Mike Harmon (born January 24, 1958 in Birmingport, Alabama), is an American race car driver. Currently, he drives and owns the #24 Mike Harmon Racing Chevrolet in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, and the #84 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series. In the past, he drove in the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series, finishing 8th in points in 1997. He has also racked up 300 feature wins in short-track competition during his racing career.
NASCAR career Edit
Harmon made his NASCAR debut in 1996 driving the #24 MedPartners Chevrolet at South Boston Speedway, where he finished 31st after a transmission failure. He ran seven more races in the car that season, with a best finish of 23rd, but a sponsorship struggle caused his team to close down. He was scheduled to return to NASCAR in 1999, when he signed with Donlavey Racing to compete for NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors with Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce sponsoring. Unfortunately, Big Daddy's never paid, and Harmon was reportedly fired from the team during preparation for that year's Daytona 500 when he refused to let another driver try to get more speed out of the car.
In 2001, Harmon returned to the Busch Series, driving fourteen races for Mixon Motorsports in the #44 Pontiac Grand Prix. Driving mostly with sponsorship from Pegasus and Reliance Tool, his best finish was a 28th at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the only race he finished that year. He made an additional start for Moy Racing at Talladega Superspeedway, finishing 35th, and competed in two Craftsman Truck races for MB Motorsports and Troxell Racing, respectively. He made 25 starts for Mixon in 2002, with a best finish of 22nd at Daytona. The following season, he competed in a career-high total of 32 races, and finished seventeen of them. With a new team partner in Global Industrial Contractors and picking up sponsorship from The FanZ Car later in the season, Harmon had his first career top-twenty finish at IRP and finished 23rd in points.
GIC-Mixon switched to the #24 in 2004 and after the Aaron's 312, he was released from the team and replaced by Shane Hmiel. He made two more starts that season, his best finish being 33rd at Memphis Motorsports Park for Oostlander Racing. In 2005, Harmon and Oostlander purchased part of the assets of Innovative Motorsports and ran the first four races of the season in the #21 Global Pigeon Supply Chevrolet Silverado, before focusing mainly on ARCA racing. Harmon attempted a Busch Series race later in the year at Memphis for Bobby Norfleet, but did not qualify. Harmon returned to NASCAR in 2007, driving the #44/#48 car for Richardson-Netzloff Racing in the Busch Series. He made seven races with a best finish of 38th before handing the ride off to Jennifer Jo Cobb late in the season. He will attempt a full season in the #84 Chevrolet fielded by the new Elite 2 Racing team in 2008. Harmon posted his best finish in the Nationwide Series to date, finishing 17th at the Aarons 312. As of mid summer 2008, Harmon is no longer affiliated with Eite 2 Racing.
For 2009, Harmon started racing his own #84 car and then took over the owner points of the #07 team from SK Motorsports.
Bristol Crash Edit
Harmon is also famous for an incident at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2002. Harmon was practicing his #44 car, when he crashed into the track's infield entry gate in Turn 2. The gate was improperly secured and swung open when Harmon crashed into it. Harmon's car then impacted the end of the concrete wall head-on. The impact was so violent, the car literally split in half. The remnants of the vehicle were then struck lightly by the car of Johnny Sauter, but he hit the half that Harmon was not sitting in. Harmon later walked away from the crash unharmed. As a result of that crash, a similar crash by Michael Waltrip in 1990, and the inability to get ambulances out of the infield without having to stop the race, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. installed a tunnel under the track for traffic to enter and exit the infield.