Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Haney ‘Humbled and Blown Away’ by NHRA Pro Mod Debut

TULSA, OK (May 21, 2018) – At least they know his name now. Despite recording a DNQ this past weekend in his NHRA E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Series debut, veteran drag racer Keith Haney left Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, KS, having made his presence felt and feeling thoroughly encouraged by the experience.
The Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties opened for Haney with a ceremonial reveal of his new Summit Racing Equipment 2016 Camaro owned and
prepared by three-time NHRA Pro Mod World Champion Rickie Smith. Fans and media alike were wowed by the aggressive red-white-and-blue scheme that screamed Keith Haney Racing and prominently displayed his unique “You Know My Name” catch phrase on the car’s doors.
“Chris Davis and his guys at Kryptonite Kustomz did a great job on the wrap and gave me and Summit a look like no other in all of NHRA,” Haney stated. “It’s loud and in your face, just like I am sometimes, and I think it kind of stole the show, at least during qualifying.    
“But seriously, I can’t thank NHRA and Summit Racing enough for all the hospitality and attention they showed me there,” he added. “To be honest, I was humbled and blown away by the reception we got there from the other Pro Mod drivers, fans, media, even drivers from other classes, who all came up and let me know they were happy to see us out there.”
Haney singled out NHRA Vice President of Racing-Administration Josh Peterson and announcers Brian Lohnes
and Lewis Bloom for their support, and reserved special appreciation for the Fox Sports crew and NHRA staff working the top end of the track who never failed to greet him after each run.
“It was so cool, they would come up to me asking, ‘What’s your name?’ and then explain they’d been watching me race for years in Radial vs. the World and with the Mid-West Pro Mod Series. I was so impressed by their knowledge of the sport beyond NHRA and how dedicated they are to the sport in general,” Haney said.
After earning his NHRA advanced-elapsed-time competition license just a week earlier at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, a facility he co-owns with fellow racer Todd Martin, Haney was first down the track with a solo pass in Pro Mod qualifying Friday afternoon in Topeka. In his first true full quarter-mile pass under power he promptly laid down a solid 5.90-seconds pass at 245.60 miles per hour, easily the quickest and fastest he’d ever been.
Still, despite placing 9th when Q1 wrapped up, the Tulsa-
based new car dealership owner wasn’t satisfied with his performance, recognizing he has a lot to learn about the nuances of covering a quarter mile at speeds approaching 250 mph. After primarily racing the eighth mile the last three decades, Haney said Smith stressed how crucial it is to remain in “the groove” at high speed, especially over the second half of the track.
“The track isn’t prepped to the same degree down there and in that first qualifying pass I was over driving the car,” Haney freely admitted. “The groove narrows down quite a bit and it’s like ice if you get over toward the edges. You know Rickie doesn’t pull any punches and he told me later I was lucky to get away with that one. But I feel very fortunate to have people like Rickie and my crew chief, Brandon Switzer, out there with me. These guys have done everything there is to do in Pro Mod, so yeah, I listened to their advice.”
When round two of qualifying arrived, Haney lined up beside veteran Mike Janis and posted an early shutoff 6.26 at
178.10 mph, later explaining he ran into the same “over-driving” tendency from his first pass.
“Had I not overdrove the car in Q2 it was on track for a high-.84, low-.85 pass, so that was on me and I can’t be upset about not qualifying because I just didn’t do the best job I could as a driver,” he said. “And I’m fine with that, or I should say I’m fine with the reason. Obviously I wanted to qualify, but I also realize there’s a learning curve I’ve got to follow.”
Regardless, Haney remained 14th of 24 entries when Friday drew to a close and said he appreciated the advice and encouragement of several NHRA veterans, including several Pro Mod drivers and Topeka’s number-one qualifier in Top Fuel, Clay Millican.
