Finishes Don’t Tell the Story of How Far the 358 Rookie Has Come
Port Royal, PA – June 30, 2022
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Feature Photo Credit: Jeremy Zarfos Photography
Kyle Keen closed out the month of June by tackling two of Pennsylvania’s most notable and toughest tracks in the Fine Line Auto Body / Keen Parts / Doubling Gap Ranch / Shetron Auction & Equipment, LLC. / Wicked Dog Grille / Heishman Racing Fuels / Wicked Cushion / DL Lehman Construction, LLC. / GearHead Coffee / Jeremy Zarfos Photography / Coyle’s Lawn Maintenance / One Nine Design, Kyle Keen Motorsports No.17k.
The pair of races took the team to Williams Grove Speedway and Port Royal Speedway where they would be on the card as part of the Pennsylvania Speedweek 410 sprint car series. The outcome of both nights showed the 358 sprint car rookie is on the cusp of bigger things. More experience will always be a plus, and that will come with time, but the biggest missing element right now is a little bit of luck.
June 24th: Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA
[30 cars, Heat 1st (1), A-main 22nd (3)]
Thirty 358 sprint car teams signed in at ‘The Grove’ on Friday night, June 24th. The field was split into three, 10-car heat races using a pill draw. From each of the 8-lap qualifying races, the top six finishers would advance to the A-main, with the top four earning a spot in the redraw that would set the top twelve starting spots for the 20-lap finale.
Kyle Keen’s first bit of good fortune on the night came in the form of drawing the pole for the third heat race. He was able to capitalize on the opportunity and capture the win, grabbing his ticket to the redraw in the process.
Keen had one more moment of good fortune when the redraw turned up the 3rd starting spot for the main event. Unfortunately, that’s where his luck ran out for the night. The race leader had a mechanical issue on the opening lap and slowed rapidly, leaving the Carlisle, PA resident no time to react.
Keen made contact with the right rear of the disabled car, lifting his front end skyward and bringing it back down hard on the track surface. Sensing something was off, he took the car pit-side and retired from the event. He was credited with a 22nd place finish.
“We were strong to start the night. The heat win was rejuvenating. It was definitely a confidence builder. I felt like we showed what we are capable of. We had nice speed and a good pace.”, Keen said.
“When the leader broke in front of me on the first lap of the feature, I had nowhere to go and climbed his right rear. When the car came back down, I thought something was broken. I pulled into the pits, but everything was fine. It’s been tough sledding at the Grove so far, but we will get through this. We are finally getting racy. I’m excited for the next race there already.“
June 29th: URC / Port Royal Speedway / Port Royal, PA
[30 cars, Heat 6th (6), A-main 17th (16)]
The URC sprint cars joined the PA Speedweek 410 sprint car program at Port Royal Speedway for a midweek special at the Juniata County fairgrounds half-mile. Taking advantage of an opportunity for seat time, Kyle Keen Motorsports joined the quality field of 30 cars.
The format in play for the event included three 10-lap heat races lined up by a pill draw, a B-main and a 25-lap A-main. Each heat race would send the top six finishers directly to the main event, but only the top three would earn a spot in the redraw.
Keen started and finished 6th in an uneventful heat number one. He may have missed the redraw, but the No.17k 358 sprint car was in the show right alongside the URC 360’s.
From his 16th starting spot in the night’s finale, Keen had to work hard for every position he gained. Through the first twenty laps there was rarely a moment when he was not side by side with another competitor.
He was getting the job done though. By lap eleven Keen had cracked the top ten. Three laps later he had clawed his way into the 8th position. The event was slowed numerous times by cautions, but he survived the restarts and continued his quest.
A top five finish didn’t seem far-fetched given Keen’s steady climb, but inside the final few circuits, the motor began to stumble. On the final restart with one lap remaining, it gave up and Keen drifted to the inside wall, out of fuel just a half mile short of a top-10 run in his first career URC start. Instead, the rundown shows a disappointing 17th.
“I’m frustrated with the way the amount of caution laps we ran were handled, but it is what it is. We will move on to the next one.“, Keen commented.
“Our Hammaker 358 was running super strong against a very tough field of 360’s. I want to say thanks to my team for getting the car to the track while I was at work so we could race. I’m proud of the speed we have shown recently. I had a fun time racing Port, certainly a badass, fast racetrack.”
The Kyle Keen Motorsports team will return to Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, PA on Saturday night, July 9th.
10 races, 0 wins, 0 top 5’s, 2 top 10’s, 2 top 15’s
KYLE KEEN MOTORSPORTS
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Fine Line Auto Body
Doubling Gap Ranch
Shetron Auction & Equipment, LLC.
Wicked Dog Grille
Heishman Racing Fuels
DL Lehman Construction, LLC
Jeremy Zarfos Photography
Coyles Lawn Maintenance
One Nine Design
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