(Stafford Springs, CT)—For hometown driver Tom Butler, driving to NAPA Victory Lane at Stafford Speedway in the Late Model division was something that race fans were accustomed to seeing on a regular basis. Butler recorded 23 wins between his first Late Model win in May 1993 through the 2009 season, which was an average of better than a win per season. But the past 6 seasons had seen some lean times for the driver of the green #4 that he has made famous among Stafford fans with no wins in that time frame. Butler put those lean times in his rearview mirror this past Friday night with a dominating victory that saw him lead all 30 laps to record his first win in nearly 6 full seasons of competition.
“It was awesome,” said Butler. “It really didn’t feel like 6 years apart. My father wasn’t lying to me when he said time just flies by the older you get. Winning never gets old and we’re looking to get at least one more win before the season is over. We were ready to go out and run another race last Friday night after we won and we’re really looking forward to Friday nights the rest of the season.”
Over the past 6 seasons, Butler kept himself busy with a partial racing schedule along with working as a crew member on the cars driven by Al and Cliff Saunders. Despite being one of the winningest drivers in Stafford’s Late Model history, Butler says it was his work as a crew member that helped keep the fire in his belly going in the quest to get back to victory lane and helped keep his confidence up.
“I missed a few races because we were waiting for our motor to be finished, but helping out Al and Cliff Saunders kind of kept the fire going for me,” said Butler. “I knew I could still do it, I just needed the right stuff to actually go out and prove it. You do start to think about it when wins are that far apart and you have some second guessing if you make a mistake during a race, but we win as a team and we lose as a team. I have the final say as the driver and sometimes I’d lose some confidence but it never got low enough to where I thought I couldn’t come back and win a race. We’re starting to figure out how to manage our tires and we made some changes to the car that we normally wouldn’t make to help me be comfortable in the car. Starting up front really helped us out and we’ll have to see how things turn out now that we won’t be starting on the front row.”
While Butler was excited to end his victory drought, he was even more excited to see the looks of joy on the faces of his volunteer crew, some of which were visiting victory lane for the very first time.
“It’s the joy of winning and to accomplish something that you work 2 or 3 nights a week in the shop,” said Butler. “The crew is all volunteer and I’ve got a couple of young kids on the team and this was their first win working with me. We’ve won numerous times but every time you win a race, it’s always something exciting. It’s definitely not going to be 6 years until we win our next race. We’ve had the car close a couple of times this season and I think we’re on the right track right now. We really appreciate T/A Engines, Steve McCarthy and SPM Chassis, Magnus Transmissions, Waddell Communications, and my buddy Rod from American General Contractors, has let us use his truck the past couple of weeks to get the car to the track. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”
With Butler ending his 6-year winless drought in dominating fashion, don’t bet against the #4 team to repeat the feat before the checkered flag falls on the 2015 season at Stafford Motor Speedway.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.