Race Weekend Central

Short Track Weekly: Brenden ‘Butterbean’ Queen Talks North Wilkesboro, Truck Series Debut

Since Brenden “Butterbean” Queen joined Lee Pulliam Performance at the end of 2022, he has taken the Late Model Stock car world by storm.

From November of 2022 to the present day, Queen has racked up four wins in the zMAX CARS Tour and has picked up multiple crown jewel Late Model Stock Car victories. Included in that list are a win in the 2022 South Carolina 400 and triumphs in the Hampton Heat, Thanksgiving Classic, and at North Wilkesboro in 2023.

The driver known to the fans as “Butterbean” earned a shot at his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at North Wilkesboro on May 18.

Following a severe rain delay that pushed the majority of the Truck Series’ Wright Brand 250 at North Wilkesboro to Sunday afternoon, the late model fan favorite made the most of his opportunity.

With qualifying cancelled, Queen started the race 26th. But he drove up to the top 10 before being busted for speeding. From there, Butterbean charged back through the field and was in contention for the win at day’s end.

Butterbean came up short of a victory, taking the checkered flag in fourth. But even without a win, the short track stand out turned heads in his debut – as proven by the roar of ‘Bean Nation’ in the crowd after he climbed from the No. 1 truck.

Frontstretch caught up with Queen on May 18 – before the rains and eventual stellar performance – to talk about his rise through the ranks, racing in the Truck Series what North Wilkesboro Speedway means to him. You can watch the interview below.

Chase Folsom, Frontstretch: I’ve got to ask you, where in the world did the nickname “Butterbean” come from?

Brenden Queen: The Butterbean nickname was when I was a baby, I looked like the boxer “Butterbean”. That’s kind of how that came about and ended up on the racecar, and the rest was history really. All my friends knew me as Butterbean, my teachers and everybody was calling me by it.

Folsom: Everybody knows you’ve come up through the grassroots ranks but I want to ask you, what was your first racecar and what age did you first get into racing?

Queen: Yeah, I started racing when I was six in a go-kart, and I just kind of worked my way up the ladder, go-kart to legend cars to late models. That was kind of the way it was back then, like I said I started when I was six racing Karts.

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Folsom: You’ve been known for being really successful on the high tire wear, abrasive racetracks. What about those racetracks do you love so much that suits your driving style?

Queen: I just think the discipline of it, having to slow down to go fast, the strategy of riding and patience, racing your own race and not racing somebody else. I think that’s why we’ve been so good at those races, we just kind of stick to our plan and we trust the process.

Folsom: Another thing you’re very notable for is the colorful paint scheme you have on your Late Model Stock car. How did that paint scheme come about, because that’s something you carried over from your family team to your time with Lee Pulliam?

Queen: The scheme was really cool, I had a video game sponsor when that originated and we decided to keep the scheme because it was so popular. The green and pink was kind of a scheme from another sponsor and we kept the colors, went to this scheme and the video game numbers just became so unique that we’ve just kept it along, and I’ll probably always use it on the Late Model.

Folsom: I mentioned Lee Pulliam, obviously you’ve been driving for him for the past two years now in the Late Model Stock car. He’s one of the best ever to drive a Late Model Stock car, so what have you been able to learn from him and how has it made you a better racecar driver?

Queen: Lee is the best that I’ve ever seen in my time, learning from him has been incredible, getting to work with him, he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with. It’s really cool just to have somebody like him in your corner and be able to lean on him, any info he gives is special.

Folsom: I want to ask you about this track specifically. You ran really well here in your family car in 2022, you won here last year in the Late Model Stock car, calling it the biggest win of your career. Now you’ll make your first NASCAR National start here, what does North Wilkesboro mean to you personally?

Queen: I’ve been telling everybody it’s just special. That win was really big and who knows if I get this opportunity if that win doesn’t happen, so it’s really cool to be able to come back here and make my debut at this track. This track was already special to me, and now there’s something else to add to it to make it even more special.

Folsom: You get in the truck yesterday for practice and go P1 in your first practice ever in the Truck, what was that feeling like when you got out and saw your name at the top of the board?

Queen: I couldn’t believe it really. I knew the truck was going to be fast, I knew I just needed to work on myself and try to learn as quick as I could and as fast as I could with not getting a lot of practice, try to make the most of it.

It was definitely an awesome day for everybody involved on this No. 1 Toyota Tundra, everybody at Best Repair Company, LeithCars.com, TRD, Toyota, TRICON Garage, just everybody that believed in me to give me the opportunity.

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Folsom: Now that you’ve had some laps in the Truck, what carries over from the Late Model Stock car, how are the similar and how are the different?

Queen: Very Different, the track is the same but the cars don’t really drive the same, the Truck is heavier. The line is close but I think just the race craft is going to carry over of how to put together a whole race. It’s a long race, you’ve just got to stay out of trouble and survive and you’ll have a good finish.

Folsom: The goal is always to win the race, but this being your first NASCAR start, what is your overall goal coming out of today and what would you call a successful day?

Queen: I think success would be complete all the laps first you know. We want to win, that’s always the goal but If I could complete all the laps and bring the truck home in one piece, that’s going to be a win already. If I could get a top 10, I’d feel like that would be a win.

Folsom: Has there been any talks of more races this year, or any races next year even?

Queen: We’re always exploring that opportunity and trying to get more starts, I’m just hoping I can go do my job to day and perform and somebody will hop on and try to help me get some more opportunities here.

Folsom: We know where to find you If you happen to win today because you’ll be at Waffle House. For those that don’t know, how did that tradition start and why has it become so popular for you?

Queen: We started doing that back when we were racing dirt cars a long time ago, we always went when we’d win. It just kind of got publicized a little more when I won Wilkesboro and we love going to Waffle House after a win, cranking the jukebox, drinking some chocolate milk and eating some waffles.

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.

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