When veteran drag racer Rickie Smith called Bo Butner and asked if he’d drive his Pro Mod car for one race, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. Butner is on the roster to make his Pro Mod debut at this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
“We’re both sponsored by Strutmasters, and we both have 2020 Chevy Camaros, so it made sense,” explained Butner. “He knew he wouldn’t be able to drive because he had to have back surgery. The surgery came out great, and he’ll be ‘crew chiefing’ me and showing me the way. I’ve never driven a nitrous car, so this should be interesting.”
Butner licensed in Harry Hruska’s turbo-charged Pro Mod entry two years ago in Phoenix, but he has not yet entered an event in the category heading into this weekend’s Summernationals. The 2017 Pro Stock world champion is an established racer, though, with a diverse range of experience.
Last season, Butner debuted in Super Gas and won in his first attempt at Sonoma Raceway. He raced to multiple final rounds at the divisional and national levels to make himself a true contender in the category, despite a limited Sportsman schedule. He also added Super Comp to his repertoire in Chicago and has previously claimed national event wins in Pro Stock, Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Super Gas, and Super Street. Only one driver has wins in multiple categories; fellow Sportsman and Pro Stock competitor Jeg Coughlin has seven.
“This Pro Mod car is definitely a different animal, but it’s a brand new car with maybe 16 runs on it, and I feel comfortable with Rickie and the team,” Butner continued. “It’s a lot like KB Racing, the guys I run with in Pro Stock. They have the same mentality: you race to win. That means Rickie’s going to put me in a good car.”
Butner is racing Smith’s Pro Mod Chevy Camaro with support from Strutmasters, Jim Butner Auto Group, and Summit Racing Equipment. Pro Stock is not on the schedule for this weekend’s event, and although the SAMTech.com Factory Stock Showdown is also slated to begin this weekend, he will sit this round out in the category where he was edging for the championship early in 2019.
“We still have some R&D work to do with our Factory Stock Showdown car, but we’re looking forward to getting back in it, too, when the time is right,” said Butner. “For now, we’re excited about this deal with Rickie and Strutmasters. It’s just one race, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”