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Harlow Hangs Tough to Take NMRA ARP Open Comp Championship | Presented by Nitto Tire

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By Mary Lendzion

While Gordon Harlow earned an enviable eighth place finish in NMRA ARP Open Comp points in 2017, he wanted to do even better in 2018.

The Kentucky-based racer got started by recording a 10.05 on a 10.14 against Woody Pack, who turned on the red, to take his place in the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle at the 10th Annual NMCA/NMRA All-Star Nationals in April at Atlanta Dragway, and he was .005 to qualify in the fourth spot at the 18thAnnual NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals in May at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania.

A rewarding weekend began with a perfect .000 reaction time to lead qualifying and a 10.29 on a 10.21 against Michael Lewandowski to earn another trip to the winner’s circle at the 15thAnnual NMRA Ford Supernationals  in June at National Trail Raceway in Ohio. On point, he pushed to a 10.10 on a 10.14 to win against Bill Staton at the 13th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by Fuel Systems Technology in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois.

Despite exiting eliminations early at the final event of the season, the 20thAnnual Nitto Tire NMRA All-Ford World Finals in September at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, Harlow had ceremoniously earned the 2018 NMRA ARP Open Comp championship in his beautiful black Mustang powered by a 352 cubic-inch small-block Ford.

“The wins were definitely not without a struggle,” said Harlow, whose girlfriend, Donella Poore, and friend and fellow racer, Charlie Atkinson, support him at the events. “I broke an oil pickup tube at the Florida event and had to take the engine apart and re-weld the pickup tube, and after all the help from the Roush team and fellow racers, I was able to get back to racing and went three rounds there. But then, my car caught on fire at the Georgia event. I definitely had a rough start, but it really ended up being the best year of racing I’ve ever had.”

Harlow and his accomplishments will be celebrated at the NMRA presented by Keystone Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components, Dec. 7 at the Indiana Convention Center.


Mary Lendzion
Formerly a writer at the Detroit Free Press, Mary Lendzion has written for NMCA and NMRA for more than ten years. She's also the director of media and public relations for Summit Motorsports Park, and spends as much time as possible racing her 8-second Mustang.
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