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Palmer Re-ups With Thompson In Top Fuel

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, January 3 2019
Scott Palmer will be back in a Tommy Thompson dragster in 2019.

By John Sturbin/Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Top Fuel driver Scott Palmer will remain with Tommy Thompson Motorsports for the full 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Palmer, who finished 10th in the final 2018 Countdown to the Championship point standings topped by Steve Torrence, will campaign the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent dragster.

“I’m honored and humbled that Tommy wants to keep us around for another year,” Palmer said in a statement. “Our relationship goes far beyond racing. We’re good friends and partners and I know I have the best supporter in all of motorsports. We are going to do everything we can to bring attention and hopefully a bunch of trophies to the entire Midwest Organics family.”

A 55-year-old resident of Cassville, Mo., Palmer ranked ninth in average elapsed time for the 1,000-foot distance last season at 3.832-seconds after 119 runs and eighth in speed at 321.54 mph. The class averages were 3.825-seconds and 321.94 mph, respectively. He was not ranked among the top-10 in reaction time, where the average was 0.0781-seconds.

Palmer qualified for the Countdown for the second year in a row in 2018 driving for Thompson. Midwest Organics, parent company of Magic Dry and CatSpot, is owned by Thompson. Both products will be promoted on Palmer’s car in 2019.

“We’re switching the primary position to Magic Dry to help get that product fully launched and in the hands of as many people as possible,” Palmer said. “It’s a pretty remarkable absorbent that can be used in so many different ways and drag racing fans definitely need to learn all about it.”

Palmer’s goals for 2019 are to win the team’s first Wally trophy and once again earn a spot in the six-race Countdown playoffs.

“We learned a lot last year and we came into the offseason with a list of things in certain areas where we think we can improve,” Palmer said. “We reached a point where we are consistently running with the best cars and we want to expand on that and get to where we’re in position to truly challenge for race wins every weekend. Right now, it’s a thrill to know we will be racing the entire NHRA schedule.”

Don Corsette, Midwest Organics’ vice president, said extending Palmer’s contract was an easy decision. “Scott is such a likable guy and a true racer in every sense,” Corsette said. “His interaction with the fans and the reaction he gets from people in the pits makes him the perfect ambassador for Magic Dry and CatSpot. He’s definitely moved the needle for us and helped expose race fans to what we’re doing with our all-natural, 100-percent organic products.”

Utilizing the all-natural, super-absorbency of coconut husks, Magic Dry 100 Percent Organic Multi-Purpose Absorbent removes all kinds of liquid spills. Magic Dry is produced in Sikeston, Mo.

Bo Butner has slammed his drag racing career into reverse, opting to run NHRA’s reduced Pro Stock schedule fulltime in 2019.

As the 2018 NHRA season wound down in November, Butner  announced his plan to exit the class. The 2017 Pro Stock world champion and longtime Sportsman racer, Butner originally elected to return to his roots and spend more time with his family. But when NHRA confirmed a reduced 2019 schedule for the “Factory Hot Rod” class, Butner reconsidered.

With the support of his family, Butner will return to the 18-race Pro Stock tour this season in a Chevrolet Camaro fielded by Ken Black Racing. But he also remains committed to competing in the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown in his Cobra Jet Mustang.

“I’m a glutton for punishment,” said Butner, who will rejoin Ken Black teammates and fellow-world champions Greg Anderson and Jason Line.

NHRA announced on Nov. 10 that Pro Stock would pare its 2019 schedule from 24 to 18 national events.  “We think the new schedule will increase participation by relieving the economic burden and time commitment that comes with 24 events, which will ignite more intense competition. All of that should make for compelling action and drive fan interest,” said Josh Peterson, NHRA vice president of racing administration.

The revised schedule will see Pro Stock competitors race twice in 2019 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif., and The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, Pro Stock events have been dropped from Houston Raceway in Baytown, Texas, in April; the Four-Wide event at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., also in April; Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., in May; Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas in June; Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway, also in June and New England Dragway in Epping, N.H., in July.  

A resident of Floyds Knobs, Ind., Butner went home after the last race of the 2018 season and discussed the idea to exit Pro Stock with his son, JB Butner, general sales manager of Jim Butner Auto Group in Clarksville, Ind. ”JB runs the dealership, so it was important he was on-board with it,” Butner said.

Additionally, Butner’s fiancé, Randi Lyn Shipp, will continue to race Stock Eliminator at the national level. Butner’s participation in the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown will take shape as the year goes on.

“The Factory Stock Showdown is a great deal, and I’m looking forward to racing in it. If we have a shot to win that championship, of course we’ll take it,” said Butner, who has earned multiple division titles and the 2006 Competition Eliminator world title in addition to his Pro Stock championship.

