Racing stars from all over North America have competed in Champion Racing Association (CRA) events over the years. But this weekend during SpeedFest 2018 at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA), history will be made when the first Australian competes in an ARCA/CRA Super Series race.
Bronson Butcher, one of the latest shoes to come out of the Legends Car ranks, has indeed come a very far distance from his hometown of Holdbroke, North South Wales, Australia to compete in the annual Late Model event.
While Karts and Legends have helped bring him to the States, he is now preparing to immerse himself in the crucible of Super Late Models. He’ll begin by going to one of its most difficult events: CRA SpeedFest. Following a Super Late Model runner-up in his debut at the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park, Butcher is eager to take on even more in 2018, which will feature select starts in the new Late Model program for GMS Racing.
“Looking at the entry list it's a pretty stacked field. I'm pretty pumped to get out there and see what I've got against some of the best guys,” Butcher told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It's probably what I'm going to have to compete against all year. We are going to try and do a few of the bigger races this year, including the Snowball Derby at the end of the year.”
While time has been spent in preparation for SpeedFest, this winter Butcher also took the time to do something even more important than racing.
“I actually went back to Australia for a while, first time I've been back in six years,” he explained. “First time I've seen a lot of my family in a long time and of course it was over 100 degrees when I was there so it was nice to get some warm weather and miss the big freeze here; it was all over the news back home. My crew chief has been hard at work on the car over the offseason, and I think we got a pretty good piece.”
With Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, GA now looming large, Butcher is calling on some help to assist with his first SpeedFest.
“This is my first time going. I haven't even seen the track; I've been watching a lot of videos,” Butcher stated. “Then talking to Johnny Sauter, who of course races with us over at GMS Racing, he's been down there a couple of times, so I'll be leaning on him for some tips. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, it's going to be a tough field, but after the run at Southern National I'm very confident in my ability to drive. But it's still only my second race so we're going to go out there and focus on our game and be somewhere near the point at the end of the race.”
Butcher’s familiarity with his team is very strong though, given the time he has already put in with GMS on the NASCAR circuit as a crew member. A duty which will continue to occupy much of his time in 2018.
“I'm going to be traveling around on the NASCAR XFINITY series with Spencer Gallagher's car as a mechanic. Think I'll be doing around eight races this year in a Super Late Model. It's definitely full on, working six days a week for 33 races is a lot of time. But I'm doing what I can to get behind the wheel myself.”
Although Butcher’s seat time in a Super Late Model has been limited, it has not taken long for the cars to make an impression on him.
‘They are a blast to drive, they have so much horsepower, they are lightweight, and have some of the most competitive racing in the country,” he said. I'm looking forward to getting some more time in a Super Late Model this year.”
Butcher also wants the opportunity to continue his driving career with GMS, but has hinted that he will need sponsorship help for the journey to continue.
“I'm enjoying my time at GMS, I've been with them for a while. They've helped me out with Legend Cars. I definitely hope to move forward with them, try to work into one of their truck programs or XFINITY.”
Race fans worldwide can watch Butcher and a stout field of Late Model competitors compete in CRA SpeedFest live on Speed51.com this Saturday on the 51TV pay-per-view broadcast. Live video tickets can be purchased today by clicking here.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA, RI & Long Island Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: #ShootAwesome