Pro All Stars Series
Cole Butcher Goes Back-to-Back for Golden Oxford 250 Win
Aug 28, 2023
The front row starters for the 50th Annual Spencer Group Paving Oxford 250 were at the rear of the field after just seven laps.
That was a result of contact between pole-sitter Jimmy Renfrew, Jr. and Cole Butcher. Renfrew and Butcher started on the front row after winning the first two heat races of the day at Oxford Plains Speedway Sunday, but the contact sent Renfrew spinning.
Butcher was penalized by race officials for his role in the incident, leaving them both to drive through the 41-car field. Butcher went on to win the event, while Renfrew finished 14th.
After the race, the two drivers had a conversation in the pits as Renfrew shared his frustrations with the early incident.
“I just wanted to let him know he was being a little too impatient, lap seven of the race, 250 laps,” explained Renfrew. “He’s had the best car all weekend. He probably knew he was going to win the race, so I just feel like he didn’t need to clean me out there.
“I explained to him that I wish there was a little more respect from somebody of such higher level. Somebody who goes to all these big races, Snowball Derby, Winchester, everything like that. Nothing that’s saying this is not a big race. It is, for sure. It is a prestigious event. I just think someone of that caliber would have a little more respect for the regulars, that’s all.”
I just think someone of that caliber would have a little more respect for the regulars, that’s all.
Butcher readily took fault for the incident and acknowledge Jimmy’s perspective, apologizing for the contact during his victory lane interview before the conversation with Renfrew.
“I feel kind of dumb for what happened early in the race. Went in too hard into [turn] one and got into Jimmy, so I apologize to him and his crew,” said Butcher.
“Jimmy was right. I was a little aggressive too soon. I did have a great race car and I did do stupid things. Jimmy was right. We shook hands, and I definitely owe him one. We’ll move on, and that’s all we can do.”
While Butcher ultimately lifted the trophy for the 50th Annual Oxford 250, becoming a back-to-back winner of the event, Renfrew’s adventurous evening did not end on lap seven. After an early two-tire pit stop, Renfrew charged back through the field, closing on leader Curtis Gerry when the caution flag flew on lap 180.
However, miscommunication led to Renfrew – as well as Gerry - pitting one lap after pit road opened under the caution, placing them behind all of the cars who pitted at the first opportunity.
“We went to the back, started pretty deep,” said Renfrew. “We came in, pitted for two tires, and ended up driving to the lead. I think that showed what we had for a car. We pitted from the lead to take our four tires, and unfortunately, just some miscommunication. We pitted on the wrong lap, and ended up pitting from the lead and came back out 27th.”
Renfrew emphasized that he still has plenty of respect for Butcher, but hopes their post-race discussion will prevent future on-track issues.
“I have a ton of respect for him. I just wanted him to know I wasn’t happy with him. I just wanted to make sure, going into the future, that he wasn’t going to clean me out so I wouldn’t have to clean him out. That’s all.”
-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America