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Bo Butner is back in Pro Stock, but don’t call it a comeback

Past NHRA world champion Bo Butner makes his long-awaited return to the Pro Stock class this weekend behind the wheel of an Elite Motorsports Camaro.
25 Sep 2021
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Feature
Bo Butner

The Pro Stock entry list for the NHRA Midwest Nationals got a lot more interesting last week when former World Champ Bo Butner’s name appeared on it.  While Butner officially announced his return during a press conference last month in Indianapolis, he’s adamant that his one-off appearance with the Elite team this weekend is not related.

“My deal with Johnson’s Horsepower Garage; that’s a 2022 deal that we’ll debut at the first Pro Stock race next year. It’s going to be a big deal and I’m really excited about it.”

So how did Butner end up behind the wheel of a Pro Stocker in St. Louis?

“Well, I was originally going to come here and race a Comp car for the Elite guys,” Butner explained. “I was going to race Comp and Stock but something happened and they didn’t bring the Comp car. [Elite owner] Richard Freeman called me and asked if I wanted to race Pro Stock. I guess Vincent [Nobile] or Bob Benza couldn’t make it so I was next in line.”

With the exception of a one-off appearance earlier this season at the Doorslammer event in Orlando, Butner hasn’t raced in Pro Stock since the end of 2019 season but he didn’t feel the least bit rusty when he drove to a 6.629 on his first run Friday evening.

“I wasn’t happy with a .070 light but otherwise it wasn’t a bad run,” said Butner. “The car isn’t really set-up for me but you’ve got to be able to adapt. When I left the starting line, it felt like the clutch was a little light and when we looked at the data, it was a little light, so I was happy I picked up on that.”

During his time away from Pro Stock, Butner got an opportunity to do a lot of things he hadn’t previously had time for. Most notably, he began racing in big money bracket events. He won the K&N Spring Fling Million event in Las Vegas and also successfully promoted a Super Stock/Stock Combo event along with Jason Line and Dave Connolly.

“I’ll be honest, I was pretty much over it when I left for a lot of different reasons,” said Butner. “I got a chance to do a lot but once you win the Million, what else is left? I was very fortunate to win that race, much like the Pro Stock championship.The truth is I wanted to be back out here and I’ve seen a lot of changes, mostly for the better.”

Will Butner race Pro Stock again in 2021? Maybe, maybe not

“Richard has already asked me about Dallas but that’s not going to happen because we’re going out west with [fiancé]  Randi Lyn’s car so she can chase points and run a few divisionals. We got a late start but she’s got a chance to do something in the points so we’re going to focus on that.”

“You might see me in Vegas or Pomona, but that’s still really up in the air. I mean, it’s a good thing to get some runs in and be back out here, but my main focus is on our program next year with Jason Johnson and Johnson’s Horsepower Garage. We’ve got a lot of things in the works.”