FLOYDS KNOBS, Ind. – After previously announcing plans to step away from the NHRA Pro Stock division next year, Bo Butner has had a change of heart.
Butner, the 2017 NHRA Pro Stock champion, will return to KB Racing to contest the entire 18-race Pro Stock schedule next year. He also remains committed to competing in the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown in his Cobra Jet Mustang.
“I’m a glutton for punishment,” joked Butner.
When rumblings of 18 races rather than the full 24 for Pro Stock began to surface, it was Butner’s mother, Dottie, who began to question the decision to leave the professional-level naturally aspirated factory hot rods behind.
“She shocked me and said that maybe we should keep doing this, and I told her I thought it was time to move on; we’d already been successful with the best team out there,” said Butner. “But I did say I’d think about it.”
Butner went home after the last race of the 2018 season and discussed the idea with his son, J.B. Butner, the General Sales Manager of Jim Butner Auto Group in Clarksville, Ind. J.B. and his wife, Elizabeth, are expecting a baby in April of 2019 – Butner’s first grandchild and one of the leading factors in his initial decision to scale back from a 24-race commitment.
“J.B. runs the dealership, so it was important to make sure he was on board with it. And of course, when his baby is born in April, I want to be there for that, even if I have to miss a race,” said Butner.
True to their roots, Butner’s fiancé, Randi Lyn Shipp, will continue to race Stock Eliminator at the national event level, and Butner’s participation in the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown will take shape as the year goes on.
“The Factory Stock Showdown is a great deal, and I’m looking forward to racing in it. If we have a shot to win that championship, of course we’ll take it,” said Butner, who has earned multiple division championships and the 2006 Competition Eliminator world title in addition to his Pro Stock championship.
When Butner initially decided to detour from Pro Stock, he said that he would only ever return with KB Racing. He’s holding true to his word.
“It tore at my heart to think about something happening to this class or it going away, and that’s another reason I wanted to come back. So we sat down and talked with KB Racing on Sunday afternoon in Pomona,” said Butner, who has claimed a total of seven Pro Stock wins with the esteemed group since launching his Pro Stock career in Gainesville in 2015. “They were supportive, and Ken and Judy Black said that any time I ever wanted to come back, I’m welcome. We’re all like a big family.”
Butner will likely remain in the same KB Racing-owned Jerry Haas-built Chevrolet Camaro that he drove last season, and the calls on his car will be made by his crew chief Darrel Herron, along with KB Racing’s Tim Freeman. Tyler Hogan, of Hogan’s Manifolds, will return, as will Jack Line [Team Summit driver Jason Line’s son], as school permits.