Solid qualifying effort locks Bo Butner into top half at the NHRA Gatornationals
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 11, 2023) – Unlike years past, the 2023 season of NHRA's Camping World Drag Racing Series kicked off at Gainesville Raceway with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, and that's just fine with Bo Butner. You see, the driver of the Johnson's Horsepowered Garage Chevrolet Camaro has had some good fortune in Gainesville, and he'd certainly like a repeat. He'll work toward that goal on Sunday, starting with a first-round meeting with Deric Kramer.
"We've had a couple Gatornationals wins, and it's always just a great time here in Gainesville," said Butner, who claimed a win in Stock Eliminator in 2013 and another in Pro Stock at the Gatornationals in 2019 (when he doubled with now-wife Randi Lyn, who earned the Stock trophy).
Friday qualifying this year was a thrill for the fans, with pleasing numbers in fairly friendly conditions. Butner was particularly pleased as he laid down an untroubled 6.555-second pass at 208.81 mph in the first session followed by a 6.556, 209.46 in the later round to settled into the No. 3 spot with three bonus points in his bucket as one of the quickest cars on the property.
Saturday's conditions, though, dawned cooler and with less water in the air – factors that the naturally aspirated cars really appreciate. With those improved conditions on the horizon, Butner was aiming to go even better – but he acknowledged the challenge in a field of exceptionally capable cars.
"Yesterday was a very, very good start," said Butner on Saturday morning. "The team worked hard on our program, and it shows. I think there's always something left, but the field is so tight. Today, you have to have it – the weather is way better. Even though you were fast yesterday, you could be 10th if you don't make a good run on this one."
In the first qualifying session on Saturday, Butner improved to a 6.539, 211.53, but the rest of the field improved as well, and he was bumped down to the No. 7 position. In the final qualifier, Butner's 6.557, 209.95 did him no good, and he landed eighth in the line-up.
"We had a great Day One yesterday, and then today we missed it both runs," said Butner. "But we know what we have with our JHG Chevy, and it's a player. Tomorrow is Day One of a different kind, and we have a great raceday combo. I'm definitely looking forward to a long day with the JHG Chevy."
Final eliminations at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals will take place on Sunday, March 13, 2023, beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
#NHRAonFOX television schedule:
Qualifying / Sunday – 9-10:30 AM ET / FS1
Eliminations / Sunday – 12-3p ET / FOX
Q1: 6.555-second at 208.81 mph (No. 3, +1 bonus point)
Q2: 6.552, 209.52 (No. 3, +2)
Q3: 6.539, 211.53 (No. 7)
Q4: 6.542, 210.28 (No. 8)
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Standings
(after qualifying at Gainesville, race 1 of 18)
1. Erica Enders, 42
2. Troy Coughlin Jr., 41
3t. Dallas Glenn, 37
3t. Mason McGaha, 37
5t. Greg Anderson, 36
5t. Bo Butner, 36
5t. Aaron Stanfield, 36
8. Camrie Caruso, 35
9. Kyle Koretsky, 34
10t. Cristian Cuadra, 33
10t. Deric Kramer, 33