Two weeks ago, Bo Butner was lounging on a beach in the Caribbean while on a dream trip he planned with girlfriend Randi Lyn Shipp before the American Drag Racing League ever announced the debut of its revolutionary new SuperCar Showdown category. However, the mind of the two-time SuperCar Showdown champion wasnâ€™t on the pristine sands or the cool ocean water; he was on the phone with the team of his Butnerâ€™s Auto Sales 2012 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet as competition raged at the ADRL Gateway Drags IV presented by CarSafe at Gateway Motorsports Parks in Madison, Ill.
The helpless Hoosier could only listen as he heard the news of young Drew Skillmanâ€™s World Record performances of 5.70 seconds and 121.01 miles per hour in another supercharged Mustang Cobra Jet en route to a clean sweep of the event culminating in Skillmanâ€™s first SCS victory. Moreover, Skillmanâ€™s final round victim was NHRA superstar Jimmy DeFrank, whom Butner pegged to drive his Cobra Jet in his absence.
â€œI was hearing things I didnâ€™t want to hear,â€ opined Butner when he retuned to Indiana,â€œand Iâ€™d be lying if I said I didnâ€™t want to be at the Gateway race. We booked this vacation at the end of 2011 and it just happened to fall on the week when the ADRL series was closest to my house. I kept thinking what I could have done if I was there. I was in every SuperCar final round before that race and, I have to admit, it felt like a punch to the gut when I heard the numbers Drew was putting down.”
Even Defrank managed a solid kick to Butnerâ€™s head when the Californian, a close friend of Butner, clocked a 5.78/120.03 in the final round which, ironically, was the quickest pass ever made in the SCS by the Butnerâ€™s Auto Sales Mustang. â€œIt was the first side-by-side 5.70 race,â€ said Butner, â€œand it was the first SCS race with both cars over 120 mph in the eighth-mile. I kept wondering if the outcome would have been different if I had been there.”
Butnerâ€™s wondering quickly turned to action when he returned to his shop in Floyds Knobs, a small farming community in the southernmost portion of Indiana only four miles north of Louisville, Kentucky. He began working on a program which would give his white Cobra Jet the ability to not only be competitive against Skillmanâ€™s new performance standard but, hopefully, record even quicker numbers at the ADRL U.S. Drags V at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond on June 22-23.
â€œMy crew and my teammate, Chris Holbrook, noticed a few things about Skillmanâ€™s Mustang which we think weâ€™ve figured out,â€ admitted Butner. â€œTheyâ€™re definitely on to something but we think itâ€™s a combination of rearend gear ratio and a pretty stiff first gear ratio in the transmission. After we sorted out the possible combinations, we came up with one for the Richmond race which we think will work.”
â€œDonâ€™t get me wrongâ€, insisted Butner. â€œThis is a radical combination and Iâ€™m alerting all photographers right now; itâ€™s either going to work or Iâ€™m going to end up like Chris Holbrook did at the Gateway race.â€
Butner was referring to partner Holbrookâ€™s gigantic starting line wheelstand which became the most-viewed video of the last ADRL event; it can be seen at http://adrl.tv/?woo_video=chris-holbrooks-supercar-showdown-wheelie
Butner noted, â€œWe have an added incentive with the cash bonus put up by John Meaney at BigStuff3 Fuel Injection Systems, too. Thatâ€™s real good money and it wasnâ€™t claimed at the St. Louis race so thatâ€™s something weâ€™re trying to grab, as well.â€
Meaneyâ€™s BigStuff company has posted a one-time $1,000 prize for any SuperCar Showdown winner using a BigStuff3 electronic Engine Control Unit, (commonly known as an ECU), along with a $250 payoff for the low qualifier using the same unit and displaying decals from BigStuff3.
â€œI canâ€™t take anything away from Drew Skillman,â€ conceded Butner. â€œThe numbers he ran at St. Louis were stunning and heâ€™s one of the hottest drivers in drag racing right now. However, we have a lot of sponsors who want to see us do well and Richmond isnâ€™t going to have the conditions they saw at the Gateway event. Richmond is going to be hot, humid and tricky. Itâ€™s going to take some work to put a thousand horsepower to the ground through nine inch-wide tires. My car has been in the final of every SCS race and I donâ€˜t plan for that to change.
â€œAll I can say to Drew is you better bring your best to Richmond. Iâ€™m cominâ€™ with everything Iâ€™ve got. Iâ€™m gunninâ€™ for ya, kid!â€
(Photos by ADRL)