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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: Franchitti Has Quietly Become An All-Timer
Tuesday, Dec 7, 2010 – 17:31 | Comments Off
Harris: Franchitti Has Quietly Become An All-Timer

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
It’s time to give Dario Franchitti his due.
Yes, he came up short of establishing a presence in NASCAR a few years ago – mostly because of a lack of sponsorship. But the IZOD IndyCar Series star has been nothing short of sensational in the open-wheel cars for most of the [...]

Small Field Doesn’t Tarnish Top Rookie Award
Friday, Dec 3, 2010 – 8:38 | 3 Comments
Small Field Doesn’t Tarnish Top Rookie Award

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
One of the drivers being honored during Champions Week in Las Vegas isn’t exactly a household name.
In fact, a lot of NASCAR fans might scratch their heads and ask, “Kevin who?’’
The name is Kevin Conway and the 31-year-old driver from Cornelius, N.C., is the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Raybestos Rookie [...]

Five-Time Champ Jimmie Johnson: A Q and A
Friday, Nov 26, 2010 – 8:57 | One Comment
Five-Time Champ Jimmie Johnson: A Q and A

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
What can you say when you’ve said it all?
Jimmie Johnson was faced with that problem this week after wrapping up an unprecedented fifth straight NASCAR Winston Cup championship.
But, somehow, Johnson finds a way to say what he’s said before in a way that sounds new and interesting.
Here’s a sampling of [...]

Harris: Where Does Hamlin Career Go From Here?
Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010 – 11:16 | 3 Comments
Harris: Where Does Hamlin Career Go From Here?

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
The look on Denny Hamlin’s face after Sunday’s race at Homestead told the whole story.
An upbeat season in which Hamlin lived up to his promise to contend for a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion ended on a downbeat note when Jimmie Johnson beat the odds and Hamlin to win an unprecedented [...]

Knaus Has A Different View Of This Season Finale
Friday, Nov 19, 2010 – 7:40 | Comments Off
Knaus Has A Different View Of This Season Finale

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
It’s been five years since crew chief Chad Knaus arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his No. 48 Chevrolet trailing someone else in the points.
Knaus and driver Jimmie Johnson have not only been leading the standings heading into the finale each of the past four years, they have been in relatively [...]

Ryan Newman’s Comeback Is Already Under Way
Thursday, Nov 18, 2010 – 7:28 | One Comment
Ryan Newman’s Comeback Is Already Under Way

Compare lists of 2010 disappointments in Sprint Cup racing and you’ll likely find Ryan Newman right near the top on all of them.
After moving to Tony Stewart’s new team in 2009, both Stewart and Newman made it to the postseason. That was a big surprise for a brand new team, but it also ratcheted up [...]

Harris: The Chase Has/Is Doing Its Job
Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010 – 16:22 | 3 Comments
Harris: The Chase Has/Is Doing Its Job

By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com
Matt Kenseth inevitably gets the blame for making the Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) championship so boring with his solid consistency in 2003 that NASCAR’s overseers decided something new and revolutionary was necessary.
Quiet Matt led virtually the entire season in ‘03, taking any positive energy out of the title race. [...]

Harris: Chase Is A Real Three-ler
Thursday, Nov 11, 2010 – 15:07 | Comments Off
Harris: Chase Is A Real Three-ler

Two races to go and Jimmie Johnson no longer seems invincible in NASCAR’s Chase.
At this time of year, it’s usually the guys trying to catch the four-time defending Sprint Cup champion who are running into problems on the track and in the pits, allowing Johnson and his No. 48 Chevrolet team to go for the [...]

The Captain On Verge Of Victory
Thursday, Nov 4, 2010 – 6:17 | Comments Off
The Captain On Verge Of Victory

There’s an old saying that good things come to he who waits. Well, Roger Penske has waited and waited and waited for a NASCAR championship.
Twenty-seven years The Captain has waited. But, thanks to Brad Keselowski, it appears the wait is over.
Keselowski goes into Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Texas with an insurmountable 485-point lead over [...]

Harris: Farewell To A Peacemaker
Tuesday, Nov 2, 2010 – 6:19 | Comments Off
Harris: Farewell To A Peacemaker

I wasn’t sure if one of my RacinToday.com colleagues would write a column about the late Jim Hunter, one of the most popular and important people in stock car racing.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that each of us has our own view of this man who spent more than [...]