Drive for Diversity profile: Paul Harraka

BY foxsports • January 22, 2009

Team Owner: Bill McAnally Racing

Hometown: Fair Lawn, N.J.

Years in Racing: 10

Date Of Birth: 09/15/89

Paul Harraka, 19, has a racing resume that extends from go-karts to NASCAR Camping World Series cars. Harraka, who began racing at age seven, has won a total of 174 races in all types of cars, a World Karting Association Triple Crown, the Holley Future Star Award, 13 National Championships and 6 World Championships in go-karts. In 2009, he will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Series with Bill McAnally Racing as part of the Drive for Diversity program.

During his last season of Briggs and Stratton karting in 2005, an invitation from H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway, gave Harraka the opportunity to race a Legends car. Harraka capitalized by winning his first race at the Lowe's Motor Speedway Summer Shootout. He went on to win the Winter Heat Final.

The triumph at Lowe's Motor Speedway paved the way for Harraka, who is of Syrian descent, to participate in the Drive for Diversity program. In 2007, Harraka finished second in the point standings at All American Speedway as driver of the No. 16 Briggs and Stratton/Domino's Pizza NASCAR Late Model Stock Car for Bill McAnally Racing. He was also named All-American Speedway's NASCAR Late Model Rookie of the Year.

In 2008, driving for Bill McAnally Racing, Harraka showcased his supreme skill in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and NASCAR Camping World Series. In 21 starts in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, he had 11 wins with 18 top-fives and 20 top-10s. Harraka became the first Drive for Diversity participant to win a championship, taking top honors at All-American Speedway. Harraka will again race for Bill McAnally Racing in the 2009 Drive for Diversity program, but this time will move up to the NASCAR Camping World Series. He had 3 starts in this series last year with two top-10s and one pole.

Off the track, Harraka is a freshman at Duke University, where he's majoring in the two fields that will help him most as a racecar driver: Mechanical Engineering and Public Policy.