TULSA, Okla. (Feb. 22) – Keith Haney and his Keith Haney Racing nearly pulled off the impossible at the Lights Out 8 Radial vs. the World event last weekend at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
After getting his repaired race car “Enigma” back from Larry Jeffers Race Cars hours before the Lights Out event, Haney qualified No. 4 raced all the way to the third round. It was a remarkable accomplishment for Haney, his team, Jeffers’ organization and everyone associated with Haney’s Lucas Oil/RacingJunk.com Chevrolet.
“In just two weeks the car was put together, and we rushed to make the race,” Haney said. “I also let the team know that the was no way for me to be there to test the car before Wednesday (of last week). I get there Wednesday and we still have things that need to be done, plus it had rained some, so it delayed our test session.”
When Haney finally got behind the wheel of Enigma, he was as nervous as an expectant parent.
“I was so nervous after crashing this car three times, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Haney said. “I then staged the car and let go of button, and at about 150 feet out, I lifted and drove it down track to make sure everything was OK.”
Enigma was fine, and tuner Brandon Pesz made some adjustments to get the car ready to go quicker for qualifying and eliminations.
“I was nervous again as I staged, but I let go of button and it goes straight down the track, running a (pass of) 3.915 (seconds) at 189.04 mph with no lockup,” Haney said. “The next day, we come up for Q2, which it was warmer, and we were still working out a few little issues, but we run a 3.920 at 195 mph. We were very happy with that – and still not trying to go overboard with tuneup.”
Q3 brought cooler conditions, so Haney and his team got more aggressive, with Enigma making a run of 3.815 at 198.76 mph – career-best pass for Haney. In the final qualifying session (Q5 was canceled), Haney made a pass of 3.92 196 mph in hotter conditions.
Haney faced Kye Kelley in the first round of eliminations and advanced with a run of 3.920 seconds at 193.21 mph.
Round 2 was the next day, when Haney faced Josh Becraft Klugger. Officials had just scraped the track surface, so neither run was great, but Haney advanced with a pass of 3.962 at 194.32 mph.
Haney’s friend Mark Woodruff was next up. Woodruff had been running well all weekend, so Haney’s team decided to add more nitrous bottle pressure in an attempt to go quicker. But that caused the rear tires to spin, which Motec Systems USA engine-management system to pull a huge amount of timing out of the engine. The system worked, but Haney’s day was over as he fell to Woodruff.
Still, it was quite the successful 2017 debut for Haney and Enigma.
“I have to give a huge shoutout to my crew: Cody Moore, Brandon Pesz, Andreas Sjödin, Dale Hancock, Cale Hancock, Trey Eberle, M.W, Chris and Beth Davis and Kim Pesz for all they work allowing us to have and almost perfect weekend,” Haney said. “I also want to say I have the best fans in the world, and thousands of you made your way to take pictures with me, buy KHR swag and shake hands with me. You made the weekend even better. I didn’t know I even had that many race fans, so, again THANK YOU!”
Haney also thanks all his sponsors, for without their support, his racing career wouldn’t be possible: Lucas Oil, Strange Engineering, Racepak Data, RacingJunk.com Classifieds, Five Star Race Car Bodies, Reher-Morrison Racing Engines, Motec Systems USA, Switzer Dynamics, Brandon Pesz Power Performance & Tuning, M&M Transmission, Menscer Motorsports LLC, Sander Engineering Inc, Drag Illustrated, Total Seal, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, Kryptonite Kustomz, LLC, Competition Plus, Duck X Productions and Larry Jeffers Race Cars.