After ending last season on a rough note, David Butcher is focused on a new challenge ahead for the 2020 campaign, as he will be one of the rookies in the Mini Stock division at Peterborough Speedway.
The decision came easily for Butcher following some discussions online after sharing some photos of the tubing that he had in the front end of his car.
“Now it won’t be an issue, and that way we can make all the adjustments on the car that we want to and do the things that we needed to do to make this car safe and reliable when I bang it up again,” he commented. “It’ll be easier to repair. It’s more expensive, but easier.”
With a focus on being competitive this year, he admits that he has started slightly behind the eight ball, electing to run a 2001 Honda Civic, which isn’t one of the more popular choices.
“It tends to get a bad rap,” he commented. “With my dad and I, we’ve been working on it all winter after I wrecked it at ACC (Autumn Colours Classic). He’s been racing since the late 50s and setting cars up for people like Rino Montanari and Peter Gibbons and Al Thompson, and the list goes on and on. So we’ve been working to get the car as light as we can so we can compete.
“My goal for the season is really to get this car to a point where I can crack the top-10. I don’t know if it’s possible or not, but that’s sort of my goal in having consistent finishes and don’t wreck.”
With the Peterborough Speedway division hoisting a number of the province’s top drivers and that continuing to grow with the likes of 2019 Bone Stock Champion Corey Strawn moving up, Butcher realizes that it’s not going to be easy this season.
“It’s a very competitive field, so that’s why I’m saying that if I can get this car to where I can get into the top-10 on a regular basis, I think I could call the season a victory, because the car is kind of heavy and down to power,” he explained. “It seems to always be the case when we go racing as we don’t seem to be happy unless we start behind the eight ball.”
Outside of his home track program, Butcher admits that he has not looked at traveling a lot this season, but Jukasa Motor Speedway and Frostoberfest at Flamboro Speedway would be among the possibilities.
“I don’t have a lot of means of traveling the car around,” he explained. “I just have a car dolly, so the reason I race Peterborough is it’s close to my dad’s shop and I can leave the car there throughout the season. So if I have travel all the way to Flamboro or Jukasa, I will definitely need some trailering ability and if I wreck it, I won’t be able to race it the next week. So my focus will mostly be Peterborough, but I would like to race Jukasa.
“I grew up around all of these tracks – Sunset, Flamboro, and Peterborough when it was Westgate, Mosport – all of these places I’ve been to throughout my childhood. It’d be cool to get out and say that I competed at Jukasa at least one time. So it is something that I’d like to do and it’s in the back of my mind; we’ll see how the season goes.”
Butcher added that if we get to July and the car is in decent shape, then he may possibly make it happen, even with the logistics challenges.
For Butcher, he got his start behind the wheel in a go-kart as a teenager, while going to Mosport Raceway with his dad and helping out Rod Sauder most weekends. Though as he got older and started a family, he got away from the sport.
Initially when he made plans to return to the sport, he says that he looked into returning to the go-kart scene, due to the it being small and not much space in his garage.
“But to race a competitive kart, you need $10,000 for the season,” he explained. “It’s ridiculous the amount of money that you need to run a competitive kart. The tires are not much cheaper than slicks, really, and you’re changing them every weekend. If you’re mid-pack but want to keep up, at least every other week you need to change them.”
With a bone stock “basically the same price,” it seemed like the more viable option, especially with Peterborough Speedway offering the drivers the ability to store the cars at the track if warranted. Though instead, it ultimately found its way to his dad’s shop.
“M dad at first said, ‘I don’t want this car anywhere near my shop’, which turned into, ‘Well, bring it over and we’ll go over it, but then it needs to leave,’ but it hasn’t left,” Butcher commented. “Do you know those memes where the dad doesn’t want the cat, and the next photo is him cuddling it on the couch feeding it bits of baby food? That’s my dad and my racecar.
“So the price, especially in the bone stocks, was perfect. If I finished 15th, my night was essentially paid for – my gas at least for the night. So I went out and had some fun, and my gas for the night was paid and maybe a bit of food. This certainly beat racing karts for a $5 plastic trophy; forget that.”
With all of the experience that he has gained through the years, Butcher is keeping his advice simple to those getting started – take it slowly at the beginning.
“I tried to do too much, too quickly in the car when I got out there and tried to go too fast, and by the time I realized I was in over my head, I was way in over my head,” he explained. “The car did something that I wasn’t expecting it to, and I overcorrected and hit the wall. So anyone starting out in any of the divisions, I would say to take it as slow as you can and get as much practice time as you can on track with no one around you, like the Thursday night practice sessions at Peterborough when it’s single-car runs. Get as much of that as you can get, so you get used to the car without having to worry about being in someone’s way.
“There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re in the way, really, so if you can get seat time and get comfortable with the car and get up to speed slowly, that’d be the piece of advice that I’d pass on to anyone.”