For the past 8 years or so, I have always had at least one long phone conversation with Harry in the off-season, and was just thinking about calling him since I hadn't heard from him yet.
I have so many good memories of chatting with Harry and Rusty. I was always happy to see Harry at the track, and never happy to see him in my mirror Harry and I were not entirely in agreement on the GCR's definition of "blocking" and "racing room", but our cars never touched each other that I can remember. I always liked to think we had some mutual respect for each other, and a willingness to avoid a chance of hard feelings. In other words, he could have punted me a few times and didn't ... and I could have let him squeeze me to the grass or wall a couple times, and I lifted.
My favorite Harry Manning story has to do with how successfully and perpetually he drove the Puskars batty, apparently dating back to when Chris was competing in SSB with a Miata. When I was invited to Mike Puskar's surprise birthday party a few years back, I arranged for Harry to send me a birthday card that I sneaked onto the gift table and hung around all night waiting for Mike to open. None of the Puskar men believed the card had really come from Harry, and once I assured them that it had, all the old stories of how Harry won the 2003 Runoffs, etc., etc., came up all over again It was hilarious, and I remember calling Harry the next day to tell him all about it.
My second favorite Harry Manning story comes from the 2006 Runoffs in Topeka. Harry and I were both pulled in for Tech inspection after a qually session, and neither Harry nor Rusty were limber enough to get his 99's ECU out. I volunteered to do "The 10 Minute Headstand" for him, and I can assure anyone now (and anyone then), that ECU was never out of the car before then. The nuts were tight and un-nicked and perfectly torqued, the connector was tight and had no scratches or gouges, all the factory plastic routing clips were where they would be on a "Showroom Stock" car, etc. And thus the #1 rumor (of the time) as to Harry's speed became unraveled, and had to be re-invented