Many in Super Late Model racing across North America don’t know Cole Butcher’s name just yet, but there’s a good chance that can change at the 50th Annual Snowball Derby on Sunday, December 3. Butcher is making a 2,000-mile trek from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida hoping to become the first Canadian to win the Snowball Derby.
While it would be Butcher’s first Derby start, this won’t be his first trip to the legendary half-mile near the coast of Florida’s panhandle. Butcher scored a top-10 finish in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model race last December.
“It would be very impressive on your resume, especially with this being my first Derby and I’ve only raced down south a handful of times. I remember at the last Snowflake everyone saying ‘Who is Cole Butcher?’”
If you don’t know who Cole Butcher is yet, here’s some background information: He is 21 years old from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, which is technically a part of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Butcher gained recognition by being named to the Kulwicki Driver Development Program Class of 2017.
On the race track, Butcher scored the 2016 Maritime Pro Stock Tour championship and has finished second in points with that Tour twice in the last three seasons. He has also won the prestigious Atlantic Cat 250 at Scotia Speedworld (NS) the last two seasons.
Off the track, Butcher is a laidback kid. In fact, the day that Butcher is most looking forward to during Snowball Derby week is qualifying day, the one day that almost every participant dreads.
“I like to have fun, so I’m going to try and stay that way. I know tensions can get high and you have to be serious, but you also have to have fun or what else is the point going? So, I like to stay lightheaded and have fun with the guys,” Butcher told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I can stay that way for a while. I don’t get very excited, but once you get in the car and strap in, that’s a completely different feeling. That’s when your nerves get high and you have to show them what you’ve got. I honestly can’t wait to qualify but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”
When Butcher races in the southern region of America, he does so for Donnie Wilson Racing instead of his family team. For the second year in a row, Butcher will head to Pensacola with Wilson’s team, and that familiarity is something Butcher believes is key for success.
“They’re like a second family. We all look at it the same way. We’re here to have fun. I think Donnie’s success has helped me become a better driver when I come down south too.”
Butcher is hoping that with help of Donnie Wilson, he will be able to leave Five Flags Speedway on the evening of December 3rd as the first to take the Tom Dawson trophy to Canada.
“It would be the best feeling in the entire world. It’s the biggest Super Late Model race. Everybody looks at the Snowball Derby as the place to go. That’s where you make your name. That’s where Erik Jones made his name. Even if Donnie won, that would be a win for me just because I’m part of the team. It requires a good car but a lot of luck. Anything can happen.”
If everything happens just right, the whole racing world will know Cole Butcher’s name.
Race fans unable to make it to Pensacola, FL for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby can watch Butcher and over 100 other Late Model drivers via a live, television-style broadcast on Speed51.com. Live video tickets for the five days of racing can be purchased now by clicking here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: Speed51.com