Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Fresh Off PDRA Elite Top Sportsman Win, Glenn Butcher Eyes NHRA Pro Mod Debut at Chicago

Gary Rowe photo

Racers and fans who check the Top Sportsman entry list for the upcoming Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by Peak Performance at Route 66 Raceway will likely notice a glaring omission: Doylestown, Ohio’s Glenn Butcher. Don’t worry, though. Butcher is on the entry list for Chicago, just in a different class. After more than 20 years of Top Sportsman competition, Butcher will make his NHRA Pro Mod debut at Route 66 on May 17-19.

Butcher will roll into his debut still riding the excitement from his recent win in Elite Top Sportsman at the PDRA Kaeser Compressors Mid-Atlantic Showdown presented by Classic Graphix at Virginia Motorsports Park. Driving his Albert-powered Butcher & Son Demolition ’69 Camaro, Butcher qualified No. 2 and raced past hitters like Bruce Thrift, Brian Tiffe, and Dewayne Silance before getting the final-round win over Tim Paap. It was Butcher’s first Elite Top Sportsman win since the 2019 PDRA Northern Nationals at Dragway 42.

David Beitler photo

“That was super, super-duper rewarding,” Butcher said. “The combination is still new because we’re still working on a few things and it’s really coming around. The car’s awesome. It was really, really, really rewarding to finally put everything together. The car’s been really good. The driver has not been the best as of lately, so it was nice to see that the driver can still drive.”

Butcher and his family have become staples in the Top Sportsman community, especially in the PDRA. They were reminded of that Saturday night when fellow racers crowded the winner’s circle to congratulate them. Adding to the emotion of the moment was the fact Butcher was able to win in honor of 2022 PDRA Elite Top Sportsman world champion Henry Underwood, a Virginia native who’s battling stage 4 lung cancer. 

“I was watching the live feed back right after I got home, and the amount of people behind the car was just amazing,” Butcher said. “I was like, ‘Wow.’ You forget how many drag racing friends you have until you see stuff like that and you see people come to the winner’s circle, and then you get to celebrate it in honor of Henry at his home track with his daughter. I got to see Henry and his brother at the track, and it meant a lot. It kept me really focused. There was a big part of driving as well, wanting to do it for him.”

Gary Rowe photo

Butcher was quick to share in the credit for his success, making special mention of fellow Elite Top Sportsman driver Dan Ferguson and Butcher’s family-based team, which includes wife Linda, son Maximus, daughter Lyla, and mother-in-law Titi. 

“I really, really have to show some appreciation to Dan Ferguson,” Butcher said. “He’s been an incredible help. His attention to detail on the tune-up and always trying to make things better has truly made my car really, really good. I owe everything to his hard work. It’s a joint effort, but he’s really a main cog in this.”

That brings us to Butcher’s upcoming NHRA Pro Mod debut. The move may come as a surprise to his fellow racers, but it’s something Butcher has been envisioning for many years. 

“I’ve always been enamored by Pro Mod,” Butcher said. “In my whole racing career, if I was at the track, I was watching every Pro Mod car go down the track, and I got to meet a lot of the drivers and become friends with them throughout my IHRA career and on into NHRA. Then ADRL probably really sparked my interest.”

Butcher tried his hand at heads-up drag racing in the ADRL’s Pro Nitrous division, which was loaded with nitrous Pro Mod hitters driving purpose-built, lightweight cars. 

“I was always a nitrous fan and I started campaigning a few local races,” Butcher said. “It really wasn’t worth traveling very far to race Pro Nitrous with my Top Sportsman car. You’re showing up there with a plastic butter knife to a gunfight. But I enjoyed every aspect of it. I qualified No. 17 multiple times, so it was rewarding. I never did qualify, but it was rewarding to be there and be part of that community.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Luke Nieuwhof photo

Fifteen years or so later, Butcher is ready to try heads-up racing again. This time, he’s better armed with a Garret Race Cars-built ’69 Camaro powered by a nitrous-fed, Billy Albert-built 959-cubic-inch engine paired with an Abruzzi transmission and riding on Hoosier tires. 

“To say it’s a bucket list item – it is – but at the same time, I just want to see what I can do,” Butcher said. “It’s a crap-shoot. I think I have better than a plastic-butter-knife chance. Maybe just a single-shot, 21-gauge or something. I don’t know. Definitely not bringing the bazooka, but I think we can make some quality runs, hopefully qualify, and maybe go a few rounds. 

“I’m not expecting a win,” he continued. “I don’t think we’re at all there. We’ve never tried even going a quarter mile with everything on. We’re going to do some testing in Martin, and I think we’ve got a good shot. I’m super excited about doing it. I’m still nervous, but we can do it.”

Though Butcher has a new Garret-built car coming together that will be more equipped to run NHRA Pro Mod, he didn’t want to wait for that car’s completion to make his debut. He went to work updating his current car to fit NHRA Pro Mod specs. He’s also dabbled in some on-track testing while still focusing on Elite Top Sportsman competition. 

“I actually made a choice in the cockpit in E2 of the race in Virginia to drive it long,” Butcher said. “When I say long, I went beyond 660 [feet]. I tried to get close to a thousand feet just to see how our tune-up fared with vacuum and if I’m starting to detonate the motor or anything like that. So we’ve been doing little hit-and-miss stuff like that, gathering up parts, gathering up different gear ratios and different stuff like that, evaluating what we can and can’t do.”

Luke Nieuwhof photo

Butcher realizes his work will be cut out for him with 22 other drivers on the entry list with around three weeks left before the entry deadline. Rather than focus on the competition he’ll face, Butcher is focusing on his own performance, having fun with his family, and making the most of the opportunity. 

“I think my goals are not to suck mainly,” he laughed, “but I really just want to be respectable. Even if we don’t qualify, if we can go out there and go 5.80 or 5.78s, I’m happy with that. I really want to qualify. I would love to go some rounds. It’s the initial effort to do it, so I don’t expect a lot, but I think we have the capability of qualifying and doing well. Our car’s really strong in the eighth, but there’s a huge difference between the eighth and the quarter. But if I can go out there and qualify, win a round or so, I would call it a home run.”

This story was originally published on April 24, 2024. Drag Illustrated

You May Also Like


The star-studded STREET OUTLAWS: No Prep Kings series is set to return for its 6th season in the summer of 2023. Fans can expect to...


Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star and renowned engine builder Pat Musi joined the recent episode of The Wes Buck Show and provided an update...


Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star Lizzy Musi announced today that she has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer via her Youtube channel....


Ryan Fellows, who starred in “Street Outlaws: Fastest in America,” died in a tragic crash while filming for the show in Las Vegas on...

Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.