Straight Outta Tulsa Is The Still Notorious Keith Haney
Story & Photos by Rod Short
Back in the day, when names like Swamp Rat, California Flash, Georgia Shaker, Jungle Jim, Ohio George or the Blue Max came to town, it meant money in the promoter’s pockets. The names on those cars became legendary in the fan’s minds regardless of whom was behind the wheel.
None of that was lost on a young Keith Haney growing up as, in later life, monikers such as Notorious: Under Pressure and Enigma: Top Secret became known to later generations on his own race cars. Notorious was the Lucas Oil/RacingJunk.com Pro Mod, while Enigma was Haney’s drag radial race car. With social media making those names larger than life, the “You Know My Name” on the windows of each door now has the ring of familiarity.
Believing that drag racing has gotten away from what it was, Haney has felt that the fans relate to the car just as in NASCAR where Kyle Busch is known for the M&M’s car. That’s why just as much time and thought has gone into a name as much as it does the looks.
By coming up through the ranks in working at car dealerships, Haney learned the art of astute marketing, which includes demographic targeting, social media advertising and pulling deals together. Sensing opportunity, he’s successfully used those skills in business to use cross-marketing his race team to help create not only awareness for the Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) which he co-owns, but also for the multiple automotive dealerships he has an interest in.
Today, Haney’s latest ride is the 2020 Chevrolet Camaro that carries a sinister looking snakeskin wrap from Kryptonite Kustomz. Dubbed the Black Mamba, Haney and his wife Misty came up with the name during a brainstorming session while driving back from a race. Debuted in late 2019 at Memphis, this trick car was built to be adaptable to compete within both the Pro Mod and Radial vs. The World rules.
This wicked-looking Jerry Bickel built machine built features an ultra-lightweight carbon fiber body which covers a unique chassis that was designed and built with input from crew chief Brandon Switzer. Along with Switzer, Andrew Arnold, Dale and Cale Hancock, Shane Goodnight, his wife Misty and son Logan make up Haney’s super crew.
Situated under the carbon-fiber front end is a state-of-the-art Pat Musi-built 959-cubic inch engine. Working in conjunction with a Switzer Dynamics fuel injection system and a Motec M1 ignition box and dash, a Racepak V300 tracks the engine and chassis vitals. Engine torque is sent rearward by a Ty-drive with a 3-speed Lenco and Neal Chance converter to the Strange floating rear end. Weld wheels wrapped in Hoosiers make up the rolling stock.
With the stated goal of having the fastest Pro Mod car to ever go down a race trave, Haney ran a career best 3.663 at 204.73 in late 2020 after spending most of the year on the sidelines after an early-season crash at NMCA Bradenton.
Prior to joining the Pro Mod ranks, Haney spent the greater part of three decades racing in and around the Midwest before showing up in 2013 with a Reher & Morrison powered nitrous Camaro. Highlights from that time included a win at the semi-annual throw down at T-Town in Tulsa along with four-time Pro Stock champ Erica Enders and Street Outlaws star Daddy Dave Comstock spending some time behind the wheel.
As his notoriety on social media grew, Haney expanded his reach by racing in the ADRL’s Dragstock XI, No Mercy Drag Radial vs. the World, Light’s Out events in Georgia and the PSCA’s Radial vs. The World Class.
With Brandon Switzer and Brandon Pesz helping to tune the car and manage the program, Haney was running as quick as 3.740 seconds at 200.68 mph in the PDRA at the end of 2015.
With co-owner Todd Martin, Haney developed the Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) which has grown tremendously since its founding. Haney was the 2017 MWPMS season champ in Pro Mod as well as the Radial versus the World class (RVH) while Martin won the championship the following year. While driving the Enigma Camaro, Haney also added another scalp to his belt by setting a new track ET record with a 3.75-second pass at 197.86 in winning the RVH finals over Tim Slavens in 2018 as well.
In 2018, Haney earned his NHRA competition license and drove a Summit Racing-sponsored car, a bold, red-white-and-blue wrap out of the Rickie Smith stable. Running as quick as a 5.900 at 245.90, Haney afterwards placed his dual championship-winning Pro Modified and Radial vs. the World entries up for sale and ordered a Jerry Bickel car and Musi powerplant of his own. After his fiery, upside-down crash in his 2019 Black Mamba Camaro and subsequent quickest-ever 3.663 in the rebuilt and updated car, Haney is ready for all-comers in 2021.
Along with long-time sponsor Lucas Oil, Summit Racing Equipment, Strange Engineering, Racing Junk, Total Seal are the primary sponsors along with Classic Chevrolet, Suburban Chevrolet, Miami Chevrolet, Regional Hyundai, Nissan of Muskogee, Honda of Muskogee, Bartlesville Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and, of course, the Mid-West Pro Mod Series.