Brenden “Butterbean” Queen’s quest to join the list of Langley Speedway Late Model champions has been a little different than others of late.
Since embarking on it at age 16, six years ago, Queen has often been underfinanced compared to some. Nevertheless, there has been the sense on pit road that the talented and confident Queen would someday contend for a title, and that has attracted believers.
His dad Mike Queen, a former Late Model driver, has, of course, been the biggest. Crew chief Phil Warren, the winningest driver in Langley Late Model history with seven titles, joined the team several years ago.
Andre Greer, a rare Black car owner at the track, supplied the car Queen drove to his first Langley Late Model win a year ago and owns the team backup car. Mack McKee increased his contribution this season, providing the Ford that Queen has motored to victory in the prestigious Hampton Heat 200 and to the top of the Langley Late Model points standings.
Barring extreme misfortune in either of the two 50-lappers on Saturday, Queen, 22, who leads six-time champion Danny Edwards by 14 points atop the standings, will add his name to the list of Langley Late Model champions. Excuse him if his Victory Lane speech is a little long with all of the people he’ll be thanking.
“We’re all like a family,” he said of his race team sponsored by McKee’s Old Skool Video and Brinn Trim. “It’s not a matter of who gets credit.
“We’ve all gotten here together and now, look at us, we’ve got a shot at the title. It’s been very important to have people around me who wanted to see me succeed at something I love.”
That love was nurtured at tracks like Langley and erstwhile Southampton Motor Speedway, where his dad, Mike Queen, drove Late Models, mostly in the middle of the pack, as Queen played with Matchboxcars on the dirt in the pits. By early elementary school, Queen was able to badger his dad into getting him a go-kart and the family’s race interests have centered around him increasingly since.
“My mom and dad have sacrificed a lot so I could basically go racing full-time,” Queen said. “I think my dad’s enjoying watching me do it, so it’s been a pretty fun journey.
“Racing is all I’ve dreamed about and breathed about.”
Although the team has never been high-dollar, Mike Queen taught his son to appreciate what he had because some others had less. McKee helped increase Queen’s resources upon seeing him race in the first of his five full seasons in Late Model.
“He didn’t even know me, but he saw me racing (at Langley) online, contacted me and started helping out (financially),” Queen said. “It’s grown from there and we’ve become like family.”
Greer came aboard last year on the advice of a friend, eager to earn a Late Model win as owner and confident perennial top-five driver Queen could get it. Queen’s