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Bo Butner talks softly and carries a big lead into the second day of Pro Stock qualifying

Bo Butner has won three times in the last five races and leads Pro Stock qualifying at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
06 Apr 2019
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Race coverage
Bo Butner

Bo Butner quietly leads Pro Stock in points and NHRA Power Ranking. Quietly because, in part, he carries himself that way. Quietly because, in part, his numbers don’t leap off the page in a category tightly bunched together. 

Butner leads the class with a 6.535-second elapsed time, but not by much. He is quicker than teammate Greg Anderson by .004 second and Elite Motorsports competitor Rodger Brogdon by .006 second. Every thousandth counts in Pro Stock, but so does getting down the drag strip. 

He doesn’t exactly wow in that metric, something he did in his 2017 run. Butner has 22 runs to his credit in 2019, 17 of them successful (quicker than 6.64 seconds). That’s decidedly average and below the heavy hitters in the class. It’s still way too early to panic (and, uh, he’s won twice – so… nope, no panic here) but that’s something to work on while banking points. 

“We’ve been very fortunate here, but the track is amazing,” said Butner. “You owe a lot of credit to Jeff Foster for putting this place together. I think I’ve won five or six times here and you just have your tracks that you’re good at – I’ve also got a few that I’m horrible at.”

He’s referring to picking up a win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Fall of 2018. That gives him three wins in five races (not counting the Sunday ahead of us, naturally) and every reason to feel good. Butner is earning those wins with a .041 reaction time, which clocks in barely above average. But he rarely turns on the red light and generally muscles the car down the strip. He’s just … chill. 

“Something very rare happened in my quad,” Butner said about his second qualifying session. “And what I mean by that is it’s rare that I’m .102 and leave first against Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr. It’s just little things that can distract you and change everything. That’s going to happen on Sunday. It’s neat and it’s a challenge and I think I’ve found a way you can mess with some of these people … but I don’t think I’ll try it cause I don’t want ‘em to hate me.”

That affability also gives way to a little bit of luck he’s enjoyed this year. Leaving first doesn’t matter during qualifying, but he got some of that same fortune against Enders in Pomona. He hasn’t always been lucky in Las Vegas, and you can’t create luck (good or bad) but once you have some good vibes on your side … well, there’s no reason to cast them aside.