Sharp as Ever

Bo Butner in the driver’s seat of Lee Sharp’s 2020 Pontiac G5, with longtime crew chief Darrel Herron on the assist

That efficient little A/SM Pontiac G5 that Bo Butner is campaigning in Comp Eliminator at this weekend’s 67th annual Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals is pretty darn quick, as one in-the-know would expect. The G5 is owned by veteran Comp racer Lee Sharp, who has a distinct history of setting records and going very, very fast.

Sharp started racing in the late 1960s at various dragstrips in his home state of Florida, campaigning a slew of GM products in Modified Eliminator and blazing a trail through NHRA’s Southeast Division. After an extended break from racing to focus on his family and his business, Sharp Contracting, the racing bug came back in a big way in the mid-2000s, and Sharp returned with a whole stable of racecars.

Butner, the 2006 Comp Eliminator champion, was among the drivers who spent time campaigning cars from Sharp’s notoriously quick fleet.

“Bo and I go back and have a history,” said Sharp between Comp qualifying sessions this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. “He is very tuned up on Comp, and we felt like this would be a good fit. We’ve had a great time all these years, and we’re having fun now.”

The Pontiac G5 that Butner is campaigning for Sharp was No. 3 after the first session of qualifying and No. 4 when the field was set for eliminations at the U.S. Nationals. Butner’s best qualifying time was a 7.785-second pass that was .665 under the A/SM index.

The results were moderately pleasing for Sharp, who knows that they have faster combinations up their sleeves than what they’re presently running, but is also aiming to keep the car in chase-mode as something of an advantage.

That’s an interesting take for Sharp, who loves to go fast and has 28 national records to his name. In fact, no one has ever broken any of those records.

“That was my claim to fame. I don’t claim to be a driver, but I can qualify No. 1 and set records,” said Sharp. “I can hold my own on the starting line, but down on the other end with such a fast car, that isn’t quite my game. That’s something Bo is very good at.”

Butner’s efforts behind the wheel are complemented by longtime racing partner Darrel Herron, as well as Tim Freeman, both of whom worked on his Pro Stock car for the last few years and are maintaining the car and the clutch setup this weekend. EFI guru John Meaney (of BigStuff3 fame) is also on site for assistance.

“We’ve got a great group. This weekend, we’re out here to have a little bit of racer’s luck and a lot of fun,” said Sharp.

For more cool stuff about Lee Sharp, check out this story written by legendary NHRA announcer Bob Frey for DragRace Central in 2007: Cat-Man-Do!!

EFI master John Meaney, left, with Lee Sharp and Bo Butner Racing crew member Dylan Mudd, rear

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