GREENFIELD — For the Butlers, there is no daddy-daughter dance. There is, however, a daddy-daughter derby.
Corinne Butler, 22, said she was a just few months old when she attended her first mini-car race. Her sister Allison, 20, was still in her mother’s womb for that one.
And they have not stopped going since. For the next 20 years, motorized mayhem has become a treasured family tradition.
“It’s like my dad always says,” Corinne explained, “We would do something else, but we don’t know any different.”
The first family of mini-car racing stole the headlines at Tuesday’s Night of Thrills at the Hancock County 4-H Fair.
Greenfield-Central graduates Corinne and Allison Butler joined their father and Moore’s Repair Service Mechanic Steve Butler for some family fun on the track and what turned out to be an historic evening.
In the first championship race of the night, the Enduro Small Car Feature, Allison Butler made history by becoming the first female driver to win a race at the Hancock County fair.
“It feels amazing,” said Allison Butler minutes after being mobbed her by her ecstatic sister and boyfriend Ben Douglas as she exited her dilapidated red Chrysler. “It’s so cool.”
Matt Phiffer came in second in the 10-minute, 10-car race, and Steve Butler remarkably finished third after losing his front driver’s side tire in the middle of the race and completed the remainder of it on his car’s rim.
Allison Butler, like all of the night’s winners took home a small purse and trophy.
But neither of those mattered to her. The crowning achievement was one-upping her dad, who, according to many at the track is a legendary mini-car driver after year of flourishing at the county and state fairs.
“I don’t even have words for beating him,” Allison Butler said beaming with excitement. “I didn’t think I’d ever be able to that. Ever.”
Before the race, when informed that both of his daughters said that Tuesday night was going to be the first time they beat him, Steve Butler chuckled and said, “highly doubtful.”
But when Allison Butler’s prediction came to fruition, he couldn’t have been more proud of his little girl.
“It’s cool,” Steve Butler said of his daughter making history. “I was trying not to hit her when I blasted the freaking wall (the accident that caused him to lose his tire), so if I am going to sacrifice my car, then it’s awesome that she won.”
Allison Butler’s remarkable win goes beyond the fact that she is the first victorious female driver in fair history. About half way through the race, it did not look like she had chance to finish anything higher than fourth.
The leaders of the race had lapped her a few times over, yet disaster struck each, in turn, as the race came to a close.
Accidents and car troubles knocked out all three, so that none was able to finish the last few minutes of the race, allowing Allison Butler to catch up and eventually surpass them.
“I started to get a good feeling after I kept passing those guys,” Allison Butler recalled after the race. “I was like, ‘I’ve been passing them for a while. know was down, and I have to be catching up.’ Then when I saw my dad’s tire, or lack thereof, I knew I had a good chance.”
In the night’s second championship race, Travis Cook earned the title of top dog in of the Big Car Feature. He bested runner-up Russell Thomas and third-place driver Dustin Foust in a field of five.
In the final event, Jacob Hudson claimed the top prize in the the small-car figure eight. He was followed by Mike Alley and Jeff Garcie, also in a field of five.
Corrine Butler finished fourth in the race, but as predicted, she defeated her father, who came in fifth while driving a car with only three tires.
“I just like being out there with them. And if, God forbid, somebody out there drove through their car, it would be on,” Butler said with a smile. “I’ll just say if somebody did take them out, they are probably not going to finish the race.”
Tuesday’s “Night of Thrills” at the Hancock County 4-H Fair in Greenfield.
Small Car Enduro Feature
1. Allison Butler
2. Matt Phiffer
3. Steve Butler
4. Jeff Garcie
5. Tom Hood
6. Jill Collins
7. Jacob Hudson
8. Bill Woodward
9. Garrett Leonard
10. Mike Alley
Small Car Figure 8
1. Jacob Hudson
2. Mike Alley
3. Jeff Garcie
4. Corinne Butler
5. Steve Butler
Big Car Feature
1. Travis Cook
2. Russell Thomas
3. Dustin Foust
4. Larry Sexton
5. Ben Shell