ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Sept. 7) – Keith Haney Racing experienced the gamut of emotions during qualifying for ADRL’s Dragstock X on Saturday at Rockingham Dragway.
For starters, team owner Keith Haney failed to qualify for the race in his RacingJunk.com/Lucas Oil Camaro, but Haney then watched as his other car, the RacingJunk.com/Lucas Oil Camaro driven by Erica Enders-Stevens, bumped its way into the top 16 in the final qualifying session.
Enders-Stevens’ spot wasn’t secure, though, and she was knocked out of the field soon after her run. However, Tim Savell, one of the two drivers who moved her out of the top 16, crashed in his Q3 pass. Savell will be unable to make the call for Sunday’s eliminations, putting Enders-Stevens in the field at No. 16.
“I was excited that we could get the car from point A to point B,” Enders-Stevens said of her Q3 pass, which was 4.071 seconds at 187.08 mph. “So far that’s my quickest run in the car: 187 mph is pretty dang good in an eighth of a mile. I’m really excited for the team.”
But then her heart sank when two cars went quicker and then sunk even more when Savell hit the wall after his pass.
“All the excitement went out the window when Tim crashed because we wanted to make sure he was all right,” Enders-Stevens said. “Being a new driver in Pro Mod, that’s not exactly something I like to see: a veteran crashing. It goes to show what a challenge these cars are to handle.
“But at the end of the day, we’re all safe and we get to race on Sunday. That’s what’s important for our team.”
Haney, unfortunately, was unable to get his Camaro down the track in Saturday’s three qualifying sessions, as he was struck by different issues in each run,
“It was a tough day for both of us but it was probably tougher for me,” said Haney, who failed to qualify for the first time this season. “The first one we shook, and the second one we blew the tires off. We had a mistake by the driver, but we blew the tires right off the hit, so it wouldn’t have mattered if I had been dead on my game. Then the last pass we had a team malfunction, and I sounded like a popcorn machine going down the racetrack because I didn’t have enough nitrous.”
After Haney disappointingly crawled out of his car, he watched for Enders-Stevens’ run, which was a solid pass.
“I’m jumping up and down and Rickie Smith goes, ‘What are you doing?’ ” Haney said. “I said, ‘She went down the racetrack.’ I saw the chutes come out and said, ‘Oh, yeah! I don’t know what she ran but yeah!’
“I’m jumping up and down, don’t know what the heck to do. I’m ticked off because I’m not in, but I’m happier than hell and hoping she’s in.”
Enders-Stevens, too, was happy with the run but hopes to improve on Sunday against No. 1 qualifier Chris Rini, whose best lap was 3.876 seconds at 190.59 mph.
“We got back to our baseline with this car,” Enders-Stevens said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to tune from there for tomorrow. There’s no reason why we can’t run better. That Q3 run felt really soft. They can definitely hop it up a little bit and hopefully tomorrow is a good day. We have to face the No. 1 qualifier, but I’ve seen stranger things happen on Sunday. We’ll go in with a positive outlook and see what we can do.”