“Clay told me how excited he was to see me and said I was like a breath of fresh air for the NHRA. He was very complimentary of my arrival on the scene and I really appreciated him taking the time to visit,” Haney stressed. “I
also found out that 98 percent of the Pro Mod guys are very welcoming and happy to see me and a big sponsor like Summit enter the class, but I also discovered there’s still that one or two percent who don’t want you there, who are jealous or whatever. But that’s their problem, I can’t worry about that.”
On Saturday, Haney was scheduled to make his third qualifying attempt alongside Todd Tutterow, but opted to shut down his nitrous-boosted, Pat Musi-built engine when the nitrous gauges showed no pressure after his burnout. Smith and Switzer quickly dove in to diagnose the problem, but Tutterow rolled forward and pre-staged, forcing Haney to abort the attempt and leaving Smith fuming.
“Rickie was like a papa bear, not happy at all; there was a lot of drama on the starting line,” Haney revealed. “Everything was working, the purges were working, but there was nothing on the gauges so I didn’t want to mess up someone else’s engine. It’s not my car, so doing something bad to it was not okay with me. I wasn’t about to let go of the button not knowing what might happen. Rickie and Brandon both said they would’ve gone, but Rickie later said if he was in my position he’d have done the same thing so I know it was the right decision.”
That left only the fourth and final qualifying session to run, with Haney paired up with Doug Winters, another long-term veteran of the series. Haney got away quick, but a significant engine explosion ended his run less than 100 feet down track. Haney dispelled any notion of it being a tuning error, however, explaining the fireworks originated in the car’s transmission.
“I let go of the button, the car was going straight, everything was looking good, and then the reverser broke. When that happened it made the motor hit the high-side chip and it backfired, but it wasn’t a nitrous backfire,” he emphasized. “It’s too bad, too, because Brandon had it pegged for a 5.81, maybe .82, somewhere in that area, which would’ve put me solidly in the show, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“But you know what? The text messages and a couple of phone calls I got after qualifying from the racers themselves
was absolutely awesome. They reminded me not to pay attention to the haters out there,” Haney said. “I mean, I know I’m a cocky guy and I invite some of that myself, but it was great to hear that support from NHRA racers who really know what we’re up against. And I promise you, it’ll be a totally different outcome the next time because I’m going to implement some new things before I even get there.”
Haney confirmed he and his NHRA team will be even more prepared for success their next time out in September before heading to Gateway Motorsports Park, near St. Louis. He also will race in NHRA Pro Mod the next month at the Texas Motorplex, south of Dallas.
“This weekend wasn’t a total loss because even though we didn’t qualify, Summit was happy, Strange Engineering was happy, Lucas Oil was happy. It’s not always just about qualifying and winning,” Haney concluded. “It’s about how much people were paying attention, how much they were talking about you, how much value you bring to the table, how much they like you, and in that respect I think we hit it out of the ballpark.”
Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Keith Haney Racing (www.keithhaneyracing.com) fields two cars in the Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS), as well as for select NHRA and PDRA races and one-off special events. Keith Haney Racing appreciates the support of sponsors Summit Racing Equipment, Lucas Oil, Strange Engineering, RacingJunk.com, Reher-Morrison Racing Engines, MoTeC Systems USA, Switzer Dynamics, Brandon Pesz Performance & Tuning, M&M Transmission, Menscer Motorsports, Total Seal, Mickey Thompson, Kryptonite Kustomz, Browell Bellhousing, and Larry Jeffers Race Cars.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Haney Earns NHRA License, Prepares for NHRA Pro Mod Debut

