This weekend was one that Mike Harrison will never forget. Harrison scored two UMP Modified victories, which is almost routine for someone who races as much as he does. But, the second win of the weekend was the biggest of Harrison’s 23-year racing career. It was his 500thUMP Modified victory.
500 feature wins is something Harrison said he never thought would possible. At least, not until recently.
“If I ever would have thought that when I started, I probably would have said you were crazy. But it finally happened,” said Harrison.
The Highland, Illinois native scored his 499thwin on Saturday at Fayette County Speedway (IL). He then went to Jacksonville Speedway (IL) and beat Jacob Steinkoenig to score his 500th win on Sunday night.
On Monday afternoon, Harrison told Speed51.com that Sunday’s win is at the top of his list of achievements.
“As of right now I’d say it’s probably on top of the list. It’s 500. It’s kind of halfway to a major milestone, but I don’t know if I have that many years left to get to that next one,” Harrison said with a laugh.
Harrison said he and his sons joke all the time about how many years of racing Harrison has left, mainly because they believe he will still be racing deep into his life.
“The boys say they’re going to have to eventually push me in a wheelchair to the race car,” he said, laughing. “As much as I love racing, I’m sure I’ll race until I can’t race anymore. That’s just me. That’s how I feel about racing. I love racing that much.”
He added that even if he was to stop racing, he’d still find a way to be at the race track anyway.
“If I was to eventually quit for whatever reason, I could definitely see myself working at a race track or something to that sort because I love the sport that much. I’ve been doing it since I was 20 years old. That’s all me and my family know besides our normal everyday jobs and what we do at home.”
Fellow racer, and former NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace, said that racing with Harrison reminds him of something the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. once said to him.
"Dale said to me, 'Kenny, there are thousands of great race car drivers around the United States, and they can't all be NASCAR,'" said Wallace. "Every time I race Mike Harrison I think of Dale Earnhardt Sr. Mike Harrison is one of those great race car drivers."
In 2017, Harrison scored more than 25 feature victories, as well as the UMP Modified National championship, Fayette County Speedway Modified championship, Missouri/Illinois regional championship and the Summit Modified Nationals championship.
So far in 2018, Harrison is already up to nine victories on the year.
“Really, just teamwork,” Harrison replied when asked what he feels the key to his success has been. “I was thinking about that last night. I’ve had the same group of guys, give or take one or two, since 2010. Even before that, I was with a different group and was with them for 12 years. Once you’re together for that long you mesh and everyone knows everything and everyone has everyone’s back covered at all times. Since 2010, I’ve basically had pretty much the same group of guys. I consider it a family sport for us. My family is very involved. The majority of it is just being a family-oriented team deal for us.”
Harrison will chase win number-501 on June 8 at Illinois’ Tri-City Speedway.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: Patrick Davis Photo