As many had expected, the Pro Stock field showed an across the board improvement on Saturday thanks to the cloud cover that maintained cool temperatures at Lucas Oil Raceway Indianapolis for most of the day. Many also expected Jason Line to hold on to the top spot, but the four-time world champ gave way to his KB Racing stable-mate Bo Butner, who heads into Sunday as the provisional low qualifier after a strong 6.559, 210.28 run on Saturday afternoon. Butner, the current Pro Stock points leader, has been the top qualifier 10 times during his 100 races in the Factory Hot Rod class, including twice this year in Phoenix and Las Vegas.
“That was a very good pass, but I’m not surprised,” said Butner. “We’ve had the car to do that for weeks; I just haven’t driven very well. That was much better. It already feels like day 20 at Indy; I’ve been here all week with our sportsman cars but it’s okay. I’m having fun here and we’ve still got a lot of racing left. If you know me, you know how much I love to race. The rules say we can only run two cars per race but if we didn’t’ have that, I’d have five or six of them lined up. If they had a class for a golf cart, I’d race one of them.
“I made that run [in Q3] without my crew chief, Darrel Herron,” said Butner. “He went back to Floyds Knobs [Indiana, Butner’s hometown] with our Factory Showdown car so we could change a motor. We hurt a cylinder head, and it was easier for him to just take the car back to our shop. It’s hard to race without Darrel but we’ve got a lot of good help at KB Racing, so we’re able to get by.”
Butner’s Camaro is currently the quickest run of any of the 21 Pro Stock car competing at Lucas Oil Raceway Indianapolis. His performance in Q3 ended Line’s streak of six-straight qualifying sessions where he had the quickest Pro Stock car in each of the last six qualifying sessions, dating back to Saturday afternoon at the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle last month. While Butner may have the quickest car in the class, but his edge over the rest of the field is negligible. Line is lurking close behind with his 6.570 performance from Saturday afternoon, while Erica Enders and Matt Hartford are ranked third and fourth with matching 6.575-second runs. Alex Laughlin, who is pulling double duty in Pro Stock and Pro Mod, is fifth at 6.576. It takes a 6.587 to make the top half of the field and the bump is a competitive 6.656 by Alan Prusiensky’s E Car mover.com Dodge Dart.
There are two more qualifying sessions scheduled for Sunday, but Line is growing more and more confident that he’ll hang on to the top spot and collect the $2,500 bonus put up by RaceStar Wheels for the quickest Pro Stock qualifier.
“I’m not sure if that run will hold up tomorrow because there are a lot of good cars out here and I think I might have made Jason mad,” said Butner. “It should be close. If the weather warms up, I think there’s a good chance we’ll hold on to it.”