ROBERSONVILLE, NC – Brenden Queen has been trying for four years to get a Late Model victory and, on Saturday night, his dream came true when he rolled into victory lane at East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville, North Carolina.
Queen did not just win, he dominated. He set the fast lap in practice and led every single lap in the heavily contested race, holding back challenges from Thomas Burbage and Tyler Matthews. After scoring the victory, Queen did a Polish victory lap around the track with the checkered flag and an American flag before climbing out of his car and celebrating in style.
“It’s a team effort,” Queen, 19, said. “I can’t do it without my team. Phil Warren and my guys have given me a great car every week and I finally got to get up on the wheel and get them what they wanted. It’s unbelievable to think of how far we have come in these past couple of years, getting competitive and finally doing something my dad (Mike Queen) didn’t do and finally got a Late Model win. Happy the 03 got a win.
“We’re definitely going to enjoy this one but can’t sleep on it. We’ve got to get back to work for next week.”
Queen, his friends, family and team all celebrated as he pulled into victory lane. It was an emotional moment as tears of joy came down his mother’s face just before he climbed out and began the ceremonial celebrations.
“This is one you’ll never forget,” Queen remarked. “It’s your first and it’s an incredible feeling. Nothing will ever overcome this feeling and you’ve got to remember to enjoy it while it’s here because you never know when it will happen again.”
While Queen was happy to score the victory, he had hoped he would be able to score an Opening Night victory elsewhere.
Queen has raced at his hometown track, Langley Speedway, for the entirety of his career, while making appearances at other tracks including in Late Model Stock Car racing’s majors. This year, however, Langley Speedway is dormant for the first time after hosting weekly racing action for 65 years.
“That’s a sad deal that Langley’s not here,” Queen stated. “I would love to be getting me a win at Langley on opening night but, we’re just going to have to pray to the man above that all that works out and hopefully, one day, we’ll be back racing at home. Until then, we’ll do what we have to do and race wherever.”
While Queen had the fastest car, East Carolina Motor Speedway is a driver’s track. The tough, tricky, 3/8-mile speedway sports a unique layout and a rough surface that is hard for even the very best to negotiate.
“It’s definitely a unique track,” Queen explained. “It’s a driver’s track. You’ve got to drive both ends totally different. I feel like I’ve adapted to it. We’ve only raced here once, last December, and had a really good run so I believe it’s one of my tracks that I’ll like to come to more.”
Queen will celebrate tonight, but tomorrow, it’s back to work as he gets ready to back his victory up with more wins – whether he races at East Carolina Motor Speedway all season or continues to travel to places like South Boston Speedway.