Need for speed is in the blood

By Aaron Wilgosh, The Graphic

Born to go fast.

16-year-old Newton, Man., drag racer Cole Butler's strong junior racing career came to a disappointing halt last week when he couldn't crack the leaderboard at the International Hot Rod Association's (IHRA) Summit World Finals in Memphis, Tenn.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking down there,” says Butler. “I didn't do too well out there and it was really a tough end to the season and my junior career.”

Butler started his racing career at the age of 10 when he got a junior car for his birthday, but his love for the track came much earlier, as he was touched by the screaming engines and smell of burnt rubber while watching his parents suit up for the strip growing up. Both his mother and father were racing before he was born, but his mother gave up the sport once Cole got behind the wheel.

“When I was 14, I won both May long weekend events and was really ahead in points," says Butler. "The top competitors were broken (down) for most of the race and I kept pulling ahead. I took the track championship that year pretty easily.”

Butler has done quite well for himself at the track, winning the Gimli Track Championship three years running while making two appearances at the Summit Worlds. He has 23 trophies to his name and two Iron Man awards - the latter, according to the IHRA, is among the most coveted awards in the racing community.

“It's wild looking down the track before a race,” says Butler. “It's all about keeping your nerves in check. In a big race you get nervous and when you're staring down the tree you can't have a slow (reaction) or you'll lose, or you go too fast and get disqualified. I usually take a couple deep breathes, stay focused, and give it my all.”

He adds it's a really great family hobby and he'll be working on a '68 Chevrolet El Camino with his father over the winter and hopes to get it on the track for next year.


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