Almost a full week has gone by since East Carolina capped off their 2016 season and crowned their track champions. Some drivers celebrated their second or third title, some were honored to win the tracks first championship in that division, and some were honored to be called champion for the first time in their career. Sometimes when something so big happens in your life it takes time for all of that to soak in. Chesapeake native Brenden Queen, still finds himself start struck after a week.
“We came into this year wanting to win at least one race and found ourselves looking at so much more,” Queen told The Weekly Racer in an exclusive interview. “I feel like this was a dream season. Looking back on it now it was just an unbelievable year that I am so thankful to be apart of this team.”
Queen entered the 2016 essentially “homeless” when it came to racetracks. Langley Speedway, where he got his start in asphalt racing, and spent his first three years running at in a Late Model, did not open its doors forcing many drivers, like Queen, to hit the road a little more. With ECMS being so close to home Queen Motorsports made the decision to give the 3/8th mile a shot in 2016 and see where it took them. Queen found immediate success on the high banks worn out surface and was able to earn his first career Late Model Stock Car victory and that was just the start. However, it wasn’t as easy as it appeared on Saturday nights, we talked to Brenden on what it took to make the transition to a new track.
“It took a lot more seat time and really knowing what I wanted to feel in the car,” Queen explained. “Working with Phil [Waren] in the shop, as also been a huge step in that by learning more about the car from the outside. We took the entire winter to really go through the car from the bottom up.” Queen also went on to explain just how much of a confidence boost it was to have local Late Model legend Phil Warren – 7 time Langley Speedway Late Model Champ – helping out on the car full time this year. “He believed in me even when I doubted myself,” Queen went on to explain. “You can always learn so much just from talking to him and I really feel like that has impacted my racing career big time.”
Of course things did not come easy for the young driver trying to make a name for himself in the NASCAR scene. Take away the fact he started in thirty-seven total races, thirty of them between East Carolina and Southern National, Queen had plenty of his own ups and down as the “new kid on the block” so to speak at East Carolina but Queens inability to give up might be what ultimately won him the track championship.
“You know you just have to have a never give up attitude,” said Queen. “No matter how upset I was about what was going on or what was being said about me, I owed it to my team to over come it. My team never gave up on me and they kept everything positive and worked hard no matter what. They are the reason we fought till the end.”
2016 was a season for learning for young Brenden Queen. Learning more about the car, learning more about the tracks, and even learning more about himself. During out chat we talked a little bit about what he could take from this year, something that he learned that might help him in the future with racing or with life in general and that was to never give up!
“That is a tough one,” Queen said. “There are so many things we learned this year. Probably never give up till the checkered no matter what. Even if it looks like the race or a championship is over don’t give up because you never know what can happen to the other guys out there just as quick as it happened to you.”
Though Queen’s season has wrapped up at East Carolina Motor Speedway for 2016 his season is far from over. In just a few short weeks Queen Motorsports will head out west to Martinsville Speedway to compete in one of the most prestigious Late Model races in the region in hopes to bring home a grandfather clock. In addition Queen plans to run in the Thanksgiving All-Star classic hosted annually at Southern National Motorsports Park as well as the Late Model portion of the Myrtle Beach 400.
Queen will also be honored December 3rd at the East Carolina Motor Speedway banquet for his accomplishments at the speedway. For more information on how to attend visit www.ecspeedway.com for details.