Winning Indy is a rare and treasured accomplishment, and it’s at the very top of every NHRA drag racer’s wish list. Few are fortunate enough to win the biggest, most historic, and most prestigious drag race, and even fewer are lucky enough to repeat. That, however, is just what Bo Butner did in his Super Gas Corvette roadster with back-to-back wins at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals.
This year’s triumph was also a milestone as it was the 30th national event win of Bo’s career.
“I should be excited about that number, but I’m 49 – that’s not even one a year,” joked Bo. “But 30 is a great number, and just to be able to come out and do this so much, I’ve been blessed.”
Bo’s journey to the winner’s circle in his ’63 Vette began on Thursday at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. It was the second win of the weekend for the Bo Butner Racing team; Bo’s wife, Randi Lyn, won FSS/L class in Super Stock on Saturday driving the team’s Cobra Jet Mustang.
After watching her race the first round of Super Stock in the main event on Thursday, he high-tailed it back to the lanes and hopped in the ‘Vette for his own elimination round. Last year at this race, Bo claimed a long-awaited Indy win – and he did so in the challenging Super Gas category driving the car that he acquired in 2019 and won with in its debut. The defending event champion arrived at this year’s rendition of the U.S. Nationals with three previous Super Gas wins.
Bo won his first-round meeting with Johnny Cobb with a .005 reaction time and 9.930 on the 9.90 target to his opponent’s .007 and breakout 9.891, and in his Friday morning run he was .018 at the hit and recorded a 9.914 to eliminate Paul Richardson’s .006 and 9.952. Saturday brought another round win as Bo was .004 at the tree and 9.944 at the finish line to defeat Ryan Locke’s .023 and 9.969.
On Sunday, Bo’s fourth-round Super Gas win over Tim Lynch was a little more rewarding than a normal round win after he woke up to a set of dead batteries in his roadster.
“Both batteries just decided to die, so I had no power right before I was getting ready to warm up,” he explained. “There was a little bit of panic mode, but we stopped and checked all the wiring, and the only thing we could do was put some new batteries in it. We did that, but the problem is that they weigh 40 pounds more each. So, we had to throw 80 pounds in it, and I had to make sure we could go fast enough. We were lucky; I made a good guess.”
Bo was .009 as he left the starting line and ran 9.953 on the 9.90 (with a few whomp whomp whomps) to Lynch’s .013 and 9.955.
In the fifth round, Bo was .011 and ran right on the 9.90 with a 9.902 to send Jesse Fritts home on a .040, 9.918, and then the long wait began. The semifinals were scheduled for after the Pros, and Bo waited as patiently as possible to find out if he would be racing on Monday at Indy.
He was ready when his turn came, and his .009 was laid down next to a red-lighting Gene Brown, who left -.004 too soon. The final was the 63rd of Bo’s career and fourth at the U.S. Nationals. He was runner-up there in Comp in 2004, runner-up in Pro Mod in 2020, and won Super Gas in 2022.
In the Super Gas final, George Meyer left with a .002 reaction time to Bo’s .021, and it was a bit dodgy for a few seconds until the Jim Butner Auto Group (JBA)-branded ‘Vette crossed the finish line ahead of Meyer, 9.948 to 9.987, to set the win light flashing.
“I am very, very happy – but you know me, in the back of my mind, I’m still upset about first round in the Pro Stock car,” Bo admitted. He had made one of the quickest passes in the fourth round of qualifying driving his Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Chevrolet Camaro, but on raceday he was relegated to a lane that remained troubled after an oil down. He shook and slowed and did not advance, so winning the final in Super Gas at his home track was particularly sweet.
“I’m very fortunate to do something like this. I do not know what it is about this car – it’s just such a good combination, but we actually changed the combination and it still won. To redo the car and for it to come out and be as good as it was before, I’m very happy. This car had won a lot before I ever sat in it, but a good car is a good car.
“It helps to have great people behind you, like Randi Lyn, Gage Green was helping us out here, and of course Summit Racing, Mickey Thompson, and Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage. Hopefully, there are more wins coming.”