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Brenden Queen Prevails in Epic Duel With Honeycutt and Berry in Thanksgiving Classic

Brenden Queen scored the win in the prestigious Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park after a wild duel with Kaden Honeycutt and Josh Berry on Sunday afternoon.


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What an incredible race, truly. Sunday's Late Model Stock Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park was a barn-burner, which featured incredible action throughout the duration of the event, and in the end, it had one hell of a battle for the win between some of today's best racers in pavement short track racing.

In the end, it was Brenden Queen, who emerged victorious -- finally -- in the Thanksgiving Classic. After years of near-misses, Queen willed his way to the win on Sunday afternoon.

RELATED: Thanksgiving Classic Late Model Stock Race Results

"We got a turkey," Queen exclaimed as he emerged from his No. 03 machine following the 250-lap contest.

For roughly 15-to-20 laps near the end of the event, Queen fought tooth and nail with Josh Berry for the race lead. Berry was the driver that had denied Queen's hope of a win in this event over the last couple of seasons.

Queen says Berry is one of the best he's ever raced against, and that he was at a tire disadvantage late in the event, and had to reach into his bag of tricks to pull off the victory.

"I mean, he's one of the best I've ever raced with besides Lee [Pulliam], obviously," Queen said. "He's had me the last couple of years, I've let him get away. The rule, we kind of didn't understand the rule, I guess. He basically had four fresh tires there at the end, and we were on two. We were kind of handicapped, but I wasn't letting it get away."

As Berry marched and chased down Queen, the 26-year-old began to initiate contact, which helped him make up for the tire disadvantage to Berry.

"If I had to just keep moving him back, it kept getting rougher and rougher, but we didn't wreck each other. I'm sure he's not happy about it, but hey, that's freaking racing, man," Queen stated.

As Queen and Berry kept getting into one another for the race lead, it allowed pole sitter Kaden Honeycutt to close in and make it a three-car battle for the race win.

Honeycutt would make a move for the lead, but he would suffer the same fate as Berry, as Queen would make contact to keep the driver of the No. 17 car at bay.

Honeycutt, 20, who prides himself in racing others clean, was not pleased with the way Queen raced for the win in the closing laps. And after climbing from his car, Honeycutt didn't mince words about his competitor.

"It hurts for a lot of different emotional reasons," Honeycutt said of the runner-up finish. "I'm not really going to say, but I'm telling you, if the piece of dump truck didn't run into me going into [Turn] 1, that's the only opportunity he had after he raced Josh. That's why his nose looked like the way it did. I'm done getting run into."

Honeycutt says he will start returning the favor to others in the Late Model Stock ranks going forward.

"I promise you, the first person who runs into me is probably going to go head-on into the fence," Honeycutt jabbed. "I'm tired of getting run over. I feel like I'm probably one of the nicest people in the field, and I'm done with getting done dirty. I caught them from probably four seconds back and didn't touch either one of them. And as soon as he had the opportunity, Brenden ran straight into me."

While Honeycutt was left seething, Berry, who wound up finishing third, flashed a smile while holding his daughter Mackenzie post-race. Berry says he felt he could have been a little more aggressive while working his way up to the second position while battling with Jonathan Findley and Chase Burrow. Berry felt that would have given him a better chance to get around Queen quicker, but in the end, he was proud of his effort with KHI Management.

Findley finished in fourth, ahead of Jared Fryar, whom he had an incident with earlier in the event.

Late Model Stock veteran Deac McCaskill was taken to the hospital in an ambulance following a massive melee on a Lap 136 restart. According to the Racing America broadcast, McCaskill was awake and alert when he was loaded into the ambulance.

On that Lap 136 restart, Ronnie Bassett Jr., who was lined up at the front of the outside row, had an issue with his car which stacked up the field behind him.

What ensued was absolute mayhem.

At least nine cars were involved in the accident, and the crash marked the end of the day for Jake Crum, Katie Hettinger, Alex Flemming, Deac McCaskill, Andrew Grady, Garrett Byrd, and John Goin.

Nine cars finished on the lead lap in Sunday's Thanksgiving Classic.

Doug Barnes Jr., Chase Burrow, Clay Jones, and Bradley McCaskill rounded out the lead-lap finishers in the race.

Bradley McCaskill was involved in drama earlier in the day prior to the start of Sunday's Late Model Stock event.

In the 75-lap Limited Late Model event earlier in the day, McCaskill was crashed out of the event by Ryan Joyner. Following the crash, McCaskill confronted Joyner, who was in his car, on pit road, and their crews began to fight as well.

Prior to the start of Sunday's main event, Joyner found McCaskill's No. 41 Late Model Stock in the garage area and ripped the ignition box wires out of the car, which put McCaskill's team in a fevered repair mode to get things fixed before the race started.

The team was able to complete the repair in time, and McCaskill finished the race in ninth.

Photo Credit: Ryan Batts

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