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Skillman holeshots Butner in thrilling Factory Stock final

Drew Skillman opens a commanding lead in the SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown standings with second win in three races.
19 May 2019
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
News
Drew Skillman

Drew Skillman has said that the only regret he had leaving the Pro Stock class after the 2018 season is that he didn’t win a championship, but at the rate he’s going, he may remedy that in the SAM Tech.edu NHRA Factory Stock Showdown. Skillman won for the second time in three races and now holds a commanding lead in the battle for the season championship.

Skillman got to the final of the Virginia Nationals largely because his Cobra Jet Mustang was one of the quickest cars in the field, and then he let his driving ability take over with a 7.99 to 7.98 win over his friend and fellow Ford racer Bo Butner, who nearly doubled up after winning his fourth Pro Stock race of the season.
 
“We had a great race this weekend,” said Skillman, who also has a Stock win this season to go with his two Factory Stock titles. “We struggled in qualifying a little bit and unfortunately, my dad’s car didn’t make it as far as we would have wanted it to. We had a great final with Bo. I won on a holeshot which always makes you feel good. We both made seven second runs in the final and I don’t think you could ask for much more than that. Hopefully, we can continue this points lead and win a championship.”

Following another rules adjustment that further reduced supercharger overdrive on several of the class’ most popular combinations, Skillman was the No. 8 qualifier with an 8.013, well behind the pace set by low qualifier Butner, who clocked a 7.943 in his Summit Cobra Jet. Skillman’s father, Bill, was third-quickest with a 7.968.

Skillman was solid throughout eliminations where he defeated veteran Don Fezell, Scott Libersher, and Geoff Turk with runs of 8.078, 8.011, and 8.006, respectively. Fezell was well behind with an 8.444 while Libersher and Turk both spun the tires on what was the hottest track temperatures that many of the Factory Stock racers had ever competed on.

Following the win, Skillman now enjoys a solid 82-point lead in the standings after three of eight events. Father, Bill, is second while Butner has climbed to third. Butner is now the runaway points leader in Pro Stock after beating KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson in the Richmond final. He’s also making progress with his Factory Stock entry, which was built by longtime crew chief Darrell Herron. Coming from the top qualifying spot, Butner defeated Kevin Skinner, Pete Gasko Jr., and engine builder David Barton to reach the final. He never ran slower than 8.01 during eliminations.

“It’s very hot out and I’m way out of shape to be driving two cars seven rounds in one day, but it was very fun, and I’d like to do it again,” Butner joked. “It was a good day, and I’m ready for the next one. I really wanted to double-up. Drew is a good friend and a good racer, and I’m glad he’s in that [Factory Stock] and not Pro Stock. Good job to them, but I feel good about my Summit Racing Cobra Jet.  We made good strides with it.”