CONCORD, N.C. (August 4) - Keith Haney Racing accomplished in two races what it took many teams several years: Winning a round in the American Drag Racing League.
Team owner Keith Haney drove his 2012 Chevrolet Camaro to a victory over Randy Weatherford in the first round of Dragstock IX at zMax Dragway on Saturday, his first round win in the ADRL.
And it was quite a victory, as Haney had to pedal the KeithHaneyRacing.com Camaro to the finish line. Haney, the No. 15 qualifier, left first with a .055-second reaction time and then got off and on the throttle twice before making a pass of 4.787 seconds at 120.51 mph, beating the run of 5.505 at 90.04 mph by the No. 2 qualifier.
"That first one was something else," Haney said. "The car left good, had a good 60-foot and she was moving. I had him on the Tree, too. The car got out there, the power came in, and I guess we were a little behind on the setup a little bit. It washed the rear end out, and I got sideways.
"I saw the blue (of Weatherford's car) out to my right, and then I saw it gone. I knew I had a chance to win, so I got excited. The adrenaline was going up inside me, and I hit the gas again. I should've eased into it, but, no, I went ahead and got into it again. It went back right again, and it got close to the center. So I reeled her back in and went down on the gas again, easily, and got lucky with a round win."
Haney then fell to No. 10 qualifier Doug Riesterer in the second round, when Riesterer blitzed the track with a pass of 3.836 at 195.28 mph, beating Haney's run of 4.088 seconds at 186.12 mph.
"We knew Riesterer hadn't really had a good showing this weekend, but we also know what he's capable of doing," Haney said. "When you race the best, you've got to beat them. We still didn't think the track was there, so I'm sure (crew chief) Jeff (Pierce) was conservative in the setup, knowing Riesterer hadn't really been down the track.
"I had him on the Tree, but the funny thing about it was he caught me at the 60-foot. Then after that, all I could see was tail lights."
Still, Haney was pleased with the continued progress of his two-car team, despite teammate Monroe Guest failing to qualify. That was a reverse from the team's first race, at Martin, Mich., when Guest made the race and Haney did not.
Martin was the first time the team's Reher-Morrison-powered Chevrolets attempted a race, and it came two-and-a-half months after Pierce began working on the new Stroupe Race Cars.
"I can't give enough props to the team," Haney said. "No mistakes on the team side today at all. Our first race, we had those - that's why I said we had the new team blues.
"Both cars ran respectably. We thought Monroe was going to be in, and that was exciting, but then Rickie Jones knocked him out with a 4.06. It left me in, and I was in in the 15th spot and had to run No. 2."
Guest was No. 13 after three of four qualifying sessions, but then four cars went faster in Q4, leaving Guest .015 seconds from making the race.
"It makes it really hard because we had a good chance last night to run a great number because the conditions were there, the temperature was there, the car was working really good," Guest said. "We came back out and made some adjustments for today. After we looked at the data, we felt like we needed to back it up a little bit and get it down the track. We felt like we'd probably be safe where we were at."
Still, Guest posted the team's top speed after two races, going 186.46 mph.
"We did pick up in the heat, which is very promising," Guest said. "However, not qualifying is one of the worst things you can do, other than wrecking your car. We'll go back and look at the data and make adjustments and be ready for the next race.
"The direction we need to go is probably focus a little more on chassis setup, maybe how the car is launching, try to get more off the starting line. At that point, some chassis adjustments will allow the car to pick up. The car needs to be in the .90s to be competitive. It really would be nice to be in the .80s, but we need to be consistently in the .90s."
Guest, like Haney, is pleased with the progress of the team and knows there is plenty of potential with both cars.
"This was the first time we ran our three-speed transmissions," Guest said. "The car felt good. I shook two out of four passes, and Keith shook two out of four passes, so we're kind of finding where our marginal line is to get down the track.
"It was a hot track, very tricky conditions. I think we made progress. We need to analyze what we've done, look at the runs where we didn't get down the track and see if there's any more adjustments we can do. We have the power, we have plenty of nitrous. Now, maybe we need to take a real hard look at the chassis setup and see if there's any tweaking we can do there to get the car through the shake zone better."
Haney and Guest race next at Memphis Drags III at Memphis International Raceway on Sept. 7-8.
"We had a good outing for our second race," Haney said. "Both cars are doing well. These Stroupe cars are good pieces, and Reher has given us some good motors to do something with. We've still got to find the chassis. We've got plenty of power, and we're having no mechanical problems on either one, but we haven't figured out the chassis setup yet.
"We'll go back home and do some testing to get ready for Memphis."
For more information go to KeithHaneyRacing.com.
Monday, August 6, 2012