Cole Butcher first competed in a race for Wilson Motorsports in 2016 at the Snowflake 100. Up until the 2022 season however, his starts with the team were sporadic as he navigated a full-time schedule in his native Nova Scotia and a global pandemic. After an extended schedule last season with the team, the pair went after a full schedule in 2023 with the ASA STARS National Tour championship in mind.
After the ten-race season was over, Butcher ended the inaugural ASA STARS National Tour season second in the final standings, just 32 points out from champion Ty Majeski. His 154 stage points earned throughout the season was also second-most in the series, just behind Majeski.
He won the Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway in July, while also earning three runner-up finishes and six total top-fives. His only two finishes outside the top-ten were at Madison and Nashville, when he failed to finish both events.
“We were able to cap off a win at Anderson and multiple top-threes. We gave one away at Winchester and then had unfortunate luck at Nashville,” recalled Butcher. “It was a pretty good season, we’d obviously would have liked to win the championship but congrats to Majeski and the No.91 crew, they worked their butts off and he was there all year long. Some bad luck went his way and we were able to get back into contention, but honestly they probably were the team that deserved to win it because they were there all year.”
In the final seven races of the year, Butcher finished off the podium just twice, while adding second-place finishes at Milwaukee, Toledo and Winchester. Sandwiched in those final races was the Gandrud Auto Group 250 at WIR, where he finished eighth after struggling most of the race.
With his struggles at both WIR and Madison, he says Wisconsin’s a part of what made the ASA STARS National Tour season special.
“We started out at Pensacola finishing fourth, I’d like to think we were strong at all the Southern racetracks. Throughout the Midwest swing we kind of struggled at all the racetracks except for Milwaukee; Wilson Motorsports is always strong there. We struggled at Kaukauna and Madison, they’re just so different of racetracks and the local guys are so good.
“They bring in over 30 racecars, so good for them for being so competitive. It’s cool and that’s what makes the ASA tour so special. We go to Anderson and we’re good; then we go to Kaukauna and Majeski and DeAngelis are good. It’s cool to have a diverse group of drivers who are really good at different racetracks.”
Outside of the series, Butcher won his second-straight Oxford 250 while also winning PASS and CARS Tour Pro Late Model races at Hickory. That Oxford win came just before he closed the points gap from 93 points with three races left to just eight points going into the finale at Nashville.
Making up 85 points in just two races at Toledo and Winchester came after Butcher led the most laps, won the first stage and finished second at both races, while Majeski suffered early DNF’s in both races due to engine issues. Unfortunately for Butcher, he would also be the victim of misfortune at Nashville. After leading the opening laps, a flat tire sent him around and put him behind the eight-ball early, then a stack-up following a restart with 88 to go ultimately put him out of the race.
“We led the most laps and won the first stage then Majeski ran out of fuel and I got into him, then I ran out of fuel. It was unfortunate because we were both really good. We beat him there and at Winchester due to DNF’s, it was part failures on his part that put us in contention, if not for that he probably would’ve sealed the deal at Winchester. Between Toledo, Winchester and what happened at the All American, it was out of our control.”
After jumping over to the Super Late Model side for select marquee events for several years, the 2023 season allowed him to compete with Wilson Motorsports week in and week out. Butcher said the extended schedule made it easier for him as the season went on.
“It was a lot easier getting to be in a Super every week or being at the racetrack hanging out. We did 20 races this year between CARS Tour, PASS and ASA, so it was good just to be in the racecar every week and be ready to go at all times. It was definitely a plus.”
For more information on the ASA STARS National Tour, please visit the series website at starsnationaltour.com, or be sure to follow the series on social media (Facebook: ASA STARS National Tour | Twitter: @racewithstars | IG: @starsnational).
ASA STARS PR