harris: Wishin’ And Hopin’ 2011 Style
Monday, Jan 3, 2011 – 13:35 | One Comment
Harris: Wishin’ And Hopin’ 2011 Style

Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
It seems like 2010, with all its action and drama, just flew by. Now it’s the start of 2011 andtime to start thinking about the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
Here’s what I think a NASCAR  wish list for the new year would look like:
– Dale Earnhardt Jr. would like a competitive [...]

Harris: 2010 Was A Year Of Hype And Have At It
Wednesday, Dec 29, 2010 – 8:04 | One Comment
Harris: 2010 Was A Year Of Hype And Have At It

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
In a wide-ranging telephone conversation this week, my son suddenly said, “I have an idea for a column you could write.’’
Now this isn’t something I’ve heard often from anyone in my family. Usually, even if they read what I’ve written – which is not a given – the most I [...]

Harris: The Lessons Got Harder For Danica in 2010
Thursday, Dec 23, 2010 – 9:53 | 3 Comments
Harris: The Lessons Got Harder For Danica in 2010

A little of the gloss is off the rose known as Danica Patrick after a difficult and disappointing season.
Not only did the IndyCar glamour girl slip from fifth to 10th in the open-wheel points – her worst finish since finishing 12th as a rookie in 2005 – but Patrick’s first foray into stock car racing [...]