By Ryan Isley
I have said time and time again that NASCAR is one of the premier sports out there in terms of athletes and teams connecting with their fans. Whether it is drivers visiting kids in a hospital, tweeting with a fan on Twitter or even five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson showing up at the NASCAR tweet-up prior to last Sunday’s race in New Hampshire to meet and greet fans, NASCAR drivers are completely in tune with their ever-growing fan base.
Nationwide Series Driver Mike Harmon (@hrmn8ter) is out to prove me right in the next couple of weeks by going above and beyond the call of duty for any athlete, no matter the sport.
Some may remember Harmon from this wreck during practice at Bristol in 2002, but after what he is attempting to do to help out an 11-year-old girl from Alabama named Marrissa Bishop (@LilMarrissa), people will associate the name Mike Harmon with doing a great thing for a brave girl.
Marrissa has acromegaly, which is a syndrome that forces an individual’s body to outgrow their brain. Marissa also has a brain tumor that she is planning on having surgically removed this fall. While Marissa battles all of this, she came up with an idea for Harmon – have his fans sponsor a car and run a full race with people’s twitter handles written on his car.
Harmon agreed to do so if he could get the funding to be able to make her wish come true, and on August 6th at Iowa, Harmon hopes to be able to do just that. In order turn Marrissa’s dream into a reality, Harmon has taken to where else – Twitter – to solicit support.
To help fund the Twitter fan car for Marrissa, Harmon is asking for donations in any amount (he realizes times are tough) so that they might be able to run this very special car. In return, anyone who donates will have their twitter handle put on Harmon’s No. 74 Chevrolet for the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by the Enlist Weed Control System on that Saturday night under the lights at Iowa Speedway.
Do not worry, however, if you are not on Twitter. If you are still without a Twitter account but wish to donate, Harmon will have your name added to the car as well.
Harmon has only participated in 10 of the first 19 races in the Nationwide Series this season, but would love to be able to make it to Iowa so that what started as a dream to an 11-year-old fan can become a reality. Mike and Marrissa tweet back and forth every day and Harmon constantly shies away from any publicity he receives from this by telling people it is all about Marrissa, including when I talked to him through email about doing this piece.
Anyone who would like to donate can send their checks to Mike Harmon Racing, 6652 Denver Industrial Park Road, Denver, NC 28037. Make checks out to “Mike Harmon Racing” and in the subject line write “@lilmarrissa twitter car campaign” along with your Twitter handle if you have one. You can also donate through PayPal by going to The Driving for Marissa page on Mike Harmon’s website.
My check has already been sent and I hope more of you are soon to follow so we can help Mike Harmon make Marrissa’s dream come true.
Update: Mike Harmon tweeted on Monday night that the plans have changed a little bit for the Twitter car. Originally, he planned on running the car August 6th at Iowa but will now wait until September 3rd at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The reason, Harmon tweets, is “that way we have more time to be better prepared, with a better car, and some good surprises”.