Harrington Makes Return At Atlanta

As 1999’s Rookie of the Year, Scott Harrington’s future in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series seemed to be full of promise.

One look at the list of the award’s past winners, however, and a different picture emerges.

Jim Guthrie, 1996-1997 Rookie of the Year, hasn’t competed in the series since 1998 and isn’t even featured in the IRNLS’ media guide. Robby Unser, who was the top rookie in 1998, has only competed in three of the six events in 2000, with a top finish of 21st at Pikes Peak.

So, when his family-owned Harrington Motorsports threw in the towel before this season began, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Even Harrington, after receiving the rookie award, seemed to have a feeling that his 2000 campaign was in jeopardy.

"I can only imagine what we can do if we can finalize something for our budget next year," he said.

But, even Harrington couldn’t have imagined this. After the first race of the season with Nienhouse, Harrington has been without a ride.

Until last week.

Harrington got the call to replace Mid America Motorsports driver Doug Didero, who drove the No. 43 car for the first part of the season. Harrington’s first race is Saturday night under the lights at the Midas 500 Classic at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

"I love racing at night. The lights and the reflections off the cars add to the excitement for everybody," Harrington said. "I did a lot of night racing in my motorcycle days, and I always liked it and I always did well at night, so I'm really looking forward to racing under the lights at Atlanta."

Last season, Harrington started 12th and finished 15th at Atlanta. He completed 204 of the races's 208 laps. Mid America is banking on Harrington to do the same Saturday, plus a little more.

"Our main goal at his point is just to finish the race," Harrington said. "I like Atlanta Motor Speedway. I think we were running third at Atlanta last year when we had clutch problems.

"But for me, I'm just excited about getting back in the saddle again, and that's all the more reason that our goal is just to get out there and finish the race."

Finishing the race may be the team’s goal, but Harrington already feels good about his situation.

"We're looking at this as the start of a long and successful relationship between myself and Mid America Motorsports," said Harrington, who signed a two-year contract with the team. "It's a new team for me, and we have to get to know each other, but I'm looking forward to it and to a good finish."

"We are going to work together to build a winning program for the future."

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Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
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