When Butner initially decided to exit Pro Stock, he said he would only return with KB Racing. “It tore at my heart to think about something happening to this class or it going away, and that’s another reason I wanted to come back,” Butner said. “So we sat down and talked with KB Racing in Pomona.” The 2018 season concluded at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif.

Butner has compiled seven Pro Stock wins with KBR since launching his Pro Stock career in Gainesville, Fla., in 2015. “They were supportive, and Ken and Judy Black said that any time I ever wanted to come back, I’m welcome. We’re all like a big family,” said Butner, who finished eighth in the final 2018 Countdown standings topped by Tanner Gray.

Butner ranked eighth in elapsed time for the quarter-mile last season at 6.590-seconds based upon 136 runs, with the class average at 6.587-seconds. He was sixth in speed at 209.26 mph, with the average at 208.64 mph. Butner’s reaction time of 0.0333-seconds was eighth, with the average at 0.352-seconds. He posted only two red-light disqualifications in 45 lights.

Anderson, who formed KB Racing with team-owner Black in 2002, welcomed Butner’s change in plans. “We’re excited,” said Anderson, a four-time Pro Stock world champion and driver of the Summit Racing Equipment Camaro. “Bo is like family to us, and we’ve had a great run together the last few years. We’ve had a lot of fun, and he’s a heck of a racer. We hated to see Bo leave the class, and it’s great to see him come back. Not just for KB Racing, but for Pro Stock.”

KB Racing’s fulltime lineup also features Line, a three-time Pro Stock world champion.

Butner likely will remain in the same KB Racing-owned Jerry Haas-built Camaro he drove last season. Tuning calls on his car will be made by crew chief Darrel Herron, along with KB Racing’s Tim Freeman. Tyler Hogan, of Hogan’s Manifolds, will return, as will Jack Line (Jason Line’s son), as school permits.

“I think everything is going in the right direction with this team. Everyone at KB Racing is pumped up and working hard,” Butner said. “I’m excited to get back to it.”

A concrete racing surface is being installed at historic Gainesville Raceway prior to the start of the 2019 season and the 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

Construction kicked off last month at the NHRA-owned facility in Florida with plans to have the track prepped well in advance of the Gatornationals set for March 14-17. As part of the project, the old track surface is being removed and replaced with an all-concrete surface. New asphalt also will be installed beyond the finish line.

“We are excited to have a new and improved concrete racing surface just in time for the 50thannual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals,” said Kasey Coler, NHRA vice president of track management and operations. “There’s been so much enthusiasm and anticipation for this historic event and the new track will further enhance the level of competition that fans can expect.”

Long recognized as one of NHRA’s most iconic races, the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals is the traditional East Coast opener for the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Gainesville Raceway, site of Kenny Bernstein’s landmark first 300-mph quarter-mile Top Fuel pass in 1992, originally opened in 1969. The current racing surface was paved in 2003.

“Once the existing concrete and asphalt is removed, the base underneath will be reworked to improve drainage,” said Michael Yurick, track manager at Gainesville Raceway. “After that is completed, they will pour a new 60-feet wide concrete track from the water box down past the finish line. Asphalt beyond where the concrete ends will also be replaced. The new surface will make for better racing for all our week-to-week events as well as the Gatornationals. When completed, Gainesville Raceway will be one of the premier racing surfaces in the country.”

Tickets for the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals are on sale. Fans can purchase general admission or reserved seats by calling (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visiting www.NHRA.com/tickets. Children 12-and- under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult.

REVISED 2019 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES PRO STOCK SCHEDULE

Feb. 7-10 _ Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, Pomona, Calif.

Feb. 22-24 _ NHRA Arizona Nationals, Chandler, Ariz.

March 14-17 _ Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla.

April 5-7 _ DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Las Vegas

May 17-19 _ Virginia NHRA Nationals, Richmond, Va.

May 30-June 2 _ Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Joliet, Ill.

June 20-23 _ Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Norwalk, Ohio

July 19-21 _ Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Morrison, Colo.

July 26-28 _ NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Sonoma, Calif.

Aug. 2-4 _ NHRA Northwest Nationals, Kent, Wash.

Aug. 15-18 _ Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd, Minn.

Aug. 28-Sept. 2 _Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Clermont, Ind.

NHRA MELLO YELLO COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP

Sept. 12-15 _ Dodge NHRA Nationals, Reading, Pa.

Sept. 27-29 _AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, Madison, Ill.

Oct. 11-13 _ NHRA Carolina Nationals Concord, N.C.

Oct. 17-20 _ AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Ennis, Texas

Oct. 31-Nov. 3 _ NHRA Nevada Nationals Las Vegas

Nov. 14-17 _ Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, January 3 2019
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