Last season Brenden Queen pretty much made the Can-Am Racing Series his personal playground, winning 9 times in 26 starts. Only system issues the first 3 weeks of the Chase prevented him from claiming his first series title at the conclusion of 2015. But he made it clear in the off season that 2016 was going to be his show.
And he backed up his words with a wizard like performance at Daytona.
Pole sitter Josh Kotten would lead the first few stanzas, with fellow front row starter and defending race winner Greg Netherwood holding court on the outside lane. They were quickly under fire by Charlie Ryan, and Colton Harvey, who were rushing to the front just ahead of Queen and his teammate Nick Leitz. Between the 5 of them, 57 of the 65 laps would be led. For a race that saw 23 lead changes, it was a remarkable feat to have so few leaders.
The race was a tough affair, with 2 lanes ruling the day and a 3rd rarely to get started. Bruce Perry showed some muscle, though, in charging from 6th to 1st in a daring 3-wide effort on lap 40 to make sure he didnt go home without a bonus point. A crazy move we only wish we had video to share.
And its with 6 laps to go that Perry would again make waves, but not for the good reason like before. On a late race restart, Perry would hold court in the middle lane down the back stretch hoping to pull the high lane to the point. Almost clear of Queen, he attempted to move down the track to block and solidify his chances. A misplaced bumper ended up with Perry going sideways and crossing traffic, eliminating 12 of the top 16 cars from contention, including himself.
This set up a 1 lap dash, with Ronnie Potts up front from his 20th starting spot chasing down Queen. Down the back stretch it appeared Potts would clear Queen heading into turn 3, potentially getting his first series victory in a very VERY long time(January 19th, 2013, at Rockingham). Queen, though, fought back with side draft and would pull clear in turn 4 of Potts.
The drag race would end with Queen grabbing the victory, Potts coming home in 2nd. Gregg Richardson equaled his career best finish of 3rd, Josef Miele would take 4th, and David Bottone would win the hard charger award by finishing 5th despite starting deep in the 25th spot.
The series heads to Atlanta next week!