After a season taking care of business on the home front of the Canadian Maritimes, Cole Butcher is setting his GPS south to Nashville, TN as he will make his first start for Donnie Wilson Motorsports of 2018 at the All-American 400.
“I’m looking forward to driving for Donnie and all his guys again. Can’t wait to go against all the top competitors like Bubba Pollard, Casey Roderick, and all those guys,” Butcher told Speed51.com.
The 22-year-old member of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program 2018 class got a taste of racing down south with Wilson in 2017, but this will be his first trip to the Fairgrounds Speedway. Butcher has used some recent down time to do some homework before taking on the Nashville high banks.
“I don’t really know what to expect. Donnie says that I’ll be fine but what else is a car owner going to say to a driver? We’ll see once I get there. I’ve seen a couple of videos. I think I’m starting to get it figured out, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. So, I’ll get down there and go from there.”
While Butcher is happy to have his car owner’s confidence, it doesn’t mean that he will pass up an opportunity to squeeze every bit of knowledge from the defending All-American 400 winner.
“He’s been really good the past couple of years, this year he had bad luck there, but I think he’s had bad luck everywhere. I’m going to lean on him as much as possible, I know he’s going to be tough to beat. So maybe the first couple of laps I’ll tuck in behind him, and we’ll see what happens then.”
After securing his second title on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, Butcher has taken some time out of the racecar to help recharge for this big trip. It has made him all the more eager to get to Nashville.
“We had a really good season at home. Five wins including the PASS win. We got the Pro Stock Tour championship. But I’m looking forward to taking the momentum to Nashville. I haven’t been in the seat in a while. We skipped the last race at Oxford, but sometimes you need a break to remember why you love racing. Now I’m looking forward to getting back in and going for the win.”
One of Butcher’s biggest challenges will be the All-American 400 distance, a career high for him. While he has gone 300 laps at both Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) and Five Flags Speedway (FL), it has been 11 months since he last went for the long run. But he has found other methods to prepare himself in 2018.
“I’ve been working on these long races. I noticed even at home with the shorter races that you can go hard without getting too tired. I’ve been working on my body lately, so I’m looking forward to all those laps that I’m not used to. I ran 300 laps last year at the Snowball Derby and Hickory. It’s all about having endurance and being there at the end.”
The All-American 400 is just the first leg on Butcher’s southern journey with the Wilson team as it will get him up to snuff before journey’s end at the Snowball Derby.
“One of the main reasons I chose this event was that I didn’t get to run as much as I would’ve wanted to with Donnie this year, supporting my home series and tracks in Canada. It will be a great opportunity to get accustomed to the guys again and get ready for the Derby.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com