Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pro Stock winner Enders-Stevens to drive for Keith Haney Racing in Memphis

Pro Stock winner Enders-Stevens to drive
for Keith Haney Racing in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (July 31) - Five-time NHRA Pro Stock winner Erica Enders-Stevens will drive for Keith Haney Racing in this weekend's ADRL Memphis Drags IV at Memphis International Raceway. Led by team manager John Collins, Keith Haney Racing will compete in the Pro Modified class in Memphis, with Enders-Stevens and Haney driving Chevrolet Camaros.

"It's good for Keith Haney Racing to have a racer of Erica's caliber sitting in the seat of one of the cars," Haney said. "It's big for me and big for her. She stays in front of the public eye with her stature and her reputation, and she gets to deliver to her fans and potential sponsors.

"My team couldn't be more excited, and it's a perfect fit for what we're doing."

Haney has ties to NHRA Pro Stock racing through fellow Oklahoman Mike Edwards, and several Pro Stock teams test at Tulsa Raceway Park, co-owned by Haney and Todd Martin.

Enders-Stevens, who won the NHRA Pro Stock race in Phoenix earlier this year, has been sidelined because of a lack of funding for the Cagnazzi Racing team, so when Haney asked if she could drive for him in Memphis, she jumped at the chance.

"He sent me an text telling me I could drive his Pro Mod car in Memphis if I wanted to," Enders-Stevens said. "I wrote him back with one word, 'Seriously?' "

Haney was serious, and after the two talked and Enders-Stevens got approval from Pro Stock car owner Victor Cagnazzi, the deal was done.

"It's a competitive car, and Keith has a first-class operation," Enders-Stevens said. "I remember being at ADRL races last year when Richie (Stevens, husband) was driving Extreme Pro Stock and just admiring how awesome his cars looked. Those two Camaros he has are really nice cars.

"I'm appreciative to Keith for the opportunity, and I'm excited to see what the weekend holds."

Haney, a driver/owner in ADRL and X-DRL, was looking for a driver since regular shoe Monroe Guest had shoulder surgery. When he first considered Enders-Stevens, he called Lethal Acceleration co-owner Brandon Pesz, who tunes Haney's race cars.

"She's good on the Tree and she can drive a race car," Haney said. "Brandon has known her since she was little, and he's from Texas. I called him first and said, 'Hey, if I offer Erica a ride in the car, what do you think?' He said, 'Get her in it. She can wheel any type of race car.'

"It's a one-race deal, and I'm sure she'll be back in a Pro Stock car very soon, but for now Keith Haney Racing is fortunate enough to have a five-time national event winner wheeling one of its Camaros."

Enders-Stevens is ready for the challenge, too.

"I've never driven a Pro Mod car, never driven a nitrous car," Enders-Stevens said. "It will definitely be a learning experience, and I'm sure the learning curve is significant, but it's nothing I can't handle.

"I'm going into it with an open mind. I give speeches to kids about following their dreams, jumping on every opportunity possible and not letting fear stand in the way of anything they do. I'm taking my own advice in this instance. I'm a professional race car driver, and I'll do the best I can. We'll see what happens."

Haney has the backing of Lucas Oil, a longtime supporter of his race team, as the two companies have worked together for many years. Haney uses Lucas Oil products in his race cars, and the company co-owned by Forrest and Charlotte Lucas has been a big proponent of Pro Mod racing.
Keith Haney
Erica Enders-Stevens

Monday, July 8, 2013





Haney incarKeith Haney and Ron Muenks had more in common than just being first-round Pro Mod competitors in the X-DRL X-treme Gateway Showdown--both were racing two cars in two classes at the same event for the first time in their careers. 

Haney was forced into double duty when veteran Pro Nitrous racer Doug Riesterer failed to show up at Gateway Motorsports Park, despite Haney saying there had been an agreement in place for several weeks for Riesterer to take over the 2012 Camaro that Haney's teammate Monroe Guest normally drives on the X-DRL trail.

"Monroe and I, we're both normally in Pro Mod, but we knew Monroe would be out of town this weekend, so Doug was supposed to be driving the black car here, but then some unforeseen issues prevented him from making it, I guess, so here I am driving the black car in Pro Nitrous, and I'm driving my car, the red car, in Pro Mod, too," explained Haney, who co-owns Tulsa Raceway Park with Pro Extreme racer Todd Martin. "The reason we have one in Pro Nitrous is just to give me time to get in and out of both cars; I can't race two cars in the same class."

For Muenks, who usually can be found behind the wheel of Dave Pierce's Pro Mod '68 Camaro, the opportunity to also drive the '68 Camaro Pro Nitrous entry owned by Jeff Cummins and driven by his son, Jeffrey Jr., came about when the Cummins clan had to attend a wedding this weekend.

"The car was pre-entered, so we thought, what the heck, let's give it a try," Muenks said.

After Muenks qualified third with a 3.959-seconds pass at 185.38 mph and Haney placed fourth with a 3.990 at 187.63, they were paired up in round one of eliminations for Pro Mod at Gateway. 

In the first pair out, Haney left first with a .017 holeshot, but the advantage was quickly gathered up when he lost traction and had to shut off early as Muenks streaked by to win in 3.961 seconds at 184.80 mph. Muenks went on to finish runner-up to Kevin Rivenbark's career-first Pro Mod win.

When it came time for the Pro Nitrous class to take the track, both Haney and Muenks made first-round exits, with Muenks falling to number-one qualifier Jeff Naiser and Haney losing to third-place starter Robert Mathis.

Muenks PNcarStill, both insisted that though it was a lot of extra work for them and their teams, racing two cars at one event was enjoyable and something they'd be happy to try again.

"The cars are a lot alike, so that makes it a lot easier. The biggest chore is I've got to take my seat out each time we swap cars; I've got to bring my gloves, my helmet, take everything out at the finish line, throw everything on the golf cart and then rush up to the trailer and switch everything over," Haney said. 

"But I'm having a ball. The extra seat time is always good, and really, we needed to get the black car down the track a few times and get some stuff sorted out, so doing this has really helped."

Muenks said the two cars he drove also were quite similar, pointing out that Pierce previously owned the Cummins' Camaro, "so everything was pretty much set up the same in there.

"It was very, very busy, but it was fun," he added. "I would definitely do it again."