BO BUTNER SMOOTH SAILING INTO THE PROMISED LAND
Let the record reflect, Bo now knows uncharted waters.
For Pro Stock driver Bo Butner, those uncharted waters, included winning four rounds in one weekend, and assuming a professional point lead.
Five months into the season, Butner finds himself in a measure of disbelief.
"I do know with the car and team I have, it was always a potential," Butner said. "But believe me, I showed up at every race track Thursday to win the race. So it wasn’t from lack of trying. And my crew guys, they stuck with me. I mean, it’s tough. You don’t want to go thinking, ‘Man, we don’t have a shot."
There comes a time in the life of a professional drag racer who is seemingly final round snakebit when they have their one-on-one "coming to Jesus meeting."
"I’m 43 now so there were times it got in my head, ‘Dude, I haven’t won nothing since I started Pro Stock," Butner admitted. " I couldn't seem to win in a Stock race, anything. I would tell myself; I’m just getting old. Just losing a little bit."
Butner figured if he could get his mind right, his racing prowess would follow. There was a time, he remembered, when he didn't think, he just performed.
"I made a lot of changes in my life that I think are the right direction," Butner admitted. "It’s just amazing. There’s a bigger world than us out there. And you get that in your head, and if you can be honest with yourself, that changes the whole game."
Butner simply returned to what had worked for him for many years, and this definitely didn't include overthinking the task at hand.
"I would try something different every time," Butner revealed. "You can definitely over think drag racing. I just talked to a sportsman’s racer’s father about that. And they were changing their dial-in four times. And I asked, ‘Well what did he run?"
The answer was the original dial-in, Butner confirmed, thus confirming what he believed.
"You can overthink this sport," Butner said. "I don’t have a sponsor. We do this for fun. So you have to tell yourself that. This is fun, you’re doing this to enjoy life. And also, I’ve raced a long time. So if I pull up next to a Tanner Gray or a Drew Skillman, I can tell myself, ‘Bo, you have shoes that’s won more races than them in drag racing."
"So it can be done. But the talent’s great. Pro Stock I think is as competitive as it’s been in many years, and it’s going to be fun to finish it out."
Butner feels safe in admitting, he believed sportsman success was going to mean more of the same in Pro Stock.
"Without a doubt, because even when I went to get my license in the car, burnout’s perfect, staged, made a good run, shut off, it’s just like a fast Comp car," Butner said, cracking a smile. "But I was .070 and .080 on the tree. And after about my third hit, I stayed there. I was like, ‘Man; I hope there’s a lot of adjustment."
Adjusting to the Pro Stock mindset requires one to adopt a take no prisoners attitude.
"I’ll take for instance Gary Russell who runs Stock; he’s an older guy, I’ve watched him forever running," Butner explained. "And you pull up to these guys, and these guys that you watched and it’s just, ‘Lord, if I have to lose a race, I hope it’s to somebody like this."
"You cannot have that mentality. You have to go up there to rip people's throats out, like Erica tries to rip mine out."
Regardless of who wants to rip his throat out, Butner says he has his eye on the prize - the 2017 NHRA Pro Stock Championship.
"That would be beyond a dream if it’s possible," Butner said. "Just to win races, I still need to win U.S. Nationals in something. Been in a few finals, but the championship I’ve done in Comp, but dude this is like a dream, Pro Stock. It would be pretty amazing, but as long as one of these three KB cars win, we can always come back."
For now, Butner isn't overthinking the situation at hand.
"If you just go win rounds, the points come. And it’s that simple."