Gainesville Spotlight: Bo Butner

Bo Butner and his Super Gas roadster, in 2019, with Randi Lyn Shipp

The 51st annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals has Pro Stock’s defending event champion in an interesting position. Bo Butner won the race last year and doubled-up with fiancé Randi Lyn Shipp, who scored the Stock Eliminator trophy, and of course they both wanted a chance to repeat. However, a twist in the division and national event schedules necessitated a tough decision for the avid Sportsman competitors.

Shipp and Butner traveled to St. Louis early during the week of the Gatornationals to finish up an event that had been delayed by rain. It was productive, particularly for Shipp. She raced to the semifinals on Thursday for a nice boost to her racing season, and she and Butner both entered the next points meet there, which was slated to begin on Friday and complete Saturday.

With the Gatornationals set to kick-off on Saturday morning, they knew they would be jumping on a plane to Florida Friday night – but heck, they thought. Why not see what happens?

Butner was entered in Super Gas and Super Comp, and Shipp had her trusty ’68 Pontiac Firebird all warmed up for Stock Eliminator. Turns out, they were both on a hot streak and started going rounds.

“I had to convince Randi Lyn to leave St. Louis yesterday,” said Butner, as he wiped down his Chevy Camaro Pro Stocker in his pit at Gainesville. “We were both still in the race, but we had to get on that flight. I won this race last year, and I think we have the car to do it again.”

The NHRA season is winding down, and Butner is tied for No. 6 in the Pro Stock points. Gainesville is one of just five events remaining on the current schedule – which is absolutely subject to change as the health restrictions fluctuate in the country.

“We had a good car after Indy, and Matt [Hartford] and I had a fun race on Sunday; it was a lot like a bracket race,” recalled Butner. “So, we’ll see how we do here. I feel good about defending the Pro Stock title we got here last year. The KB Racing team and my guys had our Chevy Camaro running well, and if we can keep that up, we’ll have a shot.”

Next week, it’s back to St. Louis for Butner and Shipp, and they’ll be joined by the whole NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series crew for the national event.

“We’ll have the same [Sportsman] cars we left there yesterday,” said Butner. “I’m excited for this race here and what we can do, and then I can’t wait to get back to St. Louis. We’ll be ready.”

Bo Butner in the winner’s circle at last year’s 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals

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