Former NHRA Comp national champ Bo Butner added another title to his already impressive résumé after driving his Cobra Jet Mustang to a victory in the inaugural NHRA Factory Stock Showdown at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus. Butner defeated second-generation racer Brett Candies in the final round of the unique event, which features heads-up competition between the latest generation of factory race cars from Ford, Mopar, and General Motors. Racing in front of a large crowd during Friday night’s Professional qualifying session, Butner rallied to win with a 9.10 after Candies spun the tires
“This is awesome,” said Butner. “It’s cool to think that I’ll always be known as the guy who won the first one of these [NHRA Factory Stock Showdown] races. I know it wasn’t easy. I haven’t blocked [the Tree] too much lately, and as soon as we left, I knew I was dead late. Thankfully, he spun the tires because he left on me by a lot.”
Butner, who has been successful this season in a similar program in the ADRL series, had one of the quickest cars in qualifying and was solid in eliminations with his wheelstanding Mustang. In the opening round, Butner posted a 9.04 after P.B. Candies fouled. A round later, Butner drove to a 9.07 on his bye run before downing Chris Holbrook on a holeshot, 9.059 to 9.055, in the semifinals.
“Obviously, that round could have gone either way, but I ran just quick enough to win,” said Butner. “This car leaves super hard, and it’s a lot of fun to drive. It’s not at all like a traditional Stocker. This class is so new, and the rules are a little different than what we’re used to. I wasn’t sure just how fast we’d be able to run here, but 9.0s are pretty good. I was very surprised.”
Candies, the son of former world-championship-winning Top Fuel and Funny Car team owner and Hall of Famer Paul Candies, reached the final round after racing Bill Skillman in the quarterfinals and earning a bye in the semi’s.
Bo Butner, near lane, won the inaugural NHRA Factory Stock Showdown with his final-round victory over Brett Candies.
“I knew I had him off the starting line, but I spun the tires really hard,” said Candies. “The car hasn’t done that all weekend. We knew going in that we were going to have our hands full. Our car is pretty new, and Bo has been racing his all year, and he’s put in a lot of hard work. He’s been the best all year in this type of racing, and he deserves it.”
Reminiscent of the factory muscle-car battles of the 1960s, the inaugural NHRA Factory Stock Showdown featured a nine-car field of eight Cobra Jet Mustangs and a lone Drag Pak Challenger. Both Butner and Candies praised the new program.
“This is something that we’ve needed out here for a long time,” said Butner. “I’ve been a Sportsman racer for a long time, but this is the first time that we’ve gotten so much attention from the new car manufacturers. They all love this class and want to see it grow. I feel like this weekend was the start of something really big, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
“This is one of the reasons why our family got back into racing,” added Candies. “We have a great relationship with Ford, and we’re behind this deal 100 percent. This class is new, and it’s going to take some time to get all the rules right, but it’s got a lot of potential.”