PORTAGE, Wis. (March 24, 2020) – If not for a couple bad-luck moments in the middle section of the 2019 TUNDRA Super Late Model Series schedule, Chad Butz may easily have been further up the final point standings than his Tenth Place finish. He and his team are hoping to see better results this season, and may have some extra help on their side too.
Butz is a semi-finalist for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. Drivers such as Ty Majeski, Reagan May, and Justin Mondeik have carried the program through TUNDRA seasons in the past. Butz is hoping 2020 will provide his turn to bring the program along for the ride.
“So many guys from the Midwest have run it and won it in the past years here,” Butz said. “I feel like we have all the pieces in place to do the exact same thing.”
One of those past Champions from the Midwest is Majeski – who won the first KDDP Cup in 2015. Just a few years prior, Majeski drove for Butz’s family team in weekly action at Wisconsin International Raceway. Chad, his brother Matt, and parents Mike and Patty were all part of that team, forming a relationship that Butz values dearly, seeing Majeski as a mentor of sorts.
“I look up to Ty the most. He’s the most level-headed driver and person I’ve met,” Butz said. “You can talk to him now just like you could five years ago. He’s very humble and that’s what I like about him. To see him go through the Kulwicki Program too is something really special.”
Modeling his career in much the same way, Butz has taken his program on the road and has been learning at many different tracks. He says he enjoys the challenge of going to new venues and sees TUNDRA as a great avenue to satisfy that craving.
“In my opinion TUNDRA is one of the best series in the country and the car count shows it,” he said. “Traveling helps a ton, just learning different lines and getting into the groove of the car and the setup side of it. It’s good to fill notebooks and gain experience.”
The results on the track spoke volumes for the development Butz has begun to see. After a full-time season at WIR a couple of years back, he had a breakout effort with a Sixth Place finish and an appearance in the dash in the TUNDRA season opener. Although WIR is his home track, and he has the most laps around the half-mile, Butz was again quick to credit traveling for his improvement.
“I think traveling makes you a twenty-times better driver,” he said. “Kaukauna is one of my home tracks. That’s a place where you have to drive it in hard as you can and then get it to the floor again as hard as you can. But then you go to a place like Wausau where you have to be easy in and you never really get to full throttle, so that helps with car control. I just take everything I learn at different tracks and try to apply it to all the different places we go.”
What adds to the intrigue of Butz’s success is his tight-knit team, which is composed of his family members. He says that’s a huge advantage because they know exactly how to trust and communicate with each other.
“Most times at the track it’s just us as a family and no one else. I think that helps in some aspects,” Butz said. “My dad knows what to do to the car. If I say it’s five out of ten tight in the center, he knows what adjustments are needed.”
However, it’s important to realize that family – while seemingly small compared to some other crews – is just as formidable and experienced. They have worked with the likes of Matt Kenseth, Terry Baldry, Eddie Hoffman, Jeff Van Oudenhoven, and many others. That success is starting to show through Chad.
“When we go to the race track, we go with the intention to win,” Butz said. “I think we had a good car at the TUNDRA races last year. In the middle of the season we had some wrecks ruin our finishes. In 2020 our goal is to go for the Championship and get some wins.”
Should Butz fulfill his goal, he’ll feel as though it will parallel that of Kulwicki’s success.
“He started with essentially nothing when he went down south and slowly built up his team,” Butz said. “I feel like we have a lot of correlation to that, with this being a family team. Plus, we work our butts off in the shop. We build other people’s cars and mount their bodies to help pay for this hobby.”
What’s more, Butz has proven to be savvy in the areas of social media and sponsorship promotion – something strongly promoted by the Kulwicki Driver Development Program.
“Social media is something that a lot of people look at, and it’s easy to use,” Butz said. “In this day and age, it’s hard to find sponsors, so, the ones you do have and are loyal to you, you have to do everything in your power to keep them satisfied and happy.”
Butz and his team will welcome his fellow TUNDRA Travelers to his home turf at Wisconsin International Raceway for the season lid-lifter on Saturday, May 16. TUNDRA will be joined by the Midwest Dash Series and Wisconsin Sport Trucks. Racing is scheduled to begin at 2 pm.
Wisconsin International Raceway is located just beyond the intersection of highways 55 and KK outside of Kaukauna, Wis. For more information visit http://www.wirmotorsports.com.