Every year the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is the first official, major race of the new year. If you have never watched the race it is something that I highly recommend doing. It’s something you don’t have to block off your entire day to watch, watch some during the morning when you wake up, hit the town for some errands, watch some more in the afternoon, have a fun time out on a Saturday, come back home and watch some more!
For the second year in a row iRacing.com, the worlds premier online racing game, will host its rendition of the famed 24-hour endurance race. In 2015 the service was proud to boast its new Team Driving option. Drivers from all over the world really can come together and race one car on multiple different computers, all running for the same goal – the checkered flag. 2016 is no stranger to new additions, as the sim racing company is always working to improve their product. This year teams will run the night setting at Daytona, which has already caused a learning curve adapting to cold tires. This year will also feature the new Corvette C7 Prototype for the races top tier division.
The Weekly Racer again has the privilege of not only running this year’s race, along with returning teammates; Brenden Queen (LMSC Driver), Charlie Alexander (King Charles Photography), and my father Mickey Kern, but also being one of the primary sponsors on the car. This year the team has added one hell of a driver/team owner, South Carolina’s own Steven Burnett. Owner of Excel Sim Racing, Burnett has spent most of, if not all of his time as an oval racer but has shown early in testing he will be one of the major driving forces for the team.
You have your good days, and then you have your bad days. Then you have your good days almost go really bad but all in all after you work on a few things it comes back around to being a pretty good day! This is the idea behind our Hard Charger Award. Our staff evaluates the race, the circumstances thrown your way, and the overall outcome. This award is given out to a driver to commend them on their efforts through out the race. To thank that driver for never giving up on their sponsors, their team, or their fans. We put this out there to show our appreciation from pit road, the sky box, or where ever we may be, that you never gave up!
This weekend we traveled down to our home away from home, East Carolina Motor Speedway, to the 2nd Annual Ronnie Barnette Memorial 200. One of the largest Late Model races of the year for the speedway, and might I add, an event that will continue to grow into a prestigious race for them in the future. Eighteen drivers all fighting for the same thing; bragging rights for the next year as well as a $6,000 pay out. Earning an eighth place-starting position on the grid, Brenden Queen looked to continue riding that wave of success through these “post season” races. This was the plan for Queen Motorsports…
From the drop of the green flag, however, things did not go as the team wanted. You could immediately tell that something was just not right with the car. After setting the second fastest time in practice last month, when the race was originally scheduled and the third fastest time this weekend, one could only imagine the frustration. Queen would be forced to battle through the hornet’s nest so to speak. Making sure to keep the tires under him and the nose clean. A task much easier said than done.
Chesapeake, VA – Young Brenden Queen has had quite the year you can say in 2015. Finishing up his senior year of high school, walking across that stage to receive his diploma, oh yea… and building competitive racecars! This year is easily shaping up to be Queen’s break out year with a whole lot of potential behind it. Earning his career best finish in a Late Model (2nd at Langley Speedway), the young driver from Chesapeake currently sits third in the points at his home track (Langley Speedway), currently 30th in the nation, 4th in the state of Virginia, and 4th in the UNOH National Series. He and is team are hungry for a win, why not do it in style and win the 8th Annual Hampton Heat 200.
Earlier this week (I apologize for the long delay) we had some time to chat with Brenden, anything from the new pavement to what it will take to win. The team went out to the track Monday for an open test and to see how the car would react. “It [the new pavement] was different for sure,” Queen said. “I honestly didn’t expect it to be repaved before the Hamtpon Heat. I think there is more grip for sure but only if you are on the bottom.” A lot of concern from Queen, and a few other local drivers, was it being a one-grove track.
Queen enters this years Hampton Heat coming off of an impressive 9th place finish in 2014 which really has the driver pumped for the race today! “Coming off a career best 2nd place finish I think we have as good of a shot as anybody,” Queen said. “I think if we can start up front and keep the track position we could have a shot at the end of it if all the cards fall the way we need them.” Queen is also not worried about some of the big names coming into his back yard to play this weekend either! “A name to me is just another guy in the seat that I need to beat,” said Queen. “Plus at the end of the night when you end up in victory land it looks even better seeing your name at the top of all those other [drivers].” Don’t mistake the confidence for cockiness because Queen understand these are going to be some tough names to beat, but he knows he and his crew can do it!
Queen also told us that it would be such a relief to finally get the monkey of their backs and get a win, so why not do it style and win one of the biggest races of the year right! He also told us if… no when they finally do get that win, they are going to keep working just as hard like it never happened to continue winning!