David Harrison With His New Ludwig Motorsports Ride
Photo By Steve Hartzell
He has never won a track championship, and he has a handful of feature
wins to his credit. Still, David Harrison is clearly a favorite of the
fans at Fremont Speedway and Attica Raceway Park. Along with his aggressive
driving style, much of the reason for this can be attributed to the genuine
personality of the man himself.
David Harrison was born in Fremont on October 3, 1963, the son of Darl
& Joyce Harrison. He had lived his entire life in Bettsville until
a recent move to Fremont. With his wife Terri he is the father of 4 children,
Josh, Jordon, Kylie and Mikena.
Being the son of the great Darl Harrison, his first memories at the
race track were of watching his father run in the USAC series in about
1970. "When he was driving with Century Die, I remember we started going
to the races about then. From then on, I was pretty much a race car addict.
There was only one racing hero in my mind, and that was my dad. To be honest,
I didn't even watch anybody else back then. There was only one guy I was
interested in watching."
"I remember the 1975 Little 500. Man, I had a good time. I sat with
some of Cliff Cochram's people, and they just kept picking on me about
how Cliff was gonna beat my dad. They ran first and second for most of
the race, until Cliff caught on fire, and Dad ended up winning the race.
That was a lot of fun!"
With his brother Jim, Dave eventually got into go-cart racing. "Jim
actually helped me buy my first go-cart. We had that go-cart track in Bettsville,
and we had 500 lap races out there. The first race I ever run, we ran second
to John Ivy. That was a lot of fun, 500 laps. That's the kind of racing
I like, long races. The short races, they don't last long enough. I just
love to race."
Then came his first experience in a full sized race car. "I bought a
car off of Dave Durnwald. I traded a welder, a 3-wheeler and $700 for my
first race car. And I still have that car today, we're restoring it. It's
almost the same as dad's Century Die car. I'd like to get that done in
the next year or so. We went to Sandusky my first night out. We couldn't
keep up with the super modifieds, obviously, but man, I had a good time.
We won rookie honors that year."
Finally, Dave looked to dirt sprints when Al Harrison bought a 1985
Gambler off of Bobby Distel. "He's my cousin, I call him my uncle all the
time. We went over to Findlay and ran tenth there my first night out with
a 355 motor. We were very happy with that." Dave drove for "Uncle Al" for
As was the case with many drivers, the guy he most looked forward to
running against was Mark Keegan. "I remember the first year I raced we
finished 7th at Fremont, and I was very proud of that fete. Mark helped
us as much as he could, as he has a lot of people. He was probably the
one that I wanted to beat the most because he was the best at that time."
"I've never really won any big races, but winning here at Fremont, in
the home town a couple years ago was probably one of my best, and Attica
in '92 was a pretty good one." He also won once at K-C, and has run in
a some Little 500's.
This season he is driving a winged sprinter for someone other that Al
Harrison for the first time in 14 years, but there are no hard feelings.
"Rodney Duncan kind of turned that team around. They've got some good motors
now. Not that we didn't have good parts, and Al did do everything that
he could. It's just that we didn't know what we were doing. A lot of it
was my fault. I couldn't tell the mechanics what to do because I didn't
learn the stuff from good people to begin with. Now we've learned, and
finally 10 years later we're finally doing something."
Doug Ludwig Motorsports announced at the PRI show that his new driver
will be David Harrison, and he has assembled an impressive team in support
of the new effort. The driver's name on the car says "Super Dave" Harrison,
and includes a cartoon figure pushing a cart. "We're very excited," says
Harrison. "He's given us everything we've ever dreamed of." Now Harrison
is working with a veteran crew, including several who have worked with
Frankie Kerr, and the future looks bright. "This race team we 've got here,
I feel like we've got the best shot of doing anything than we've ever had
in our racing career" The new ride is sponsored by Crown Battery, Blaster
Racing, Snyder Floor Covering, United Expressline Trailers, Delco of Cinncinatti,
Of today's promising young drivers Dave says, "I'll tell you, there's
so many of them. Obviously Brandon Martin is doing pretty good, and Craig
Mintz looks like he's gonna be pretty good. It's hard to say. I'm friends
with all of them and I try not to be biased. Right now those two guys seem
to have the best equipment and their running pretty good. I'll just have
to see, hopefully they don't beat me anytime too soon."
Today, at age 39 David Harrison's priorities are a bit different than
they were in his younger days. "Ten years ago all I thought of was racing,
but right now family is number one, and of course God."
Dave still has several goal that he would like to reach in racing. "I
would like to win the Little 500 one of these days. I would like to win
an All Star show, that's something I haven't done yet."
Harrison clearly remains a fan favorite. At the Tiffin Mall Sprint Car
Show, his car outpolled runner-up John Ivy by a 2-to-1 margin. While some
of that is clearly attributable to his popularity, he was quick to give
credit to others. "I think it had a lot to do with, we're from Tiffin,
and Doug's from Tiffin, and Bettsville, the Tiffin Mall is where they all
go. In all fairness, I think that had a lot to do with it. It's probably
a biased opinion, but that's the best looking car I've ever had. I think
just being in that area helped us a lot, because a lot of our fans are
from that area." Speaking directly to his fans he said, "I have to thank
them a lot for their support. Without the fans, obviously the racing wouldn't
be here. I get along with the fans, I'll tell ya. We see them all at the
go-cart track, and we just have a good time with them. I can't remember
everybody's names, and it's not that I don't know who you are, it's just
that I have a bad memory. I meet so many people at the go-cart track, and
racing, it's just hard to remember everybody's name, but I know who they
At 39, Harrison has't given much thought to the notion of retiring,
and he feels that he has not yet reached his racing prime. "Josh is getting
old enough to where he's gonna be driving, he wants to anyway, but I feel
like I've got another 5, 6, maybe 10 years. It just depends on how everything
goes. I feel we're getting better as I get older. I'm definitely getting
more patient. I never was a patient man." When might he retire? "Probably
when I can't get out of bed anymore."
Meanwhile, the fans and competitors can continue to enjoy the company
and the driving style of one of the most likeable guys in our great sport.