‘Carolina Kid’ goes for the gold in Carolina Blue Camaro

Travis Harvey Among the Contenders in Dragstock XI at Rockingham Dragway

ROCKINGHAM — He may not have earned a degree, or even sat in a classroom for that matter, but it would be difficult to find a bigger fan of the University of North Carolina and Tar Heel athletics than drag racer Travis Harvey.

A resident of Elon, Harvey will drive his heavily-modified Carolina blue 1968 Chevrolet Camaro in pursuit of a Pro Nitrous title from Sept. 5 through Sept. 7 when the PDRA series returns to Rockingham Dragway for Dragstock XI.

Submitted photo Travis Harvey will drive his heavily-modified Carolina blue 1968 Chevrolet Camaro in pursuit of a Pro Nitrous title this week when the PDRA series returns to Rockingham Dragway for Dragstock XI.

Submitted photo
Travis Harvey will drive his heavily-modified Carolina blue 1968 Chevrolet Camaro in pursuit of a Pro Nitrous title this week when the PDRA series returns to Rockingham Dragway for Dragstock XI.

Nicknamed “The Carolina Kid,” Harvey fell in love with drag racing and UNC as a youngster growing up in Burlington. His affinity for drag racing was understandable considering the fact that Burlington was the home of the late Hall of Fame driver Ronnie Sox and the fact that his dad was a racing regular at nearby Piedmont Dragway.

The affiliation with UNC, though, is a little harder to explain especially when one considers that his wife, Shelby, is a diehard fan of UNC’s biggest rival, the crosstown Duke Blue Devils.

“My father-in-law graduated from Duke and my wife’s entire family are diehard Duke fans,” Harvey said. “Sometimes, (Shelby and I) can’t even watch (the rivalry games) together in the same room.”

Of course, the level of competition within the family probably makes Harvey’s on track rivalries seem a little less intense.

One of the most popular drivers in the series, Harvey got his start driving his dad’s car at Piedmont long before he was licensed to drive on the street. At 14, he coerced his father into letting him make one run in the family’s ’67 Camaro. The resulting straight-as-a-string 7.70 at only 102 miles per hour was a life changer.

On the one hand, after that night, his father quit racing altogether and, the following day, he quit his JV football team so that he could race the Camaro on Thursday nights.

“My dad never drove again after that night,” Harvey told Van Abernethy of Drag Illustrated. “I think he actually enjoys watching me do it more so than racing himself.”

It wasn’t long after his driving debut that Harvey showed up with a helmet painted to resemble that of a UNC football player. It has become his trademark.

Although he still is seeking his first PDRA tour victory, Harvey has been successful in every car he’s driven. Among his most cherished successes was winning the Big Dog Outlaw Pro Mod Championship on his home track at Piedmont.

Harvey will get his first shot at Rockingham’s high traction eighth mile course in a single qualifying session on Friday. Three more qualifying sessions will set the fields in Pro Nitrous, Pro Extreme, Pro Boost, Extreme Pro Stock an six other classes including two for Jr. Dragsters.

Racing on Sunday will begin with first round competition in the sportsman classes at 10 a.m. Professional eliminations will follow. Free tickets for the race are available at www.rockinghamdragway.com.

Filed in: Outdoors, Sports

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