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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

Junior Fans Enter Off Week With Fingers Crossed
Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 – 8:08 | 5 Comments
Junior Fans Enter Off Week With Fingers Crossed

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
After years of failed expectations and disappointment, it looks like Dale Earnhardt Jr. may have found the catalyst he has been looking for in Steve Letarte.
The latest crew chief for NASCAR’s favorite struggling driver has seemingly given Earnhardt something he has lacked for at least three seasons – confidence.
For those […]

Gordon Makes A Return To His Checkered Past
Tuesday, Mar 1, 2011 – 8:08 | Comments Off on Gordon Makes A Return To His Checkered Past
Gordon Makes A Return To His Checkered Past

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
For a guy who used to collect race wins by the bunch, it probably was beginning to feel like this day would never come.
Jeff Gordon, the perennial contender, went 66 NASCAR Sprint Cup races without taking the checkeredflag at the front of the pack. He came close a number of […]

Edwards On Point In Points As Cup Heads To PIR
Friday, Feb 25, 2011 – 7:36 | One Comment
Edwards On Point In Points As Cup Heads To PIR

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
It’s time to get back to real racing and reality.
Last week’s fairy tale of a race story, with 20-year-old wunderkind Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500, is history and the only two-by-two tangos this Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway are likely to be chance meetings – i.e.: crashes.
Bayne will drive […]

Harris: Bayne’s Victory Sits At ‘Top Of The Stack’
Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 – 22:35 | 3 Comments
Harris: Bayne’s Victory Sits At ‘Top Of The Stack’

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
When the once-dominating Wood Brothers team fell on hard times, Leonard Wood, one of the founding siblings of the NASCAR pioneer team refused to hang his head, place the blame or look for a
place to hide.
“You know, we’ve been on top and we’ve had our bad times, too,’’ Leonard said. […]

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 on Harris: In Age Of HANS, Some Are Asking ‘What if?’
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 on Bruton Smith Says Cash Will Solve NASCAR’s Problems
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 on ‘Sudden Sam’ Is Slammed Into Reverse
‘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 on Ganassi Has Tough Act To Follow
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 […]