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Butterbean Queen Finishes Fourth in Truck Debut; Hopes for Another Opportunity

Brenden Queen Butterbean fourth in NASCAR debut at North Wilkesboro Speedway Wright Brand 250 TRICON Garage

Photo Credit: Matthew T. Thacker, LAT Images for Toyota Racing

What a debut. Brenden “Butterbean” Queen scored a top-five finish in his first-ever NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start in a wild two-day Wright Brand 250 race, which was delayed by Mother Nature at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Queen, who started 26th due to the NASCAR Rule Book after qualifying was rained out, clawed his way through the field, and in the closing laps of the race, he was perhaps the second best truck behind race-winner and his TRICON Garage teammate Corey Heim.

The 26-year-old racer climbed from his No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota Tundra after his fourth-place finish, and had a smile from ear-to-ear. He knew how fast his truck was, and he was happy that his abilities were able to show through by the end of his first-career NASCAR National Series start.

“Truck was fast enough. It was more working on me,” Queen explained. “Seth and everybody on this team made great calls, and that truck was flying when I was coming from the back. I mean, it had so much good rotation. I was a little on the free side, but I’m a dirt racer so I loved it.”

By the Lap 81 red flag for rain on Saturday, which turned into a day-ending monsoon, Queen had nearly moved inside the top-10 of the running order. It looked like the driver, who led the way in Truck Series practice, had a chance to win the race.

However, when things got underway on Sunday, Queen found trouble as he made a mistake by speeding on pit road at Lap 119. But even a pit road speeding penalty couldn’t keep Queen down, as he once again rallied from the back of the field to finish fourth.

Queen says on one hand, the rally from the penalty was fun, but that he wishes he wouldn’t have had to do it.

“It was fun. I wish I wouldn’t have had to do it. Because you never know if we could have battled for the lead,” Queen stated.

Queen vows that he’ll attone for the pit road penalty in his next NASCAR Truck Series start, “if I get the opportunity.”

As he was chasing down the top-three runners in the closing laps, Queen’s rally ran out of steam as the driver experienced the dreaded aero-tight condition that we hear so many drivers complain about. Still, Queen was very happy to come home with a solid finish and a relatively clean truck.

“I was just so aero tight. I was trying to go where they weren’t and tried to fill the open air. I felt like I did everything I could without wrecking anybody, and bringing the truck home in one piece,” Queen said. “I felt like we were at least a second-place truck at the end. Corey was so far gone, but I thought about taking the top on that last restart, where [Enfinger] was, and he finished second. It might have worked out for me, but still a top-five is great.”

A top-five is great for Queen on a personal level, but his top finish also helped cement the importance of short track late model racing, and in particular the zMAX CARS Tour, which Queen competes in, currently.

As Queen conducted his interviews on pit road after the race, a throng of fans in the stands began to cheer, “Butterbean! Butterbean!” It was like he was a celebrity.

“It’s just special man,” Queen explained. “It just shows how important late model stock car racing is and how important the CARS Tour is. Just the support around our series, they want to see these guys that they watch at these short tracks get these opportunities and go toe-to-toe with these big names. I can’t believe it. I won here last year, and I think that’s where I gained a lot of the Wilkesboro crowd. So many people came out and watched me tonight, I’m just super blessed.”

Queen joins Bubba Pollard and Carson Kvapil as late model stand outs, who have had impressive debuts in the NASCAR ranks this season. Pollard finished sixth in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut earlier this season at Richmond, driving the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports, while Kvapil finished fourth in his Xfinity Series debut at Martinsville Speedway.

Now the question becomes; when will the Virginia native get another chance in the NASCAR National Series ranks? If the decision is based solely on merit, Queen has already earned it.

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