Mike Harmon Uses Veteran Patience To Blast To First Top-10 Finish Of 2007 In Pocono
Topics: Mike Harmon, Pennsylvania 200
August 6, 2007
POCONO, Pennsylvania (Monday, August 6, 2007) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Mike Harmon was all smiles Saturday afternoon after netting his first top-10 finish of the season despite blowing a left front tire just 200 feet past the start finish line.
Harmon and his Richardson-Netzloff-Harmon Racing team brought a brand new Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS to Pocono Raceway this past weekend and while the car was competitive, Harmon’s weekend started off with some bad luck after also losing a left front tire during practice Friday afternoon.
Harmon’s team led by crew chief Nate McGuire worked fiercely to repair the No. 38 Just 1 Shirt.com by Creative Concepts of Jonesboro, Inc. Chevrolet Monte Carlo and did so in stout fashion.
In ARCA SIM Factory qualifying, the Alabama native picked up the pace considerably mounting a time of 58.027 seconds at 155.100 MPH lining him up 25th on the starting grid.
On Saturday, Harmon would be forced to relinquish his position after the team made adjustments to the car repairing an oil pan leak several hours before the start of the 14th ARCA race of the season.
With the problem corrected, Harmon was ready to fight to the front.
At the start of the 80-lap event, the North Carolina native blasted his No. 38 Chevrolet towards the front picking up several positions at the initial start.
Radioing to crew chief McGuire, Harmon reported that his car was neutral but he taking his time maneuvering through the pack.
The team would continue to climb through the standings and use pit strategy to soar his machine into the lead for two circuits on lap 27.
Harmon brought his machine to the attention of his volunteer crew approaching the restart on lap 30 topping off his Chevrolet with Sunoco Racing fuel.
Restarting deep in the back, Harmon continued to slice and dice his way through the field adverting several close calls ahead of him including a huge pileup on lap 56 in the tunnel turn.
Following an extensive red flag condition, Harmon would be sitting comfortable inside the top-12 on the restart and used strength and determination to slide his No. 38 into the top-10.
As the laps began to wind down, Harmon felt a vibration in the left front. Running ninth at the time of the sudden change, Harmon let a hard-charging Josh Krug go and settled in behind the Hixson Motorsports machine.
Within the final 10 laps, challenges from Patrick Sheltra and Rob Bunker proved to be no match for the junior ARCA driver as he strived to better his June performance by crossing the line 10th, his first top-10 finish of the season and nearly a year later since his last.
Harmon’s day wasn’t over as the vibration that he felt turned out to be the beginning signs of a blown tire and shortly after taking the checkered flag in the 45th ARCA event at Pocono Raceway, the left front gave way causing damage to the front end.
Despite the after-race carnage, a jubilant Harmon returned to pit road and gave his team a big thumbs up.
“This is great, just what we needed to put our season back on track,” said Harmon, who nailed his ninth top-10 finish in ARCA competition and second at Pocono.
“I knew something was going on when I started to have the vibration. I backed off considerably and took it easy. I didn’t want to pit so I had to do everything to conserve a good finish. I want to thank everyone on my team for their hard work this weekend. It’s a good feeling heading into Nashville . We’ll be able to repair this car and hope to be a threat at Nashville ,” sounded Harmon.
McGuire added, “This is a brand new car to the race team and to come out the way we did speaks volumes for this entire race team. We are under budgeted but we make it up with faith and determination. Mike drove the wheels off. It was a good point’s day and we’ll be able to fix the car up and look for two-for-two in Nashville !”
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the 15th event on the 2007 schedule with a return trip to Music City at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon , Tennessee . The TOYOTA ARCA 150 is scheduled for Saturday, August 11 set to roll off live on the SPEED channel at 3:30pm Eastern Time.
NAME: Chris Knight, Richardson-Netzloff-Harmon Racing
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