Bo Butner’s car is painted up like The General Lee in Vegas

(Photo: NHRA)
JERRY FOSS - NHRA NATIONAL DRAGS/WPPROD

There's no coincidence James Butner III's racing name is Bo.

Butner, a former NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series standout, who recently graduated into the Pro Stock ranks with the KB Racing team, earned his name because of two situations: an abundance of Jims in the family, and his love of the 1970s television series the “Dukes of Hazzard.”

“There was Dad and then my Grandpa,” Butner explained. “And I have a son actually, the fourth. But, as a kid, there was too many Jim’s. I have a step-brother named Jim.”

One Friday night, while sitting in front of the television when Bo Luke, the character portrayed by John Scheider, belted out a healthy yell while his car was airborne, James III proclaimed from then on he'd only answer to the name Bo.

And, with Grandpa's blessing, it was so decreed.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise on Halloween weekend in Las Vegas; Butner rolled through the staging lanes with his tow vehicle blasting Dixie out of the air horn, pulling a bright orange Chevrolet Camaro adorned in the iconic General Lee graphics.

The original General Lee is a 1969 Dodge Charger, making his rendition on a Chevrolet a sacrilege to some Mopar fans.

“I love the guys at Mopar, and they’re good people, but I’m trying to help them out,” Butner said with a smile. “Because this car will definitely be in the top half, maybe number one qualifier. I’m not real sure they have a Mopar that can do that. And it will be in on Sunday.”

Putting the General Lee rendition on a Bowtie isn't the largest bit of controversy Butner expected to face with his one-off wrap. While the TV Land channel pulled reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard reruns because of the Confederate Flag on the roof, Butner said there was zero chance he was going to do the tribute without it.

“If you look back at those days when we all grew up and watched these shows, it was a great world,” Butner said. “I mean, we woke up, we had three or four TV stations to choose from. I remember Friday night sitting there watching the show and getting mad because that show Dallas came on after and we had to watch with our parents.

“This is a different time of life, and that flag should not offend any person, anybody with, what I call, common sense, that are normal people, they’re going to love this. I’ve had zero negative feedback.”

The only negative feedback Butner feared is if he'd left off one of the most popular characters of the show – Daisy Duke, the beautiful cousin of the Duke Boys known for her low cut blue jean shorts.  Christy Lynn Shipp, Butner's girlfriend's sister, will play the role of Daisy and will come out to back up Butner following Saturday's burnouts.

“We’ve got Daisy Duke, Boss Hog, Uncle Jesse, we’ve got Luke, and I’m going to be Bo,” Butner explained. “I gotta wear some tight jeans on Saturday and a blonde wig. But, getting the whole crew. Got Enos, Rosco, we got them all.”

Butner originally lobbied to have the air horn mounted on the Pro Stocker but was overruled by crew chief Rob Downing because of the additional weight. He also wanted to have the side window out by the NHRA denied the idea, and it was just as well Butner admitted, “don't think I could have fit through that small opening.”

The Duke Boys were known for straightening the curves and flattening the hills, and if Butner has his way, he'll borrow another page from their heroic traits.

“I just explained to Jason [Line], if we can meet in the final, and if I can win this race period, I’m going to have to buy the car from Ken Black because I’m going to set a ramp up and try to jump the sand pit,” Butner said with a smile.

Butner surmises, this kind of gimmick is the kind of stuff Pro Stock has needed after a couple of lean seasons.

“We’ve gotta have fun,” Butner said.  “We got so much feedback, and the fans love it. And what NHRA needs to know, I’m a hillbilly, and I love this stuff. But their fan base is all about this. And they need to know their customer. If 20,000 views on Facebook in two hours is an indication, I'd say it's well received.

“And I was going to take it off after Vegas, but I might just keep it. But man, the feedback I’ve been getting, it might go to that liberal state of California, so that’d be real good in Pomona.”

***

Bobby Bennett is the Publisher/Editor of CompetitionPlus.com, a leading independent online drag racing magazine, since 1999. For the latest in dragster news worldwide, visit www.competitionplus.com or follow on Twitter @competitionplus

(Photo: CompetitionPlus.com)