By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
Kaulig Racing’s team owner Matt Kaulig and team President Chris Rice announced that their crew chief, Nick Harrison, passed away at the age of 37.
Harrison worked most recently in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on top of the pit box for Justin Haley. Halfway into the 2019 season, he had led Haley to two top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. Harrison was also part of Kaulig Racing’s first ever sweep of the top two finishing positions at Daytona International Speedway earlier this month.
Although it was unknown that it was his last race at the time, Harrison led Haley to a 13th-place finish in the Roxor 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway yesterday, Saturday, July 20. He joked with driver Bubba Wallace who was photographing the race, as well as others up and down the grid.
The Columbia, N.C. native first worked as a crew chief in 2006 with Steadman Marlin. Since then, Harrison was a crew chief for many stars in both the Xfinity and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series including Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, and Ryan Newman among others.
Tributes from both drivers he worked with as well as many others, including Daniel Hemric, Tommy Joe Martins, and Wallace poured in on Twitter.
During his tenure with Richard Childress Racing, Harrison earned four Xfinity victories, three with Austin Dillon and one with Menard. His most recent, and final victory, was the rain-shortened race at Michigan International Speedway with Dillon last year.
Dillon credited his chemistry with Harrison as the reason why the duo went to victory lane that day.
“We’ve been working really hard at Richard Childress Racing to get back into the Winner’s Circle and as an organization, we really thought that if we could put Nick Harrison and myself together we could get there. It worked because this is only our second race together this year and here we are.”
Harrison also led Dillon to victory in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Pocono Raceway in 2014.
The first victory for Harrison as a crew chief came in memorable fashion with Busch in the Xfinity Series at Daytona in 2012. His team repaired the James Finch-owned Phoenix Racing machine after it was swept up in a late-race ‘big one.’ In an upset, Busch drove the battered machine to win in a photo-finish.
A statement from Kaulig Racing team owner, Matt Kaulig, and President, Chris Rice: pic.twitter.com/kTUoLJA88m
— Kaulig Racing (@KauligRacing) July 21, 2019