Posts Tagged Rockingham

Enders-Stevens, Keith Haney Racing make improvements in Rockingham

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ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Sept. 8) – RacingJunk.com/Lucas Oil driver Erica Enders-Stevens dropped a first-round matchup Sunday against the Pro Mod No. 1 qualifier, but her Keith Haney Racing team made marked progress during ADRL’s Dragstock X at Rockingham Dragway.

Pro Mod cars are notoriously difficult to get a handle on, and with a new, lighter driver they become more recalcitrant. But Haney, Lethal Acceleration’s Brandon Pesz, and the team made the right adjustments to allow Enders-Stevens to get down the track on two consecutive runs, including Sunday’s pass in hot, slick conditions.

“We’re making progress,” Enders-Stevens said. “We’ve been fighting the car for a few weeks, but we made a good run last night and then getting down a 135-degree racetrack today was a feat in itself. Of course we wanted to win, but we took a good swing at it.

“I’m proud of the team. We put our heads down and worked through it, and we won’t give up. It’s encouraging to improve like that.”

The team made an adjustment for Sunday’s hotter conditions, and Enders-Stevens made a clean pass of 4.161 seconds at 185.64 mph, but that wasn’t enough to overcome No. 1 qualifier Chris Rini’s pass of 3.954 at 189.26 mph.

Now, though, the team has something to build on for the ADRL season finale in Houston at Enders-Stevens’ home track.

“I look forward to maybe some more testing and then heading to Houston for the final ADRL race,” Enders-Stevens said. “Thanks to RacingJunk.com and Lucas Oil for helping us get here. I’m appreciative of Keith and all of his guys for the opportunity to drive their hot rod.”

Team owner Keith Haney, who failed to qualify for Sunday’s eliminations, was appreciative of Enders-Stevens and the attention the five-time NHRA Pro Stock winner brought to his team and sponsors.

“The crowd loved her,” Haney said. “She sold out all of her hats and we sold out of T-shirts. ADRL and Kenny Nowling made us feel so welcome. She was on the cover of the local paper here, which was pretty cool.

“We need to step back and regroup with my car and look at some of the things we’re doing. We need to get better.”

Enders-Stevens in at No. 16 after crazy day for Keith Haney Racing

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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.”

Enders-Stevens returns to Keith Haney Racing for final two ADRL races

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TULSA, Okla. (Aug. 25) – Drag racing star Erica Enders-Stevens will be back in Keith Haney Racing’s Pro Mod Camaro for the final two ADRL events of the 2013 season, team owner Keith Haney announced on Sunday.

Enders-Stevens will race in Dragstock X on Sept. 6-8 at Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, N.C., and then in her hometown event, the World Finals IX, on Oct. 19-20 at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas. Brandon Pesz of Lethal Acceleration will continue as crew chief.

Enders-Stevens, a native of Houston, raced for Haney in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this month,
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marking the first time she drove a nitrous-powered race car. The five-time NHRA winner qualified for this year’s Countdown to the Championship in Pro Stock, but her Cagnazzi Racing team has been sidelined because of lack of sponsorship.

“I’m really excited to have been invited back to drive for Keith,” Enders-Stevens said. “That was a really fun opportunity in Memphis, and given some more time in the car it will only get better. I’m glad to be going back.”

Haney, Enders-Stevens’ car owner and teammate, was overwhelmed by the response she got in Memphis, giving additional exposure to Keith Haney Racing sponsors Lucas Oil, Pro Torque, Racing Junk, Monroe Guest Motorsports, Regional Hyundai, Suburban Chevrolet, Classic Chevrolet, Miami Chevrolet Buick GMC, Nissan of Muskogee, and Tulsa Raceway Park.

“It was really, really good for her and good for Sportsman racing,” Haney said. “It was amazing for us, too. We just keep growing.”

Haney hopes to continue capitalizing on Enders-Stevens’ popularity through social media and fan interaction.

“It’s good for the sport,” Haney said. “It’s good for Keith Haney Racing, it’s good for our sponsors.”

Plus, it’s good for the ADRL, and league co-founder Kenny Nowling knows it. He offered the team free entry and free testing for Enders-Stevens’ appearances in the remaining ADRL races.

It’s also good for Enders-Stevens, who loves racing in Houston. After the race in Memphis, she immediately inquired about racing again for Haney.

“She got out of the race car and said, ‘I’d love to drive again,’ ” Haney said. “I said, ‘OK. What race would you like to drive?’ She said, ‘I’d like to drive in my hometown.’ ”

Houston has always been special for her, as it was the site of her first national event victory, in Super Gas in 2004.

“I’m so glad to be going back home,” Enders-Stevens said. “We raced there in April and didn’t have the best of showings, so to be able to have another opportunity in a car with twice the horsepower is really cool. I’m looking forward to it.”

As an added bonus, husband Richie Stevens will be part of Haney’s crew in Rockingham.