Abbottstown, PA – June 14, 2022
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Feature Photo Credit: Jeremy Zarfos Photography
Kyle Keen returned to action over the weekend with a double-dip on Friday and Saturday night after three weeks on the sideline for repairs following a crash at Williams Grove and a subsequent illness.
The 2022 newcomer to the 358 sprint car division knows he needs to race to learn and improve, so he was itching to get back in the seat and get back to building his program.
June 10th: Summer Series / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA
[28 cars, Heat 4th (6), A-main 23rd (11)]
The Kyle Keen Motorsports, 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, No.17k was among 28 cars signed in for the first 358 sprint car Summer Series event of the season at the legendary oval.
“I don’t have many races under my belt, so we’re trying to run a few different tracks. I think that will help me learn to drive these things and improve myself behind the wheel quicker than sticking to one place all year.“, Keen said.
The field was divided into three, 8-lap heats, which were lined up by a pill draw. The top six finishers would transfer directly to the A-main, but only the top four finishers would make the redraw for a shot at one of the top twelve starting spots.
Kyle Keen started 6th, within striking distance of a redraw spot, in heat number two. The start ended up making his job harder. Keen found himself in 8th after the first circuit, but he went to work and found his rhythm.
Lap by lap, Keen worked his way forward again. By lap four he had reached the 5th position and went to work on securing a top four finish. He was able to finally slip by Travis Scott on the final lap and claim a 4th place finish.
The redraw wasn’t very friendly to Keen. He pulled the 11th starting spot for the 25-lap Summer Series feature event. Unfortunately, eight laps into the event Keen clipped the inside guard rail and brought an end to his night.
“I was reeling in 8th place, and he went to the top going into (turn) one, so I dove low and just misjudged it by inches and touched the rail. It was just enough to spin the car and bend the front axle.“, a disappointed Keen shared.
“We had a really good car tonight. We were fast and passing cars. I’m happy about that, especially since it was my first 358 A-main here. I’m just disappointed with how it ended.“
June 11th: Fallen Firefighter’s Night / Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA
[29 cars, Heat 2nd (1), A-main 7th (3)]
Saturday night, Lincoln Speedway presented its annual Fallen Firefighter’s Night. The event drew a field of 29 358 sprint cars. Per track rules, the field was divided into four 10-lap heat races. The top five finishers from each would move directly to the A-main, while only the top two would have their starting position handicapped for the night’s main event.
“I’m happy we are able to be here to honor Jerome Guise of Engine 36 who passed away in the line of duty on March 9, 2020, for fallen firefighters’ night. I want to say ‘thank you’ to all our first responders!“
Kyle Keen’s night started with a favorable pill draw that put him on the pole for the fourth heat. Veteran Jeff Rohrbaugh got the better start from the outside front row position and grabbed the early lead. Keen held a firm grasp on 2nd throughout the event but was never able to mount a challenge for the win. He did however, secure a handicap spot.
Keen rolled to the green in the 20-lap feature from inside row two, looking to snag his first top five of the season. The Carlisle, PA native raced solidly inside the top five through the first nine laps, then slipped to 6th during the middle stages of the race.
As the A-main drew to a conclusion, Keen fell one more spot. The 7th place finish wasn’t up to Keen’s expectations for himself, but it was another solid top-10 for the wheelman who has yet to reach double-digits in 358 race experience.
“It’s not really the finish I wanted but I think we continue to get better each time we go out. Slowly but surely. We missed the setup a bit and I don’t have much slick track experience, so I just couldn’t make up for what the car couldn’t do.”, Keen commented.
“I’m happy we got our second top-10 with the 358’s, but disappointed we went backwards. A good pill draw certainly helped our night. When you want to win as bad as I do, it’s always a tough pill to swallow going backwards, especially when you’re racing with guys who have so much experience.“
“I’m just not entirely comfortable with the car at Lincoln yet, but we will keep grinding away at it and I’ll be working on my driving too, which certainly needs to keep improving. With as little experience as I have as a driver in a sprint car, it feels good to be finishing inside the top 10 and being competitive. You either win or you learn, and tonight we had to learn.“, Keen concluded.
Kyle Keen Motorsports will take the upcoming weekend off, then will return to action Friday, June 24th when the 358 sprint cars join the 410 Sprint cars for the PA Speedweek opener at Williams Grove Speedway.
During Speedweek, the team will also make its way to Port Royal Speedway on Wednesday, June 29th to compete with the URC 360 sprint cars at ‘The Speed Palace’.
8 races, 0 wins, 0 top 5’s, 2 top 10’s, 2 top 15’s
KYLE KEEN MOTORSPORTS
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Coyles Lawn Maintenance
One Nine Design
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