KEITH HANEY ORCHESTRATES NEW VENUE FOR MIDWEST PRO MODS
Keith Haney doesn't hesitate when it comes to professing his love for Pro Modified racing.
The veteran doorslammer racer who has raced Pro Nitrous, Pro Modified and even bolted slicks on a Pro Modified-style car and drag raced with 10.5-inch drag radials. He's a successful automobile dealership owner as well as a drag strip co-owner.
Such a breakneck schedule, coupled with the rigors of successful businesses would be enough to wear down the most seasoned road warrior.
One thing can be said for Haney is if he's anything, he's resourceful.
Haney has been a regular on the PDRA tour for the last few seasons, but with the popular eighth-mile drag racing series starting to lean more toward the east coast, he decided to give his fellow doorslammer racers an opportunity to gain more race dates.
"PDRA has decided to stay on the East Coast, and as much as we love racing the PDRA, it’s hard for us to travel 16 hours to a race," Haney explained. "So I just got with a group of guys, and I said, ‘You know what, why don’t we start our own deal?"
Haney has created the Mid-west Pro Modified Association, and by accounts in the early going, is on its way to a successful run.
"I just figured out a way to make it work for the race track," said Haney, who is a co-owner of Osage Tulsa Raceway Park. "It’s non-profit, so it has nothing to do with us. The only thing we do is we bring the race track money, like sponsorship, that’s all we do, kind of like the Real Pro Mod group does in NHRA.
"We bring our money to the race track, and the racetrack guarantees the purse, does all that, gets all the entry fees, does everything. We absolutely make not a penny. And it’s just because there were so many of us on this side when they stopped coming over to our side of the country; it made it hard for us to go over there, so we just started our own."
Haney says there aren't any other classes than just Pro Modified in this group.
"Every car races each other," Haney explained. "We’re screws [superchargers], roots [superchargers], nitrous, turbos, pro chargers all run together. We figured out a way to make a screw fit the category. So now we’ve got a lot of screw guys that’s been running PDRA and some other series all changing their combination over to be able to run with us, and now we’re all running everything, the way it started from the original days. Everybody runs everybody just like in the original days."
How does one keep parity in such a free for all?
Haney says simply, performance must be limited and one shows out at their own expense. There's an understood regulation which says cars are limited to a 3.73 eighth-mile unless they want their combination's rules adjusted.
"That sounds like an index class because it kind of is," Haney explained. "But if you go faster than a .73, we’re going to look at the combination and see what we have to do to change. More than likely it wouldn’t be in weight because that gets it unsafe."
Haney confirmed the group has brought in David Cook, once a member of the American Drag Racing League when it was a competitive Pro Modified series.
"He techs the car and marks the pulley on the front so the screw [supercharged racers] can’t change in between rounds because they can change a pulley real quick. He marks it, and he gets them set up in the lanes. He goes down to the weight station, and when they get done, or when they come across the scales, he's there weighing them to make sure everything’son the up and up."
Haney believes with more and more Pro Modified entries being built and the challenges of racing these cars closer to home, there could be a growth of more regional series just like the Midwest Pro Modified group.
"I think that’s probably going to happen," Haney admitted. "I talked to Bob Harris, and I said, ‘You know what would be a good idea? Mid-West against PDRA."
"If we could figure out a way to come together to make the sport better. If you take a look at what Wes Buck did with his Superbowl, you look at NHRA; they got full fields every time, people begging to get in. You look at all that; you take a look at the Shakedown, they had less Pro Mods than they’ve ever had. But they’re quarter-mile racing. It’s hard to get a big tire car that’s been set up for the eighth mile to go quarter mile. So hopefully they think of the idea. But I think it’s going to change."
And for Haney, smaller more regionalized Pro Mod shows would be a good place to start.