TULSA, OK (May 16, 2018) – After more than three decades in drag racing, Tulsa businessman Keith Haney is ready to step onto the biggest stage of his career. This weekend (May 18-20), Haney will make his NHRA E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Series debut during the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, KS.
Haney will drive a 2015 Summit Racing Camaro owned by three-time NHRA Pro
Mod World Champion Rickie Smith, with its nitrous-assisted, Pat Musi-built powerplant tuned by Brandon Switzer. He also plans additional NHRA Pro Mod appearances in September at St. Louis and the following month in Dallas, TX.
“I couldn’t be any more excited about this,” Haney declared. “To have Summit Racing Equipment on my side and driving for Rickie Smith and Brandon Switzer, well, I really couldn’t ask for anything better. And this is the exact same car Rickie won with earlier this year down in Gainesville (FL), so it’s a proven winner—just like I am.”
A veteran of eighth-mile Pro Mod and drag radial racing, Haney spent last
Thursday at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, a facility he co-owns with fellow drag racer Todd Martin, testing with his new ride and team while simultaneously earning his quarter-mile NHRA competition license.
“I won’t lie, it was challenging,” he admitted. “The winds were pretty strong that day; I had never driven a Jerry Bickel(-built) car before, so I sat a little different in it and the gas pedal was a little different from my cars; it had a transmission setup that I hadn’t used in years; and I hadn’t run the quarter mile in at least 10 years, which was back in my Top Sportsman days. Really, it was just a combination of little things that all added up to a lot more to think about.
“So I had some challenges and made a couple of missteps starting out, but my lights were great and Rickie and his guys were really helpful in every way and I was able to get it done. I ended up going 6.23 at 190 miles an hour, which even though I shut it off early was still the quickest I’d ever been in a quarter mile. And then at night I ran again and again lifted a little too early, but that’s okay because I went 6.12 to satisfy my two passes for the NHRA license.”
With that challenge met, Haney returned his attention to racing “Enigma,” his nitrous-boosted 2016 Camaro in Radial vs. the World with the Frankenstein Engine Dynamics Mid-West Pro Mod Series during the weekend’s Throw Down in T-Town event. He qualified second for the race, but fell with traction trouble in round one of racing against Mark Woodruff.
Haney normally would have raced “Notorious,” a nearly identical appearing car in Pro Mod, too, but instead lent it out to veteran racer Jim Sackuvich after Sackuvich suffered an accident during Thursday’s pre-race test session. Fortunately Sackuvich was uninjured, but his own nitrous-boosted ’69 Camaro wound up on its roof shortly past the Tulsa finish line.
“Jim is a great friend who has always supported me and the Mid-West Pro Mod
Series just like he supports his own team, so I just saw this as an opportunity to help him out and promote the sport, too,” the defending MWPMS Pro Mod champion explained.
Beyond learning the car, Haney said he also was left feeling very impressed by the way Smith runs his race team, adding it gave him ideas to implement for his own Keith Haney Racing crew, also led by Switzer and Brandon Pesz.
“Truthfully, it really was something to see how organized Rickie and his team is,” Haney said. “The reason why he’s a champion is because he’s a champion before he even leaves his house to go to a race. He’s so meticulous. I mean, you can eat off of every piece of the darn race car.
“Seriously, the attention to detail is really something to see and that even
extends to the top end of the track and all that they do even before we leave to go back to the pits. Rickie operates his team totally as a business and to be honest, I’m more than impressed.”
With the Throw Down in the history books, Haney is now focusing all attention on the coming weekend in Topeka. The car he’ll be driving was in Rickie Smith Racing colors for his licensing runs, but Kryptonite Kustomz in Broken Arrow, OK, was busy this week applying a unique, red-white-and-blue Summit Racing wrap that Haney recently described to NHRA’s Lewis Bloom as “cocky,” to further bolster his confidence in entering the ultra-competitive NHRA Pro Mod arena.
“When we come out they’re going to know my name, I can promise you that,” he concluded.              

