Tire Strategy Brings Butcher Redbud Success

Canadian driver Cole Butcher played possum early in the running of the 57th annual Greg Hubler Automotive Group Redbud 400. Butcher set fast time during qualifying Saturday for the American Speed Association Stars National Tour race. The draw placed current point leader Ty Majeski, a regular with the NASCAR Truck Series, and Bubba Pollard on the front row. Majeski jumped into the lead at the start with Butcher moving up to second by the 50th lap from his starting spot outside the top five.

By lap 140 Majeseki had built up a sizable lead when the race was slowed for the first of two stage breaks. With all the other cars pitting, Butcher stayed out and claimed the lead for six laps. By staying out many wondered if Butcher didn’t know how to enter the Anderson Speedway pit area. But as Butcher and crew chief Bond Suss explained it was all part of their strategy. Majeski quickly retook the lead on lap 146 and on older tires Butcher dropped back in the field with Gio Ruggerio mounting a challenge for the lead before the second stage break. Ruggiero took the lead on lap 291 with an inside pass of a fading Majeski. Butcher took the lead on lap 303 with a pass of Ruggiero entering turn one and led to the finish. At the checkered flag Butcher won by 2.3-seconds over Ruggiero with Majeski coming home third and Kyle Crump and Dalton Armstrong rounding out the top five. Butcher joined Junior Hanley, the 2004 Redbud winner, as the only Canadians to win the race.

“The strategy of taking left side tires late paid off,” Butcher said in the Peterman Brothers Victory Lane. “I finally got my first super late model win, especially winning here.” He has been seeking that first super late model race win for seven years. “It’s about time,” Butcher said. “Ty (Majeski) was the guy to beat all weekend, by staying out there late and having fresher tires.”

Ruggeiro said he probably burned the tires up early in the final green-flag run to the finish. “He (Butcher) had newer stuff,” he said.

Majeski said as the race transitioned the car wasn’t as good at the finish after leading 284 of the first 290 laps. “We were pretty dominant the first couple of runs,” he said. ‘When the sun started to set, we just couldn’t get the balance of the car right. I didn’t have any experience here and didn’t know how the track would change.”