Bob Harkey, an Indycar regular during the ’60s and ’70s, has passed away at the age of 85. Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Harkey made his National Championship debut at Milwaukee in June of ’63 driving Jake Vargo’s six-year-old Kurtis-Offy roadster. Starting 9th he finished 5th to enjoy quite a debut. In seven further Indycar starts that year, however, he could not match his debut result.
He started a dozen Indycar races in ’64, taking Wally Weir’s Watson-Offy to and 8th-place finish in his rookie run at Indy and 7th at Milwaukee, and then driving John Pfrommer’s Meskowski-Offy dirt car to what would turn out to be a career-best 4th at Trenton that July. Seventy-eight more Indycar starts followed through 1979, but Harkey was never able to match his early successes despite being a regular top-10 runner. His best finish from six Indy 500 starts was a pair of 8th-place finishes, the one in ’64, and another in ’74, when he drove for Lindsey Hopkins. Upon retiring from the cockpit, Harkey worked for many years with Champion Spark Plug’s safety program.
To the Harkey family and Bob’s many friends in and out of the sport, Vintage Racecar extends its sincerest sympathies.