The bright red Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Chevrolet Camaro is still brand new to 2017 world champ Bo Butner, but it’s already proving to be a strong piece. During qualifying at this week’s Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals, the #JHGDriven Chevy earned the No. 5 position – Butner’s best start since the spring race in Las Vegas.
“There are no words to describe it; it’s like we’ve wanted to be all year,” said an elated Butner. “We knew we’d be okay. We fought some issues, but the car seemed to be good – and we’re very happy with the performance we’ve seen here.”
Butner, who entered the event No. 10 in the Pro Stock standings, is seeing his car come alive at just the right time. At the U.S. Nationals, marks are valued at points-and-a-half, and after this marathon event, the six-race Countdown to the Championship begins.
The upward swing of power this week is due in part to the powerful new engine beneath the hood.
“They finished it on the dyno Friday, and [JHG crew member] Robert Freeman drove it up here 12 hours,” detailed Butner. “We made the first two runs this weekend with a different engine, and we put this new one in for Q3. That’s where it picked up.”
After a safe 6.601-second pass at 208.71 mph in the session on Saturday, the #JHGDriven Pro Stocker began to make significant strides on Sunday. Butner was a swift 6.592, 208.14 in the early round to move into the No. 5 position and claim two bonus points as the third-quickest car of the session. The final qualifier produced a 6.600, 207.62, which kept Butner fifth and reeled in another two bonus points.
“That’s a first,” he said in jest, with a nod to the challenge experienced by the team during the regular season. “But it’s all starting to click and get to be like it was in the old days. I love it.”
Butner is also racing for the U.S. Nationals Super Gas trophy for the second consecutive event. After reaching the final round in Topeka just a few weeks ago, Butner is rolling steady. So far this week at the event known as “The Big Go,” he’s seen four win lights in the tough Sporttsman category. He’ll be looking for two more on Monday to close the deal. The Floyds Knobs, Ind., resident has one previous win in Super Gas, which he claimed in Sonoma in 2019.
“It’s been a lot of fun this weekend, and there’s more to come,” said Butner. “Jason and Nikki Johnson [of Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage] are back with us this weekend, and that’s just awesome. We missed not having them at the last race, and we’re grateful for all they do for us. Life is great. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
Final eliminations at the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park will begin at 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday.
Q1: 6.615-second, 208.33 mph (No. 8)
Q2: 6.627, 207.59 (No. 10)
Q3: 6.601, 208.71 (No. 8)
Q4: 6.592, 208.14 (No. 5, +2 bonus points)
Q5: 6.600, 207.62 (No. 5, +2 bonus points)