Brenden Queen celebrates in victory lane after winning the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway on Saturday evening. (Photo: Andy Newsome)

An overjoyed Brenden Queen found himself celebrating in victory lane at the end of the Hampton Heat 200 on Saturday evening after making a three-wide maneuver on a late-race restart, which eliminated the two strongest cars of Corey Heim and Connor Hall.

Queen said that he would have preferred to race both Heim and Hall all the way to the checkered flag, but he affirmed that any driver in contention to win a prestigious event like the Hampton Heat 200 will take risks to ensure that they cross the finish line first.

“This is the biggest win of my career,” Queen said. “I’ve dreamed of winning a race where I could bring home a big check. I got a check after the Blake Morris Memorial iRacing event, and I said that our goal this year was to win a real Late Model check. I had an opportunity and I took it, and [Connor Hall and Corey Heim] would have done the same to me.”

Heim led most of the Hampton Heat 200 from the pole, but he faced constant pressure from Hall and Danny Edwards Jr. all evening while Queen conserved his equipment and got comfortable inside the Top 10.

As more cautions slowed the pace of the event, Queen used each restart to pass drivers such as Brandon Pierce, Timothy Peters and Peyton Sellers until he found himself lined up behind Heim on the inside of the second row for a five-lap shootout.

When the green flag dropped, Queen took Heim and Hall three-wide heading into Turn 1, which caused Hall to lose control of his car and hit Heim before sliding back up the track towards the outside retaining wall, bringing out a caution.

Queen knew that he needed a perfect restart to get out in front of both Hall and Heim, adding that a mistake by the latter coming to the green flag presented an ideal opportunity for him to pass both of the leaders by the time they reached Turn 2.

“Corey was rolling the starts, and when we got to the flagstand and shifted, I was going to run into the back of him,” Queen said. “There were five laps left and the opportunity was there. I’ve lost so many of these big races, but we got one now. They can’t say I’m a joke anymore.”

With Heim and Hall behind the wall as a result of the accident, Queen proceeded to hold off Pierce, Sellers and the rest of the field on the final restart to score a Hampton Heat 200 victory in front of an exuberant home crowd.

Queen said that he is ready for whatever retaliation Heim and Hall provide following the Hampton Heat 200, but he intends to celebrate his win with the rest of the crew and build momentum heading into the rest of the 2020 season at Langley.

“People have said that I don’t have what it takes, but we just won the Hampton Heat 200,” Queen said. “We really want to win a championship here before we start travelling a lot, but I really feel that tonight is going to be a step in the right direction.”

Trey Crews managed to come home in the fourth position while Timothy Peters, who was one of three drivers to stay out on older tires following a Lap 150 competition caution, rounded out the Top 5.

Hampton Heat 200 Results:

  1. 03 Brenden Queen
  2. 2 Brandon Pierce
  3. 26s Peyton Sellers
  4. 9c Trey Crews
  5. 12 Timothy Peters
  6. 19 Blake Stallings
  7. 22c Grayson Cullather
  8. 14 Jared Fryar
  9. 17 Stacy Puryear
  10. 44 Justin Johnson
  11. 91 Justin S. Carroll
  12. 8 Thomas Scott
  13. 55 Mark Wertz
  14. 90 Terry Carroll
  15. 29 Casey Wyatt
  16. 9b Alex Brock
  17. 71 Rick Gdovic
  18. 26 Danny Edwards
  19. 78 Corey Heim OUT
  20. 77 Connor Hall OUT
  21. 40 CE Falk OUT
  22. 24 Colin Garrett OUT
  23. 21 Greg Edwards OUT
  24. 22 Bobby McCarty OUT
  25. 25 Craig Eastep OUT
  26. 9 Rodney Boyd OUT