After a long summer, working with some of NASCAR’s next prospects in the GMS Racing Driver Development program, Bronson was more than ready to get back behind the wheel of his #21 Chevrolet.
The stage was set for the CARS Tour season finale at South Boston Speedway, and despite not competing for the championship himself in 2019, Butcher had been in attendance for the entire season as Crew Chief of the #21 Chevy for GMS Racing.
Despite being an unfamiliar track for the Australian, he took no time in getting adjusted, in fact he took a liking to the track very early on, consistently finding himself in the top 3 throughout practice. “So far so good, this track is a lot different to what I’m used to, very smooth and a lot more grip but I’m enjoying it, I feel I’m able to drive our GMS Racing Chevy pretty hard and not have to worry about tire fall off.” it
Qualifying 5th did not seem to concern Butcher too much. Once the green flag dropped for the 125 lap feature, Bronson quickly found himself in the top 3 and hot on the heels of the 2 leaders. As the laps dwindled down, the positions remained the same, despite some valiant efforts by Butcher to maneuver into the 2nd position. “I feel the 3 of us were just riding, saving our stuff for the end of the race, but when it came time to go it was just tough to pass, Tate and myself were just easily matched and we raced hard but I’ll take 3rd, it was a good day for us.”
Hot off the heels of a strong performance during the opening CARS Tour event at Hickory the week earlier, Bronson was excited for a quick turn around and to get back to the famed 3/8th mile bullring.
Boasting the strongest field of drivers thus far in 2019, the marquee event for Hickory Motor Speedway and the Pro All Star Series was shaping up to be a classic. With limited practice due to weather, Butcher qualified his #21 Chevrolet P1 with a blistering 14.494, 2 tenths of a second faster than 2nd place qualifier Preston Peltier and Bubba Pollard in 3rd.
Unfortunately, a dispute between the GMS Racing team of Butcher and the tech official resulted in Butchers time being disallowed. The young Australian was forced to start last in the last chance race. He maneuvered his way past 13 cars in 15 laps to finish 2nd, giving him a 21st starting position in the feature.
Methodically working his way through the field, Butcher used patience to find himself inside the top 5 with 50 laps to go. Rain started to fall on the racetrack and Bronson got loose on the exit of turn 2, brushing the outside wall and breaking a component in the rear suspension, ending his night early.
“It’s devastating to not be able to race this one out to the end, I felt we had a good shot at the win, the GMS Racing guys prepared a fast Chevy for us tonight. We showed everyone we were here to win tonight.”
Bronson’s racing schedule looks to take a break heading into the summer months as he focuses on his role as Crew Chief/Team Manager for the GMS Racing Driver Development program, but look for him to be back behind the wheel later in the season.