After enduring a challenging weekend with the Frankenstein Engine Dynamics Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) late last month in Bowling Green, KY, Keith Haney is looking forward to attending Throw Down in T-Town (May 11-12), at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, his hometown track in Tulsa.
“It’s always good to go home,” said Haney, who co-owns the historic drag racing venue with fellow MWPMS competitor Todd Martin. “But especially when we have to get back to doing what we do best, which is draggin’ asses and winning races.”
Haney explained his Keith Haney Racing team was short-handed in Kentucky with only three team members joining him and crew chief Brandon Pesz at Beech Bend Raceway Park, while co-crew chief Brandon Switzer called in his tune-up from Charlotte due to prior commitments.
“It definitely made it challenging running two cars with half my crew, but that’s not really what bit us in the end,” he added. “More than anything we were the victim of parts failure.”
Haney races a pair of nearly identical appearing 2016 Camaros in the all-eighth-mile MWPMS, with “Notorious” entered in Pro Mod competition and “Enigma” his ride of choice for Radial vs. the World. Both were back in the trailer after just one round of competition at promoter Tyler Crossnoe’s Outlaw Street Car Reunion V.
“We only got to make one qualifying pass in Radial vs. the World, but fortunately it was a great one; we ran 3.78 at exactly 200 miles per hour, which made us number one up until the last session,” Haney said. “We ended up third, which put us up against DeWayne Mills the first round, where we had an issue with the converter that only allowed us to run an .83 while he ran an .81, so we just didn’t run the number that we needed.”
Haney then explained that “Notorious” experienced a major timing malfunction in round two of Pro Mod qualifying that led to a huge explosion and seriously damaged seven of eight cylinders in its nitrous-boosted engine. However, rival team owners Jim Sacuvich and Dave Pierce, along with several of their crew members pitched in to make repairs and at least give Haney a chance.
“Jim himself was putting the new pistons and rods together while my crew chief, Brandon Pesz, was putting the rings on, and we had the Dave’s RV camp over and helping with the distributor. Jeff Pierce helped us get the distributor back together.”
The explosion not only damaged the engine, but burned up the car’s windshield, too.
“I could barely see out of it after that,” Haney said. “So for the third and final qualifying I went up there against Jim Cunningham and I could see straight ahead, but not at the tree very well, all I could see was when the staging lights got brighter when I turned them on, I couldn’t see the lights themselves.”
Relying on crew member instructions over the radio, Haney said he deep-staged for his final qualifying attempt and hit the gas only after hearing Cunningham leave. Fortunately, reaction time doesn’t matter in qualifying, but deep-staging does hurt the elapsed time.
“We went 3.84, which put us 14th on the list, but really the incremental times showed it should’ve been a .78 run. I rolled in so deep I just killed all the numbers, but at least we got it in the show,” Haney recalled.
Down on internal vacuum pressure, Haney knew his engine was still hurting, though, which led to him losing the opening round of Pro Mod eliminations to Wayne Roberts. “I had him at the tree, had him at the 60-foot; I was rollin’ good and then—BOOM!—it blew up again and he went around me.”
After recognizing it was a disappointing outing, Haney remained upbeat about his season going forward.
“You know what? Since last year when we won two championships and all through the start of this year where we’ve been winning races and going to finals almost every time out, we were due for a bad race. It happens. Now that it’s out of the way and we’ve got everything fixed up, we’re ready for the Throw Down in T-Town, where I’ll be back to draggin’ their asses some more. They got lucky in Bowling Green because I had some motor malfunctions, otherwise I’d have taken it all,” he stated.
“Seriously, I’m really excited about what’s coming up. The Throw Down is always an exciting race and then the next week I’ll be making my NHRA Pro Mod debut at Topeka with the new Summit Racing car, and the week after that I’ll be back in St. Louis with both ‘Notorious’ and ‘Enigma’ for the Mid-West Pro Mod Series there. We’ve got a lot of great racing coming up and we’re ready to roll.”