Cafe Chat: NASCAR hopeful, Bronson Butcher

Bronson, back home in Holbrook. Photo: Natalie Ord

Former Holbrook racing driver Bronson Butcher is a step closer to chasing a NASCAR dream, signing to race in a feeder category this year.

While Butcher has fond memories of racing go karts against Supercars ‘Super2’ drivers Macauley Jones and Matt Chahda – he turned his sights on America.

Five years later, the hard work, dedication and ‘punt’ is finally paying off. Border Cafe caught up with him during a recent return home.

How significant is your recent signing with a race-team in America?

The series I am competing in is called the Super Late Model division – a feeder category and one step under the NASCAR levels, where everyone showcases their talents to the bigger teams, like GMS Racing, who I have signed up to this year.

Bronson, trackside. Photo credit: GMS Racing

How hard has it been to break into the sport at this level?

This is what I have been aiming for over the last five years.

Motor racing is competitive in Australia, but here you may have one hundred kids trying to compete in Supercars, in America you have ten thousand kids at this level, trying to compete in NASCAR – and there’s only 37 cars that start the race on Sunday – so it’s hugely competitive and kind of rare to see an Australian come over and try and do it.

I have been competing in the Legend Car series, a popular series in America like the Aussie Racing Cars in Australia.

It was a level where I had experience and knew I could compete well. I didn’t have any funding to race, so built my own car, took it to the track myself, and it kept me sharp with my driving and eventually GMS Racing picked up on the hard work and dedication.

Has your mechanical background helped?

Yes, definitely. Me and my parents never really had the money to pay other people to help build our race cars. I learnt a lot from my dad. We used to work on our own equipment and cars and it became a passion of mine.

I was lucky to be able to work as a mechanic for a NASCAR team and keep learning. Being hands on with the cars I’ve raced helps me understand the dynamics and give better feedback on how the car handles on the race track.

Photo: Natalie Ord

You could have aimed for Supercars – why the passion for NASCAR?

I never knew much about NASCAR until 2006, the first time I went to America, Phoenix Arizona for a big go kart race.

While I was there NASCAR was in town. Me and my dad went to the race and I was blown away. I’d never seen anything like it.

There were 150 thousand fans, the racing was so tight and although it takes a lot to understand the type of racing compared to Supercars or F1, I just fell in love with it.

Driving the cars, they’re just pure built race cars and the whole field of 40 cars are only separated in qualifying by two tenths of a second.

It’s hugely competitive and two or three wide racing is something you don’t really see much on the street circuits.

Now you’ve been noticed, what are the next goals?

The benefit of signing with a bigger team, GMS Racing and being part of their driver development program is that there is definitely the pathway to step up. It depends on sponsorship and results in 2018, but I’d like to step up into a World Truck Series or NASCAR Xfinity Series car in 2019.

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