Hidden from fans and competitors in the seat of his #21A Big Block Modified, Peter Britten couldn’t hold back the tears.
He won. Finally. Again.
After claiming his first career Super DIRTcar Series win in 2017, the Australian had used everything in his utility belt to land in Victory Lane again with the Series. However, each time he was defeated by another.
Not Wednesday night at Land of Legends Raceway. Not in front of his home crowd. The “Batman” was back.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Britten said.
The event had to be postponed due to rain weeks prior and was paired with the already scheduled Wednesday, Aug. 4, Series event at the Canandaigua track – making it a Twin 60s night with both Super DIRTcar Series Features running 60 laps.
In the first of the Twins, Britten started on the outside pole alongside Tim Fuller. When the race commenced, Fuller and Britten race side-by-side, wheel-to-wheel for the entirety of the first lap. Both drivers not wanting to succumb to the other. However, when they made their way to Turn 1 for the second time, Fuller launched his #19 machine ahead of Britten by a car length and continued to pull away down the backstretch.
Fuller’s glory out front lasted for five green flag laps before a caution flew for Stewart Friesen, who suffered a flat right-front tire.
The race resumed on Lap 8, and this time the Batmobile’s thrusters were primed and ready. Britten edged ahead of Fuller into the first corner and powered past him for the lead down the backstretch. From there, Britten was in a universe of his own.
By Lap 15, he was ahead by three seconds. However, two laps later were an obstacle course of slower cars ahead of him. If Fuller wanted a chance at victory again, this was his chance to attack.
The best he could do, cut into Britten’s lead by about a second. When the 21A found clean air again, the final 30 laps of the Feature were a race for second.
While Britten pulled away to a five-second lead with 20 laps to go, Larry Wight closed on Fuller for the runner-up spot and Jimmy Phelps closed on Wight. The three drivers tested who could run the bottom of the track better. And while he did, Erick Rudolph found grip like no one else around the top.
With 14 laps to go, Rudolph passed Phelps around the outside for fourth. With 13 laps to go, the blue #25 passed Wight around the outside for third. And with 11 laps to go, Rudolph made his way around the outside of Fuller for second. If anyone was going to challenge Britten, Rudolph looked to be the only contender. His only problem, Britten was now eight seconds ahead of him.
Mastering every lane of the track and navigating lap cars like a preprogrammed machine, Britten brought the Canandaigua crowd to their feet when he took the checkered flag for the second time in his Super DIRTcar Series career.
“I got most of my tears out on the cool-down lap,” said Britten, who started racing weekly at Canandaigua this season. “This deal is just so freaking hard. I’m very fortunate to have great people around me. I only had one like four years ago. I’ve been close a lot of times. Awesome to finally get it done at my home track on Saturday nights. And in front of all the fans out there cheering me on, thank you.”
Rudolph crossed the line second, 9.5 seconds behind Britten, but the event is his second consecutive top-five and third of the 2021 season. He contributes that momentum to returning to tracks he’s comfortable at.
“I think it’s more along the lines of we’re racing at places in Central New York where we’re more comfortable running,” Rudolph said. “Earlier in the year, we went to Bridgeport and places I haven’t historically done well at. We’ve always ran pretty well at Canandaigua and Weedsport. I am happy that we’re turning things around a little bit.”
Fuller rounded out the podium and stated with the level of talent in the Series this year he’s satisfied with the result.
Behind him, Phelps finished fourth and Jack Lehner made an incredible run from 26th to fifth.
He wasn’t even entered in the event’s original date due to an injury. He had to race his way into the Feature through the Last Chance Showdown, grabbing the last qualifying spot to do so. His secret…
“I wish I knew,” Lehner said with a chuckle. “After the [Last Chance Showdown] it felt pretty good. I just threw some things at the car and it felt pretty good. Just wanted to try some stuff. The car was really good and I could put it wherever I wanted. It felt like we were better than most the other cars out there. And it is usually not like that.”
While he ended the first race with a smile, there wasn’t a bigger one to start the night than Britten’s after his dominant performance. However, he joked he wasn’t sure if he had a good enough car for the second Twin Feature of the night. Or maybe he’ll win again… Finally.
The Super DIRTcar Series continues Wednesday night at Land of Legends Raceway for the second of the Twin 60s. Watch all the action live on DIRTVision.
Feature (60 Laps)
1. 21A-Peter Britten [$7,500]; 2. 25R-Erick Rudolph [$4,000]; 3. 19F-Tim Fuller [$2,500]; 4. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [$1,800]; 5. 2L-Jack Lehner [$1,600]; 6. 99L-Larry Wight [$1,400]; 7. 44F-Stewart Friesen [$1,300]; 8. 88W-Mat Williamson [$1,200]; 9. 83X-Tim Sears [$1,100]; 10. 9S-Matt Sheppard [$1,000]; 11. 91D-Billy Decker [$800]; 12. 32CC-Max Mclaughlin [$700]; 13. 111D-Demetrios Drellos [$600]; 14. 5H-Chris Hile [$575]; 15. 34R-Kevin Root [$550]; 16. 35M-Mike Mahaney [$525]; 17. 32R-Ronnie Davis [$500]; 18. 19W-Justin Wright [$500]; 19. 3H-Justin Haers [$500]; 20. 23C-Kyle Coffey [$500]; 21. 121T-Gary Tomkins [$500]; 22. M1-Dave Marcuccilli [$500]; 23. 7z-Zach Payne [$500]; 24. 28M-Jordan McCreadie [$500]; 25. 48T-Dave Rauscher [$]; 26. 215p-Adam Pierson [$500]; 27. 14j-Alan Johnson [$500]; 28. 42P-Pat Ward [$500]; Hard Charger Award: 2L-Jack Lehner[+20]