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All That Glitters Isn't Gold to Racing Veteran

July 19, 1986|DAVID KECK

For an auto racer, any win is as good as gold. But make it real gold, and the victory is even sweeter.

Glenn Harris of Camarillo could almost agree to that. The off-road racing veteran took a pound of the precious metal--worth about $6,000--back as his prize for winning a race in Montreal in May.

But some things in racing are more important to Harris. Winning a Mickey Thompson Gran Prix Off-Road Grand National Sport Truck points championship would mean almost as much to Harris as toting home Fort Knox.

"Winning the gold was great," Harris said. "But I'd rather win the championship. It would show our consistency throughout the year."

Harris, winner of the last Mickey Thompson Off-Road race at the Rose Bowl in May, could get closer to his goal at tonight's race in the L.A. Coliseum, the sixth stop on the nine-race series.

The Thompson series brings together five four-wheeled classes, along with motorcycle and three-wheeled events. The contestants will run heat races for qualifying positions to precede the main events on a dirt surface that simulates outdoor off-road racing. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.

Harris is second in the point standings for his class, and a win tonight would move him closer to points-leader Steve Millen. Millen has won three of the five events and leads Harris by 39 points.

Harris has finished well in all races so far this season and continues to improve. Harris' performance this season already exceeds that of last year, when he suffered through a mass of mechanical problems and crashes to finish the series fifth and last.

Harris, now in his second year as a Mazda factory driver, said the difference this season is the result of a concerted team effort and dedication. His California Gold Racing Team chose to concentrate solely on indoor racing as opposed to the longer desert races.

"And more time in having the opportunity to prepare helps," Harris said. "Of course luck enters into the picture, too. It really takes a combination of things."

For now at least, the combination seems to be golden.

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