Haney Overcomes Adversity at MWPMS Event in St. Louis
TULSA, OK – As much as he enjoys racing at the recently renamed World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, the historic drag strip directly across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis has not been particularly kind to Keith Haney in recent visits.
Last year, Haney missed qualifying for both the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) and NHRA Pro Mod Series events at Gateway, but the Tulsa-based new car dealer fared a little better this past weekend after overcoming some early adversity in Friday night’s MWPMS test session.
“We decided on Friday to make just one hit at the race track and thank God we did,” he said. Two weeks earlier at the most recent MWPMS event in Bowling Green, KY, Haney’s nitrous-injected 2014 Camaro experienced a transmission problem that caused the car’s rear slicks to lock up at speed in the shutdown area of the track. Initially, Haney thought he’d hit the transbrake button by mistake, so his crew made adjustments, but when rain moved in the next day and the race had to be canceled he missed any chance to test the repairs.
“It put me sideways there a couple times, but we really thought we had it fixed,” Haney said. “But then Friday I let go of the button, we go 3.77 at 200 miles an hour, and I stick it in neutral and it does the exact same thing.
“Fortunately, I was able to straighten the car up, get down to the turnoff, weigh the car, and head back to the pits. And then I just got out and I told everybody, ‘I will not drive this car one more pass like that. My life is more important than that race car–or than racing.'”
With obvious concern Haney’s trackside team went to work, led by crew chief Brandon Switzer and car chief Andrew Arnold, tearing out the transmission and taking it to the trackside pit of M&M Transmission’s Mark Micke.
“We actually stood there and watched him take it apart and ended up finding an issue,” Haney said. “I don’t want to go into what it was, but they did find an issue and fixed it, but it made it so we couldn’t make first round of qualifying.”
Regardless, Haney and his crew waited it out with renewed confidence. “We know our combination with this car. We’ve had enough passes in it, so we know what it can do,” he said. “So we just wait and I go up for Q2, I let go of the button, and head down the race track, go 3.77 at 201 miles an hour and qualified right in the show in the number-12 spot.”
In Saturday’s third-and-final round of qualifying, Haney said his Camaro carried a little too much ballast in the nose, which sent it into tire shake shortly after launching and spoiling the run. Still, he remained in 12th place and set to take on MWPMS rival Aaron Wells in round one of eliminations on Saturday afternoon.
“We go up for round one, I let go of the button, went neck-and-neck with him all the way to the eighth mile, maybe I’m just a little bit ahead of him, and end up blowing the motor. One of the rods just decided it didn’t want to be together anymore, had a little backfire, but pan back everything was good,” Haney said. “But at that point we elected to just spectate for the rest of the race.”
After congratulating Kevin Maddux on eventually winning the MWPMS race at Gateway, Haney said he’s already turned his attention to the Throwdown in T-Town, the next MWPMS event May 10-11, at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, the track he co-owns with fellow MWPMS competitor Todd Martin.
“We did have some problems again in St. Louis, but I’m proud of my guys for stepping up and figuring things out. And it’s never good to damage a motor like that, but at least we’ve got another bullet (engine) sitting there, so we’re getting ready for Tulsa,” Haney promised.
“And we’re still okay in the points. Our friend Jim Sakuvich moved up one spot ahead of us in points, but we’re still sitting good in fifth going into the Throwdown. We’ll be ready to roll and take care of some business at the Throwdown in T-Town.”