Nick Harrison, NASCAR crew chief, died at age 37, Kaulig Racing announced Sunday morning.
He was crew chief of Justin Haley’s No. 11 Chevrolet in the Xfinity series. He called Haley’s 13th place finish Saturday night at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Nick Harrison, our beloved crew chief of the No. 11 car at Kaulig Racing,” team owner Matt Kaulig and team president Chris Rice said in a statement. “Please keep Nick’s family in your thoughts and prayers at this time.”
Harrison’s cause of death was not immediately announced. Funeral arrangements are being made for the NASCAR veteran crew chief.
NASCAR also released a statement on Harrison’s death.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of longtime crew chief Nick Harrison, and offer our thoughts, prayers and support to his family, friends and Kaulig Racing colleagues,” the statement said.
Harrison was a well-known fixture in the racing sphere. He served as crew chief in all three NASCAR national series since 2006. Harrison led the pit box in 120 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races from 2010-14, and 184 NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
His career with Xfinity Series included a stretch with Richard Childress Racing, which produced four of his five career victories. Three victories were with Austin Dillon, who said Harrison was one of the first people to believe in him. His other Richard Childress Racing victory was with Paul Menard. Harrison won atop the pit box with Kurt Busch in 2012.
Dillon wrote on Twitter, “Words can’t describe how I feel about (Harrison). The man was one of the first people to believe in me in the Cup Series.”
Harrison was in his first year with Kaulig Racing. He and Haley had 17 starts together with two top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes in 17 starts together.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Harrison’s Last Race Was Saturday Night At The New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Nick Harrison was serving as crew chief in the hours leading up to his death. He called a 13th place finish for Justin Haley Saturday night at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Harrison was in his first year with Kaulig Racing and crew chief of Justin Haley’s No. 11 Chevrolet in the Xfinity series. Already in 2019, Harrison and Haley had 17 starts with two top-5 finishes and 12 top-10 finishes.
After practices Friday for the 2019 ROXOR 200 in Loudon, New Hampshire, Haley was in a position to take home a victory. Christopher Bell was also named as likely to take top spot by Front Stretch. Haley jumped from 10th to first in the final practice, crossing the finish line at a speed of 128.51 mph.
2. Harrison Was In His First Year With Kaulig Racing
Nick Harrison started with Kaulig Racing and crew chief for Justin Haley in 2019. In just seven months together, Haley took home a win with an early rain finish July 7 in the Monster Energy Series. Harrison retweeted Nascar’s tweet after the win.
“NEWS: Today’s race is official and @Justin_Haley_ is your winner in the #CokeZeroSugar400!” the tweet said.
“Congratulations to Haley on his first Monster Energy Series win!”
The team had 17 starts together which included two times finishing in the top five and 10 times finishing in the top 10. Haley finished 13th in a race Saturday night at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
3. Harrison Was Crew Chief For 184 Xfinity Races & Had Five Victories
Harrison debuted as Xfinity crew chief in 2006, and went on to serve on 184 races, according to Racing Reference. His first victory was with Kurt Busch in 2012, who called Harrison “a leader and a friend to all.” The victory was at Daytona International Speedway with James Finch’s Phoenix Racing.
Harrison won four more times in the Xfinity Series – three times with Austin Dillon and one time with Paul Menard. Harrison won with Dillon again in 2012 at the Pocono Raceway, a truck race. Harrison was crew chief for three truck races. Dillon said Harrison was one of the first people to believe in him on Twitter.
Harrison worked as crew chief in 120, including full seasons in 2011-12 with Phoenix Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet. He led Busch to third place in 2012 at Sonoma Raceway. It was Harrison’s best finish as a Cup crew chief.
He worked with several teams including Phoenix, Richard Childress Racing and Kaulig, leading dozens of Cup and Xfinity drivers and leaving his mark on the drivers. His roster included A.J. Allmendinger, Micahel McDowell, Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott, Ryan Truex, Landon Cassill, Jamie McMurray, Cale Conley, Ty Dillon, Chad Chaffin, Boris Said, Regan Smith, Jeremy Clements, Brandon Jones, Ben Kennedy and Brendan Gaughan.
4. Watch All Of Nick Harrison’s Wins
Nick Harrison had 26 wins as crew chief. A YouTube video combines footage of each of those wins in 9 1/2 minutes.
“Nick Harrison, the current crew chief on Justin Haley’s #11 car in the Xfinity series, passed away following the race at New Hampshire… a terrible loss for the NASCAR garage and the sport,” the video says on the opening slide.
“RIP Nick Harrison. He was 37,” the video description said.
“6 Crew Chiefing wins
“5 wins in the Xfinity Series
1 win in the Truck Series”
5. NASCAR Drivers Offered Condolences & Tributes
Drivers offered condolences and wrote tributes on Twitter to Nick Harrison and sent kind words to his family.
Austin Dillon wrote on Twitter, ““Words can’t describe how I feel about (Harrison). The man was one of the first people to believe in me in the Cup Series. He gave me an opportunity to drive for James Finch, which gave me confidence to believe in myself at the top level. We were able to win the together multiple times in @XfinityRacing and a win in @NASCAR_Trucks. My favorite thing to this day to hear over the radio was his voice saying Hauling Balls. I hope today I hear it on the radio as we give it all we got on the track today for Nick.”
‘We all lost a friend last night. We love you Nick Harrison. You were a leader, and a great friend to all,” Kurt Busch wrote. “Nick really helped me rebuild my career when I was at a low point. RIP”
“I am at loss for words about the news we received this morning,” Brandon Jones wrote on Twitter. “This man means a lot to me and the impact he has had on my life. We had some damn good memories that’s for sure. Love ya ole buddy!”
Chris Rice wrote, “RIP buddy” and shared a photo.
“…….We will never understand why we are called home at the exact time that we are, but our good buddy Nick Harrison got that call last night. He never met a stranger, and would bring a smile to everyone’s face he was around. We love you man & you will be greatly missed,” wrote Daniel Hemric.