Race Weekend Central

Brenden ‘Butterbean’ Queen Shines in Truck Debut at North Wilkesboro

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — For the second time in 2024, a zMAX CARS Tour star has taken the NASCAR world by storm in their debut. Back at Martinsville Speedway in April, it was Carson Kvapil. This time at North Wilkesboro Speedway, it was Brenden “Butterbean” Queen.

Much like Kvapil did in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Martinsville, Queen brought the TRICON Garage No. 1 home in fourth to cap his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut. Just like Kvapil’s run at Martinsville, Queen didn’t have it easy, and there wasn’t a lack of controversy. 

After the CARS Tour rained out at North Wilkesboro on Wednesday evening, Queen jumped in the truck for the first time ever Friday afternoon for the hour-long practice session. Right at the end of the session, the No. 1 jumped to position No. 1 on the board. 

At that moment, the question of whether or not Queen could adapt to the Truck Series had already been answered. It was immediately a question of how good he would run, rather than if he would run good. 

Unfortunately, qualifying Saturday morning rained out, meaning the starting lineup would be set by metric rather than lap time. Without any driver points to his name, Queen lined up 26th on the grid for the Wright Brand 250.

At the drop of the green, Queen began working his way forward, jumping from 26th to 16th in the 70 lap first stage, even after the TRICON team brought Queen down pit road towards the end of the stage. 

Shortly after, the biblical rains came and the race was red flagged at lap 81, postponing the remaining 169 laps to Sunday morning. From there, Queen picked up right where he left off, quickly working his way into the top 10 by lap 87. 

Queen ran as high as sixth before a yellow at lap 116, when the TRICON team elected to take two tires in order to gain track position and put their driver up front for the restart. 

Unfortunately for Queen, he was busted for speeding, sending the rookie to the tail of the longest line for the restart. Starting with that restart, the charge to the front began for Butterbean. From the restart at lap 123, it took Queen just 44 laps to drive back to the top 10. 

From there, the march forward continued at a methodical pace, until the arrived on the back bumper of fourth-place runner Christian Eckes. Queen tried for multiple laps to drive underneath Eckes for the fourth spot, and eventually got loose underneath the No. 19 entering turn one. 

The two made contact in turns one and two, with Queen knocking Eckes up the racetrack in the center of the corner. Eckes, none too thrilled with the Late Model star, door slammed Queen as the two charged down the back straightaway, even giving Queen the world wide hand gesture of displeasure.

When the final caution flew with 37 laps to go, Queen made the decision to take the bottom of row three rather than the top, a move he later on reflected may have cost him a shot at second. 

As the laps wound down, an outstanding five-truck battle between Queen, Eckes, Grant Enfinger, Layne Riggs and Sammy Smith saw the five trucks battle two and three wide throughout the final 10-15 laps, as race leader Corey Heim drove off into the Wilkes County wind for his third Truck win of the season. 

See also
Corey Heim Scores 3rd Truck Win of 2024 at North Wilkesboro

The battle for second raged on behind, with Queen being scored fourth as the checkered flag fell. In the end, the stat sheet will show a 26th to fourth effort, but the reality is Queen passed over 60 trucks throughout the rain-delayed event. 

“I was shocked,” Queen said in regards to the speeding penalty. “I made sure I was below my lights just to not get the penalty and they snagged us. But you know what, that’s part of learning, I’m glad I made the mistake early and I’m glad I was able to battle back because these guys deserved it. It was just a shame I got that penalty and put us in a hole because what if’s could have happened.”

When asked about the racing with Eckes, Queen didn’t seem to think he was in the wrong and questioned the motive by Eckes to retaliate.

“Yeah, that’s just not respecting your equipment in my opinion,” Queen said. “I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong, we were racing hard and I got loose under him, I didn’t wreck him. He did more damage down the back stretch than I did in the turn.”

When Queen climbed from the truck on pit road, he was met with the roar of “Bean Nation” in the crowd, a reaction similar to that given to Dale Earnhardt Jr. back at the Revival race in 2022. 

“I couldn’t believe it,” Queen said. “I thought it was for Corey, my teammate, super happy TRICON Garage got the W. When I found out it was for me, I couldn’t really believe it. It was just a bittersweet moment, just shows how much support there is around the late model guys.”

Finally, Queen was able to reflect on how significant it is for drivers like himself and Kvapil to not only be given the opportunities in the NASCAR National series, but to succeed in them and have the fan backing after success in the CARS Tour.

“It’s just special man,” Queen said. “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’ve watched at these short tracks get these opportunities to go toe to toe with the big names.

“… I can’t believe it, I won here last year, so that’s where I gained a lot of the Wilkesboro crowd and so many people came out and watched me tonight, I’m just super blessed.”

While the opportunities may not be set in stone, Butterbean certainly did enough to warrant more chances in the Truck Series in the near future, whether they be with TRICON or another team.

For now, he’ll head back to the CARS Tour and prepare for the Saturday (May 25) night showdown at Tri-County Speedway, where he currently serves as the defending winner in the series.

About the author

Chase began working with Frontstretch in the spring of 2023 as a news writer, while also helping fill in for other columns as needed. Chase is now the main writer and reporter for Frontstretch.com's CARS Tour coverage, a role which began late in 2023.  Aside from racing, some of Chase's other hobbies include time in the outdoors hunting and fishing, and keeping up with all things Philadelphia sports related.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via