• 34°

China Grove Middle student starts drag racing career early

By Meghan Cooke
mcooke@salisburypost.com
Mitchell Harkey has won seven drag races this year alone and has been a track champion at Mooresville Dragway for three consecutive years ó and he won’t even be eligible for a learner’s permit for another two years.
The 12-year-old China Grove Middle School student is a racing fiend and has stocked up on trophies and championship titles.
He got it honestly. His dad drag raced for 35 years.
“I made the mistake of letting him see a race,” said his father, Larry Harkey. “That was it.”
Mitchell has been racing since he was about 8. He won his first race at age 10 and hasn’t looked back.
“I wanted to go faster every time until I can’t go any faster,” he said.
Mitchell learned how to drive from his dad, but Larry doesn’t take the credit for Mitchell’s success.
“That kid can just drive a car,” Larry said.
Mitchell competes in local junior dragster brackets against other drivers ranging in age from 12 to 17.
In the Pro Tree Racing Association, he is currently second in his division’s point standings.
Racing on a strip that measures one-eighth of a mile long, Mitchell can reach the finish line in 7.9 seconds at about 82 miles per hour.
The car he drives is half the size of those in the adult division, but his car can go from 0 to 60 feet in 1.6 seconds.
At speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, junior drag racing has the potential to be dangerous, but luckily, he’s never been hurt.
“It’s scary,” said his mother, Gidget Harkey, of Salisbury. “But boys will be boys, and it’s in his blood, so how do you deny that?”
The soft spoken 12-year-old said he simply likes going fast.
When it comes time to get his driver’s license, Mitchell said he doesn’t think he’ll have any trouble passing the test.
And speeding tickets won’t be an issue, he said, smiling and shaking his head at his dad.
“He better not,” Larry said. “He can get his fun on the track.”
Drag racing is his passion, but it’s an expensive hobby.
His dad, who owns L & M Motors and Larry’s Automotive in China Grove, works on Mitchell’s car in a garage he had built behind his home, where Mitchell’s car sits beside the one his dad once raced.
The engine in Mitchell’s car cost $5,000, and they’ve gone through two this year. In a single year, they could spend up to $15,000 to maintain the car.
When Mitchell receives prize money, he turns it over to help fuel his hobby.
Having a sponsor to assist with funding would help, but money won’t stand in the way of the Harkeys’ passion.
“It’s worth it,” Larry said, explaining that racing helps motivate Mitchell to keep his grades up and stay out of trouble.
Mitchell can be found practicing at Mooresville Dragway practically every Saturday.
“He’d probably trade in me and his momma to race,” Larry said, smiling.
But racing isn’t Mitchell’s only hobby. The seventh-grader plans to play football and baseball this year.
Some day, Mitchell wants to race professionally. “I want to do it till I die,” he said.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

School board talks competency-based learning, receives new offer on Faith Elementary

Business

Chamber of Commerce warns buyers about used tractor company with Cleveland address

Local

American Legion Post plans cocktail sip

Local

Harold B. Jarrett Post to host blood drive

Coronavirus

17 new COVID-19 cases, one new death reported

Education

School meals expect a smooth transition for students

Nation/World

Fully vaccinated people can gather without masks, CDC says

Local

Lane, ramp closures scheduled for I-85 in Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: March 8

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can homebound seniors be vaccinated?

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury High, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month