Photos courtesy KHR/E3 Xtreme/Red’s Drag Racing Photos/Ricky Ritchie

Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Keith Haney Racing (www.keithhaneyracing.com) fields two cars in the Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS), as well as for select NHRA and PDRA races and one-off special events. Keith Haney Racing appreciates the support of sponsors Summit Racing Equipment, Lucas Oil, Strange Engineering, RacingJunk.com, Reher-Morrison Racing Engines, MoTeC Systems USA, Switzer Dynamics, Brandon Pesz Performance & Tuning, M&M Transmission, Menscer Motorsports, Total Seal, Mickey Thompson, Kryptonite Kustomz, Browell Bellhousing, and Larry Jeffers Race Cars.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

MWPMS Ready to Throw Down in T-Town

TULSA, OK (May 8, 2018) – The Frankenstein Engine Dynamics Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) is returning to Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park this
weekend (May 11-12), for the Throw Down in T-Town, the third event in a nine-race schedule for the MWPMS this year.
Anchoring the all-eighth-mile MWPMS Throw Down will be the double-barreled assault of its Pro Modified and Radial vs. the World classes, with additional competition in MX235 and X275 drag radial, Pro Street, 6.0 Index and 7.99 Open, a special appearance by Outlaw Gassers, plus two Jr. Dragster classes piloted by kids aged 8 to 17 years.
“The Throw Down at T-Town has something for everyone, whether you love to see doorslammers going over 200 miles an hour in 3.7 seconds, old-school
Gassers with their wheels-up launches, or all the kids and their families having fun and going head-to-head in Jr. Dragsters. It really is the complete drag racing show,” declares MWPMS owner, promoter and competitor Keith Haney, who also co-owns the Tulsa track with fellow MWPMS racer Todd Martin.
“The last time we were in Tulsa was last year for the Mid-West Pro Mod World Finals and anyone who was there will remember we had a great crowd, people had a great time, the cars were fast, and it was over at a good time, no dragging on forever into the night. And I fully expect the Throw Down in T-Town will be even better—although I did win the Pro Mod race and wrap up two championships here last October!”
After winning the season-opening MWPMS race in March at Dallas, Martin heads into the Throw Down in T-Town with the Pro Mod points lead, followed by Ron
Muenks, Jim Sackuvich, Jonas Aleshire and Jerry Hunt, who won last month at Bowling Green, KY. Defending class champion Haney also promises to be a contender at the Throw Down, as will Randy Merick, who is expected to show up with a brand-new, Larry Jeffers-built C3 Corvette.
In “Enigma,” his second of two nearly identical appearing nitrous-boosted 2016 Camaros, reigning champ Haney holds the current points lead for Radial vs. the
World, with Jeff Naiser second, Mark Micke third, Daniel Pharris fourth, and Tim Slavens rounding out the top five. Meanwhile, the remainder of the RvW field reads like a who’s who of the radial racing world, including the likes of DeWayne Mills, Mark Woodruff, Taylor Lastor, Jody Voyles and David Adkins, among others.
The MWPMS X275 points lead currently belongs to Shane Heckel, with Kenny Hubbard, Jimmy White, Todd Moyer and Marty Chance stacked up close behind.
“Every one of our classes features good, tight racing,” Haney stresses. “It really is second to none and the Throw Down in T-Town is always one of our biggest and best events of the year. We’re expecting a lot of new cars and teams coming out, too. There’ll probably be 30 or more Pro Mods trying to qualify for the 16-car field; we’ll likely see about a dozen trying to make it down to eight for the Radial vs. the World class; and X275 will no doubt have about 35 to 40 entries. There’s also an Open Comp class that’s open to everyone, dragsters or door cars, it doesn’t matter, so I expect that’ll be full, too. It’s going to be a great show.”
Haney also revealed he will be making the first test hits in his new NHRA Pro Mod ride on Friday afternoon.
“It won’t have its spectacular red, white and blue Summit Racing wrap on it yet, but we will be testing our Rickie Smith Racing Camaro at the Throw Down in preparation for my NHRA Pro Mod debut a week later up in Topeka,” Haney said. “So we’re all pretty excited about that and looking forward to sharing the next chapter for Keith Haney Racing with all of our Tulsa fans.”
Spectator gates for the Throw Down in T-Town will open at 5 p.m. Friday (May 11) at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, with two complete rounds of Pro classes qualifying scheduled for 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. starts. Saturday’s spectator gates will open at 9 a.m., with on-track action beginning one hour later. Round 3 of Pro class qualifying will start at noon, followed by the fourth and final Pro qualifying session at 2 p.m. with elimination rounds for all classes to begin at 5 p.m. Free tickets to the Throw Down in T-Town at Tulsa Raceway Park are available at several nearby retailers or by visiting the track’s Web site: www.tulsaracewaypark.com.              

-- END --
Photos courtesy MWPMS

The Frankenstein Engine Dynamics Mid-West Pro Mod Series is an all-eighth-mile, no-profit organization that typically competes during each host track’s biggest event of the year. Its appearance is entirely funded by sponsorships passed along to benefit the host tracks (typically about $10,000). The Mid-West Pro Mod Series also provides trackside sponsor banners to be displayed at each event, on-site PA sponsor announcements, and links to each company on the MWPMS website (www.MidWestProModSeries.com), plus an extensive social-media presence, texts and e-mail blasts, and commercials during all events. Complete class rules are posted on the MWPMS website. Frankenstein Engine Dynamics (www.Frankensteined.net) offers access to a professional install shop with a multitude of services including custom CNC porting and machine work, chassis dyno, engine dyno, Spintron, and additional customer service and support.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Haney Hoping for Strong Showing at Throw Down in T-Town

