Mike Harmon's racing career started at the local tracks in and around Birmingham, Ala. In 1978, Harmon won 42 of the 70 races in which he took the green flag. In 1982, Harmon hit the road, and tried his luck in the NASCAR All American Challenge Series. He finished in the top 10 in the series points each year from 1982 to 1985. He went back to the Southeast in 1990 and won the championship in the newly formed Southern All Star Series, as well as the Late Model Series title at Birmingham International Speedway. He would repeat his Late Model title in 1991. Harmon continued toiling in circuits, including the Hooter's Cup Series, until 1996 when he moved up to the NASCAR Busch Series as a driver/owner with legendary Red Farmer as his team's crew chief. After running well in a seven-race stretch, which included Harmon being the fastest qualifying rookie at Talladega, he had a devastating accident at Homestead causing many to wonder if he would ever come back with the nerve to race again. Harmon spent two years in the Slim Jim Series before getting a tow-race ARCA deal that got him the attention of car owner Junie Donlavey. Donlavey was set to put Harmon in a Cup program, but lack of sponsorship caused the deal to fall through, so Harmon went back to Alabama and participated in the NASCAR Winston Racing Series where he captured the championship in the Sun Belt region. Harmon had a lot of friends behind him, fighting for several years to try and get him in a national series. "I'll tell you what," Donlavey said "I have never seen a group of men stick together and help a guy out like people help Mike. People just like him." In 2001, the team ran a combination of ARCA and Busch Series events, but a lack of sponsorship seemed to hamper the team's efforts.