Crew chief Nick Harrison dies at 37

by Justin Nguyen

Nick Harrison, who has been involved in NASCAR as a crew chief for over a decade, has died at the age of 37. On Sunday morning, Kaulig Racing, whose #11 car of Justin Haley was led by Harrison, announced his passing on Twitter.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Nick Harrison, our beloved crew chief of the No. 11 car at Kaulig Racing,” the team statement read. “Please keep Nick’s family in your thoughts and prayers at this time.”

Harrison’s first foray as a NASCAR crew chief came in what is now the Xfinity Series in 2006, working alongside Steadman Marlin and Chad Chaffin at Sadler Brothers Racing. At the turn of the decade, he joined Phoenix Racing in both the Xfinity (then Nationwide) and Cup Series, the latter in which he led drivers like NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bill Elliott, incoming Hall of Famer Bobby Labonte, and former champion Kurt Busch. Harrison also led Brad Keselowski and Phoenix to their first Cup victory at Talladega Superspeedway in 2009.

He moved to Richard Childress Racing in 2013, where he worked on the #33 Nationwide Series team with those like Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, and Cale Conley. Two years later, he became the crew chief for Austin’s brother Ty in the #3; after Dillon moved up to the Cup Series in 2017, Harrison remained with the Xfinity programme. In 2019, he migrated to RCR ally Kaulig. In 184 career Xfinity races, Harrison enjoyed five wins, 83 top-ten finishes, and six poles; his winners included Busch, Menard, and a hat trick with Austin Dillon.

In 2012 and 2014, he called three Truck Series starts with Busch and Dillon, with the latter winning at Pocono Raceway.

Harrison’s final race was just on Saturday, where he called Haley to a thirteenth-place finish in the Roxor 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. With Harrison’s leadership, Haley – who is competing for Xfinity Rookie of the Year honours – sits ninth in the standings.

Haley tweeted, “Not just a crew chief, but a friend to everyone who knew him. I, and everyone at Kaulig Racing are devastated. He will be greatly missed.”

“Words can’t describe how I feel about [him],” Dillon wrote. “The man was one of the first people to believe in me in the Cup series. He gave me an opportunity to drive for (Phoenix Racing owner) James Finch which gave me confidence to believe in myself at the top level.

“We were able to [win together] multiple times in [Xfinity] and a win in [Trucks]. My favorite thing to this day to hear over the radio was his voice saying Hauling Balls. I hope today I hear it on the radio as we give it all we got on the track today for Nick.”

Busch tweeted a photo of the two celebrating their Nationwide win at Daytona International Speedway in 2012:

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