It was objectively one of the absolute best motorsport sequences ever.
For the final 25 laps of the 23rd annual Thanksgiving Classic on Sunday at Southern National Motorsports Park, there were crossovers, bump-and-runs and three-wide thrillers between Brenden Queen, Josh Berry and Kaden Honeycutt.
There were bent bumper bars and some bruised feelings too.
In the end, Queen emerged victorious come Lap 250 after a sequence that can only be detailed in bullet point form, after a tremendous fight on the track between himself, Berry and Honeycutt.
Lap 222: Berry catches Queen
Lap 226: Berry under Queen for the lead
Lap 227: Queen crosses Berry over
Next 15 laps: They started trading literal bump-and-runs
Lap 242: Honeycutt joins the battle
Lap 243: Honeycutt three-wide to the lead
Lap 244: Queen bumps Honeycutt out of the way
Lap 247: Honeycutt drives deep into 3, doesn’t stick
Lap 250: Queen wins the race
Putting this into words frankly devalues the experience of being there or watching live on Racing America. Hopefully a clip gets put up on social media so everyone can fully understand what transpired between these three teams.
As Queen celebrated, Honeycutt couldn’t even immediately bring himself to get out of the car. He was pretty disappointed and peeved over how he was raced and expressed that upon climbing out and doing interviews.
“We put that left rear on it and it was good and felt like we were better than Brenden there,” Honeycutt said. “I caught those two and I don’t know what the heck he was doing there with Josh.
“He was all over the place and I think it was because he was chasing Josh up the race track. As soon as I got underneath him, Josh didn’t do anything wrong, but Brenden drove right through me in Turn 1. That was it. I couldn’t get back to him. I tried to get back to him but that’s all I had.”
Honeycutt just stared a hole through Queen during the victory lane celebration.
“I hate that every time I race someone at the end of the race, they choose to use me up and run right through me,” Honeycutt added. “There’s nothing else I can say about that. I’m not going to be as nice next year. It’s the way I am. I’ve gotten raced this way by four or five guys like this in this race and drive me so dirty.
“Like (Jonathan) Findley took out (Jared) Fryar just because he was tired of being run in the middle of the straightaway. Stupid stuff like that where people need to get their butts beat, honestly.”
Berry said ‘it’s wild man’ and that there was a ‘million ways’ to look at his battle with Queen but remained diplomatic.
“For myself, replaying it, I was too impatient with (Findley and Chase Burrow) on the restart. They were three-wide. I just didn’t want to jeopardize any of our cars. I think, looking back on it, I feel too far our and I just ran too hard to get there.
“By time I got there, we started to level off a little bit, I got by him, he got into me and I got into him. We were crossing each other over and it brought Kaden to us. It was a heck of a battle. I’m not going to say what was fair or foul. I could have done some things better, car could have been better at the end, and we could have driven away.”
Ultimately, Queen reserves the right to look at a replay and see if he owes anyone an apology but he says no one got wrecked and it was hard racing for the Thanksgiving Classic.
“We got good track position at the end, Lee made a great call to get off sequence with those guys and he told me to go get the track position and when I first got the lead, I said, how about that for track position,” he said.
Queen referred to the final sequence with Berry as ‘race car driver stuff’ to wear him out.
“Then Honeycutt joined the battle and it caught me off guard that we were three-wide for the lead because I thought he was still a lap down,” Queen said. “I heard he was mad at me. I love Honecutt to death. Respect him so much. I felt we got three-wide and that knocked me up a bit. I thought I barely got into him, but I need to watch the replay, but if I got into him harder, I’m sorry.
“We were racing for the lead. Everyone was just driving their hearts out and I am so grateful we came out on top.”
It concludes a rewarding season in which Queen, after a chance encounter with local Virginia business owner and dirt racer John Staton, decided to fund his ride with Lee Pulliam Performance for the full CARS Tour season.
Queen and LPP went toe-to-toe with JR Motorsports and Caden Kvapil and winning some big races along the way.
“I’m just so thankful to be in a top Late Model ride and to be duking it out with the best teams in the division,” Queen said. “I hope there’s more in my future and I hope there is someone watching who will take a chance on me like the Staton family did this year.
“Overall, I just feel really blessed.”
Thanksgiving Classic XXIII
Southern National Motorsports Park
May 26 2023
- Brenden Queen
- Kaden Honeycutt
- Josh Berry
- Jonathan Findley
- Jared Fryar
- Doug Barnes Jr.
- Chase Burrow
- Clay Jones
- Bradley McCaskill
- Cody Bryant
- Michael O’Brien
- Aaron Donnelly
- Ronnie Bassett Jr.
- Cole Bruce
- Dylan Newsome
- Truett Miranda
- Jake Crum
- Katie Hettinger
- Alex Flemming
- Deac McCaskill
- Andrew Grady
- Garrett Byrd
- John Goin
- Dean Shiflett
- Adam Resnick
- Mason Bailey