After an extensive process, Keith Haney was simply excited the Throwdown in T-Town was going to happen this weekend.
That fans will get to enjoy the action in some capacity at Tulsa Raceway Park has been the icing on the cake. Following strict protocols from the local government during the COVID-19 pandemic, Haney and Todd Martin were able to move forward with the event.
They both went through a stringent process to get the track ready for the weekend, including a number of details to let fans into the race.
They were permitted to have 50 percent occupancy, but Haney and Martin chose to go the safe route and limit to 25 percent capacity. Still, it’s a massive move in the right direction, which was important for Haney.
“It’s our first event of the year and it’s been our biggest event,” said Haney, who noted the race usually draws tens of thousands of people each year. “We know we’re going to take a big hit, but it’s got to start somewhere. We’ve got a great sponsor in Osage Casino, and Todd and I are truly the lucky ones. Todd and I love the sport of drag racing, and we’re just excited we’re able to do something.”
The race also marks the kick-off for the 2020 Mid-West Pro Mod Series, with a massive amount of Pro Mod cars slated to attend with anticipation at an impressive high to start — or at least resume — the racing season.
Spectator sections will be marked off to ensure social distancing, and Haney urged fans to purchase tickets online ahead of time to avoid touch points.
Concession stands won’t be open during the weekend, and there will be law enforcement in place at the track to ensure everyone on the property is abiding by social distancing policies. It’s a lot of extra worth, but Haney believes it’s all been worth it if a successful race weekend is the end result.
“We went through a lot of legal stuff to make sure it could happen, but the race is happening, 100 percent,” Haney said. “There’s a lot of things being done differently with things like registration and tech cards, but we’re just fortunate we’ll be able to have the race and have spectators.”
There will be a pay-per-view option for the race, something Haney wanted to have since not all fans will be able to attend. It’s not ideal, but it’s Haney, Martin and their team making the most of what’s been a trying situation.
It’s been an arduous process for everyone, a lot of back and forth, and a wild range of emotions, but the final solution has Haney excited. He also knows the track — and everyone in attendance this weekend — must put their best foot forward.
“We know we’re going to be very well-watched,” Haney said. “A lot of people will be watching to see how it goes with us. But tracks can watch this, can this to their local government and show them how it can be done.”
Haney has been blown away with the reception from racers, teams and fans, which let him know the track is doing the right thing. He’s received an incredible amount of calls from teams inquiring about the event, and is expecting a tremendous Pro Mod field to kick off the MWPMS season.
Considering all that’s taken place over the last two months during this public health crisis, just getting to this point is a victory and Haney can’t wait to see how the weekend goes.
“It’s very important for us to have this race,” Haney said. “Todd and I both believe everything has to start somewhere, and we’re truly fortunate Tulsa decided to open up a little earlier than some place. But it’s important to start to get back in the swing of things as long as you’re doing it safely, and that’s going to be the case here. We’re definitely excited.”