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Jeffers’ Integrity Draws Pro Nitrous Star Haney to Dragstock XI

It takes a special set of circumstances for Keith Haney to choose racing over family.

Earlier this year, the driver of “Notorious” and the owner of Tulsa Raceway Park missed an event at his own facility in order to participate in a charity golf tournament with his 76-year-old business partner, Wayne Cline. Last weekend, instead of watching his son’s undefeated fourth-grade football team close out their season, Haney was at Gateway Motorsports Park for ADRL’s Dragstock XI. And why?

Because Larry Jeffers asked him to.

The chassis builder partnered with Kenny Nowling to bring the ADRL back for a shakedown run at Nowling’s home track before kicking off a full season in 2017. With only a month or so of promotion, big names were needed, so Jeffers called in a favor to Haney, who was only too happy to help.

“I had a situation with this car when I first got it and I took it to his shop,” Haney said prior to round one of qualifying. “I got the bill—and this is when our friendship became something big—and it showed a credit. A credit. He owed me. And on (the bill), he put ‘Friendship Allowance.’ That’s something you can’t replace. That was probably a $10-12,000 issue that we had when we first got the car.”

The relationship the two share goes beyond that. Jeffers brings his unique school bus Pro Mod to Haney’s

Larry Jeffers

Larry Jeffers

Throwdown at T-Town races as well as providing support on the manufacturer’s midway at those events. Haney said it was important to help Jeffers’ attempt through the return of ADRL to make the sport bigger.

Like many others, Haney was hesitant to participate due to issues stemming from Nowling’s past issues with ADRL and its drivers. Nowling has acknowledged in the weeks leading up to this race he has every intention of paying back the drivers still owed race checks from previous years.

“Larry’s trying to help the sport,” he said. “He called me and said ‘I need you to come race.’ I said ‘You know my feelings about everything, you know,’ and they addressed it a little bit today (during the drivers meeting). He said ‘I absolutely do, but I’m not asking you to do it for that, I’m asking you to do it for me.’ And I said ‘Well, I’ll be there.’

For Haney and several other racers willing to give the ADRL another try, it’s Jeffers’ name attached to the series that has brought them back. While Nowling’s ability to promote a race cannot be questioned, Jeffers brings a level of integrity and familiarity that teams and sponsors have grown to trust over the years.

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“ADRL’s owned by Larry and Larry’s got a good name,” Haney said. “He’s not a liar, he’s not a cheat, he’s not a thief. If anything, he undercharges people on a lot of things. But Larry cares about the sport and obviously, he’s a chassis builder, he’s got an oil company, he’s got merchandise, and all that stuff. He cares about the sport just like I do.

“I’m not here for the ADRL. I want to race. I’m here because I love drag racing and I believe if we don’t help, it’s not going to get any bigger.”

This story was originally published on November 7, 2016. Drag Illustrated

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