TULSA, OK (May 1, 2018) – After enduring a challenging weekend with the Frankenstein Engine Dynamics Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) late last
month in Bowling Green, KY, Keith Haney is looking forward to attending Throw Down in T-Town at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, his hometown track in Tulsa.
“It’s always good to go home,” said Haney, who co-owns the historic drag racing venue with fellow MWPMS competitor Todd Martin. “But especially when we have to get back to doing what we do best, which is draggin’ asses and winning races.”
Haney explained his Keith Haney Racing team was short-handed in Kentucky with only three team members joining him and crew chief Brandon Pesz at Beech Bend Raceway Park, while co-crew chief Brandon Switzer called in his tune-up from Charlotte due to prior commitments.  
“It definitely made it challenging running two cars with half my crew, but that’s not really what bit us in the end,” he added. “More than anything we were the victim of parts failure.”
Haney races a pair of nearly identical appearing 2016 Camaros in the all-eighth-mile MWPMS, with “Notorious” entered in Pro Mod competition and “Enigma” his
ride of choice for Radial vs. the World. Both were back in the trailer after just one round of competition at promoter Tyler Crossnoe’s Outlaw Street Car Reunion V.
“We only got to make one qualifying pass in Radial vs. the World, but fortunately it was a great one; we ran 3.78 at exactly 200 miles per hour, which made us number one up until the last session,” Haney said. “We ended up third, which put us up against DeWayne Mills the first round, where we had an issue with the converter that only allowed us to run an .83 while he ran an .81, so we just didn’t run the number that we needed.”
Haney then explained that “Notorious” experienced a major timing malfunction in round two of Pro Mod qualifying that led to a huge explosion and seriously damaged seven of eight cylinders in its nitrous-boosted engine. However, rival team owners Jim Sacuvich and Dave Pierce, along with several of their crew members pitched in to make repairs and at least give Haney a chance.
“Jim himself was putting the new pistons and rods together while my crew chief, Brandon Pesz, was putting the rings on, and we had the Dave’s RV camp over and helping with the distributor. Jeff Pierce helped us get the distributor back together.”
The explosion not only damaged the engine, but burned up the car’s windshield, too.
“I could barely see out of it after that,” Haney said. “So for the third and final qualifying I went up there against Jim Cunningham and I could see straight ahead, but not at the tree very well, all I could see was when the staging lights got brighter when I turned them on, I couldn’t see the lights themselves.”
Relying on crew member instructions over the radio, Haney said he deep-staged for his final qualifying attempt and hit the gas only after hearing Cunningham leave. Fortunately, reaction time doesn’t matter in qualifying, but deep-staging does hurt the elapsed time.
“We went 3.84, which put us 14th on the list, but really the incremental times showed it should’ve been a .78 run. I rolled in so deep I just killed all the numbers, but at least we got it in the show,” Haney recalled.
Down on internal vacuum pressure, Haney knew his engine was still hurting, though, which led to him losing the opening round of Pro Mod eliminations to Wayne Roberts. “I had him at the tree, had him at the 60-foot; I was rollin’ good and then—BOOM!—it blew up again and he went around me.”
After recognizing it was a disappointing outing, Haney remained upbeat about his season going forward.
“You know what? Since last year when we won two championships and all through the start of this year where we’ve been winning races and going to finals almost every time out, we were due for a bad race. It happens. Now that it’s out of the way and we’ve got everything fixed up, we’re ready for the Throw Down in T-Town, where I’ll be back to draggin’ their asses some more. They got lucky in Bowling Green because I had some motor malfunctions, otherwise I’d have taken it all,” he stated.
“Seriously, I’m really excited about what’s coming up. The Throw Down is always an exciting race and then the next week I’ll be making my NHRA Pro Mod debut at (Topeka KS) with the new Summit Racing car, and the week after that I’ll be back in St. Louis with both ‘Notorious’ and ‘Enigma’ for the Mid-West Pro Mod Series there. We’ve got a lot of great racing coming up and we’re ready to roll.”

Photo by James Sisk Photography
Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Keith Haney Racing (www.keithhaneyracing.com) fields two cars in the Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS), as well as for select NHRA and PDRA races and one-off special events. Keith Haney Racing appreciates the support of sponsors Summit Racing Equipment, Lucas Oil, Strange Engineering, RacingJunk.com, Reher-Morrison Racing Engines, MoTeC Systems USA, Switzer Dynamics, Brandon Pesz Performance & Tuning, M&M Transmission, Menscer Motorsports, Total Seal, Mickey Thompson, Kryptonite Kustomz, Browell Bellhousing, and Larry Jeffers Race Cars.