Bo Butner aiming the #JHGDriven Chevy at the winner's circle at sponsor's home track
SONOMA, Calif. (July 23, 2022) – Bo Butner and Jason Johnson have spent a lot of time together this year. When Johnson signed on as Butner's primary sponsor in the Pro Stock class, it was the beginning of more than a partnership – it was the continuation of a friendship that formed when the two car guys bonded in 2020. Now, flying the colors of Johnson's Horsepowered Garage, 2017 Pro Stock world champion Butner has the opportunity to race at the home track of Johnson and his wife, Nikki.
"I would love to get the trophy here," said Butner, who has one previous Sonoma win that came in his Super Gas Corvette roadster in 2019, the very first time he raced in the class. "Jason and Nikki grew up coming here with their fathers, so this is really a special place for them. It's so cool to see people who really care about this sport, and it would be great to win for them. It would mean a lot to us, and I think it would mean a lot to them, too."
In qualifying for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, the 10th of 19 races this season for the naturally aspirated factory hot rods, Butner knew he had something to work with as soon as he dropped the clutch. Right out of the trailer, the Johnson's Horsepowered Garage Chevrolet Camaro was a top-half contender with a 6.564-second pass at 210.41 mph that set its driver in the No. 6 position.
After the lone qualifying session on Friday, Butner and his #JHGDriven team were eager to make another pass down the quarter-mile at Sonoma Raceway and prove their progress. Indeed, they came up with a 6.539, 209.82 in Saturday's early session that left no question that they were on to something.
The well-jelled team returned for the final qualifier, and although they weren't able to make a terribly productive final pass, they were anything but dejected as they prepared their Pro Stocker for eliminations.
"Overall, I'm very pleased," said Butner, as his determined crew wrenched on the JHG Chevy Camaro in the background. "That last run, we were on a very good race-mode run, we just had a little bit of an issue and had to push the clutch in. But in doing that, we saved the motor, and that's very good. We'll make a little adjustment and a fix, and we'll be good to go back out there for Sunday."
Qualified in the No, 7 position, his best start since the spring race in Las Vegas, Butner is set to race Chris McGaha in the opening act. Butner and McGaha have only raced one another once so far this year, and it was at that Las Vegas event. There, Butner got the nod.
"I feel good about our chances tomorrow, but this is the toughest year," admitted Butner. "Picking up a few thou' [thousandths of a second] in qualifying would have moved you. Anybody has a shot to win. But the track is good, and this JHG Chevy is definitely capable of getting down. There has been a lot of hard work done by these guys over here, and we're improving every run – the car is reacting to what we do, and that's exciting going into raceday."
Final eliminations for the DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals are scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 24, 2022 beginning at 10:30 a.m. PT.
Watch #NHRAonFOX on Sunday for DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals coverage:
Qualifying: 1:30-3 p.m. ET on FS1
Eliminations: 4-7 p.m. ET on FOX
Q1: 6.564-second, 210.41 mph (No. 6)
Q2: 6.539, 209.82 (No. 6)
Q3: 6.925, 155.52 (No. 7)
First round match-up:
Bo Butner vs. Chris McGaha