Bo Butner is a realist. Of all the things Bo knows, he knows that the stars aligned perfectly in 2017 and allowed him to fulfill a longtime dream of winning the NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock championship. Butner also knows that while it doesn’t happen often, lightning does indeed strike twice so he’s not at all discounting the possibility of a second championship this season. Actually, Butner’s odds of taking the stage in Hollywood at the end of the season are pretty good since he’s a championship contender in three different eliminators, Pro Stock, Factory Stock, and more recently, Super Gas.
In Pro Stock, Butner has won four of the season’s first ten races and barring something really odd, he’ll enter the Countdown to the Championship as the top seed in the class. That is, and has always been, his main priority. In the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock class, Butner has yet to win a race, but he’s hanging tough in second-place behind his buddy and Pro Stock alumni Drew Skillman. Butner trails Skillman by 89 points with three races remaining in Indy, St. Louis, and Dallas. He’s got work to do, but a championship remains a distinct possibility.
And then there is Super Gas.
Butner bought Aaron Kinard’s complete racing operation during the recent Western Swing and drove to a win in Sonoma, and a round three finish in Seattle. This weekend in Brainerd, Butner has already reach Sunday’s semifinal round so a second win is a very real possibility. On Saturday night, the wheels began turning in Butner’s camp where basic arithmetic dictates that no matter what happens today, Butner has a realistic shot at the Super Gas title. At the urging of fiancé Randi Lyn Shipp, Butner will continue that pursuit next weekend at the Division 3 Lucas Oil Series event in Bowling Green, Ky. He'd have to alter his already buy schedule in order to race in five Lucas events, but after looking at the calendar of remaining events this season, a title run is possible.
“Look at what I’ve gotten myself into now,” Butner laughed. “Randi Lynn and I were looking at the points last night and we sort of realized that no one has taken control of Super Gas. Most of the guys in the top ten have one or two wins and I might have that after today. At the least, I’ve got a win and a semi. I just haven’t been to any [Lucas Oil Series] points meets. We’re going to go to Bowling Green next week and see what happens there. Then, well see what happens after that.
“I know everyone is asking me about winning championships and keeping track of points in all three classes but the truth is that I just want to win races,” said Butner. “I’m not that big into history and stats. For me, it’s just about winning and lately, we haven’t done much of it with the Pro Stock car. That’s my biggest concern. We’ve been in a bit of a slump lately and that happens from time to time. That’s just the nature of the class. To be honest, I haven’t been driving that well lately. My car has been awesome. With the Countdown coming up, I need to fix that. That’s my biggest concern.”
Butner’s results on the recent Western Swing were mixed at best. He reached the semifinal round in Sonoma before red-lighting against Alex Laughlin, and he book-ended that result with a pair of round one losses in Denver and Seattle. At those two events, he qualified 13th and 8th respectively, a far cry from his two poles earlier this season in Phoenix and Las Vegas.
“That goes back to making good runs and again, I’ll take the blame for that,” Butner said. “All it takes is one or two runs where you hit the rev-limiter or miss a shift and you go from first to eighth or worse. That’s how tough Pro Stock is these days.”
This weekend in Brainerd, Butner is the No. 3 seed in the field behind teammate Jason Line and Erica Enders. That’s his best starting spot since Richmond, which is one of the four Pro Stock races he’s won this season. Butner won’t go so far as to predict a Pro Stock/Super Gas double, but it is certainly a possibility.
“Some people thing the sportsman car is a distraction, but I don’t feel that way at all,” Butner said. “I’ll take all the seat time I can get. I’m the only gut in Pro Stock that’s double-entered this week and that means that everyone else has gotten four shots at the track and I’ve had 11. I learned a few things about the starting line and the Christmas Tree by racing in Super Gas and that can’t be a bad thing when I get in the Pro Stock car."