The Throw Down marked the first time both KHR Lucas Oil/RacingJunk.com Chevrolet Camaros raced in the same event.
“That was fun – and a lot of work,” Haney said. “Plus, we entertained our local fans. But it was absolutely outstanding weekend for Keith Haney Racing.”
Notorious qualified No. 1 in the Mid-West Pro Mod Series race with a pass of 3.756 seconds at 201.64 mph, while Enigma qualified No. 2 with a run of 3.914 seconds at 193.40 mph.
Haney won in the first and second round with Notorious, and then things got interesting.
“We cooked a piston and had to replace a head,” Haney said. “We had to replace it in less than 40 minutes. We did just that.”
But unfortunately, after initially thinking the starter was hung up, tuners Pesz and Brandon Switzer and the team discovered the torque converter bolts had backed out. Three bolts broke off, one bolt was stripped and three could tighten.
But Haney’s crew was determined to fix the problem, working until the last minute before his semifinal matchup with Jonas Aleshire – and then some.
“It took longer than what we had anticipated,” Haney said. “They pulled over and waited. At the end of the day, all they cared about was racing. They could’ve taken the Tree, taken the round win and gone on to the finals. But they were stand-up guys and believe in the Mid-West Pro Mod Series, and we had well over 35,000 fans over the two days, and these guys wanted to race. That’s all they cared about. I’ve got a lot of respect for that team waiting on us.
“A lot of the time they were working on the car, I was inside, fully buckled up with my helmet on. They waited 15 minutes longer than they should’ve. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous.”
Haney finally fired the car and did his burnout. But something was amiss.
“I told my guys on the radio, ‘I’m hearing a bunch of clanking,’” Haney said. “My crew chief, Brandon Pesz, said, ‘Send that sonofabitch.’”
Haney figured the engine was “going to the moon” as soon as he launched, but Notorious took off with no issues. Soon, though, as the lockup came in, every bolt from the torque converter broke, sending sparks flying and Notorious left as Haney slowed to regain control.
Haney lost, but he knew the car was strong.
“First Mid-West Pro Mod Series race, we got to the semis, and the car was perfect,” Haney said. “We had the fastest car on the property. Had that incident not happened, we would’ve kicked their asses. They all know it.”
Enigma was fast, too, but Pesz ran unto some poor luck in his matchup with Mark Mickie. While Pesz had a decent .038-second reaction time, Mickie pulled off a .001 light that helped him overcome Pesz’s slightly quicker pass.
Pesz made a run of 3.960 seconds at 191.38 mph, but Mickie won with a pass of 3.963 seconds at 205.85 mph.
“Mark Mickie did a good job of not red-lighting,” Haney said. “Mark ends up red-lighting in the final round.”
“Brandon Pesz drove it and did an outstanding job. He just rocked it.”
So did Pesz, Switzer and the entire KHR team. Preparing and racing two cars in different classes is a difficult task, but they were up to the task.
“Brandon Switzer did a remarkable job tuning with Brandon Pesz,” Haney said. “They had a good weekend. I couldn’t believe all the guys, too. It was an amazing effort by my crew.
“We had great fans, and all our sponsors were just ecstatic. The show went off great, and we were done. A great outing for Keith Haney Racing.”
Haney will head to the next Mid-West Pro Mod Series race, at Gateway Motorsports Park on , while he sits third in the points standings.