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BACKING IT IN: Friesen Holds off Britten in Dicey Duel, Bags First Big Block Gator of 2021

BARBERVILLE, FL — “Daddy, do we get an alligator?”

Yes, Parker Friesen, you do after your Dad, Stewart Friesen, held off a hard-charging Peter Britten to win the 30-lap DIRTcar Nationals Super DIRTcar Series opener Tuesday night at Volusia Speedway Park.

Britten, from Brisbane, Australia, in a brand new Ryder Racing-sponsored Bicknell chassis Big Block Modified, threw everything he had at Friesen in a mad duel through lapped traffic. Friesen held off the #21A machine for the checkered flag with an aggressive line around the top side of The World’s Fastest Half-Mile, and delivered that Gator Trophy to his young son in Victory Lane.

“It was a very technical race track,” said Friesen, now of Sprakers, NY. “That’s the closest I’ve ever driven a Big Block Modified to a wingless sprint car, I just backed it in. There’s not much grip on the right front.”

Britten and Friesen battled hard throughout the first half of the race. After a long green-flag run during the midpoint of the 30-lapper, Friesen caught the rear of the field. What ensued was a memorable duel where both drivers crisscrossed from top to bottom trying to find the fastest way around the lapped cars and each other.

“I was trying to get through the lapped cars as quick as I could, but it was tough because it was so slick,” Friesen noted. “I kept losing the right front. I felt Peter [Britten] give me a shot out of four one time but the Halmar team prevailed.”

With 19 laps to go, Britten got under Friesen on restart and drove by the #44 in Turn 1, but a caution flag flew for a hard crash involving multiple cars including Jim Britt, Tyler Jashembowski, and Dave Rauscher. Unfortunately for Britten, the pass was nullified as the lap was incomplete. 

“If I hadn’t gotten that caution and gone out ahead, Friesen was fast but we were right there with him,” Britten said. “It would have been interesting to see if we could have held him off. But I’m just tickled to be there.”

Expectations are high for Britten as he moved to a Bicknell-built chassis for the first time in his career. With an all-new all-black paint scheme, it’s hard to avoid the Batmobile comparisons given his nickname “Batman.” But it hasn’t all been good luck for Britten in Florida this year.

“We wrecked a car and it’s been a thrash since then,” Britten said. “A lot of people helped me to get to where I am even to just make it back to the race track. Me and Dylan [Zacharias] thrashed on this thing day and night basically to get it ready. It’s a good feeling to be up here for sure.”

Friesen, who also competes in the NASCAR Truck Series, is now an eight-time DIRTcar Nationals Feature winner after the $4,000 victory. But the native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, was racing with a heavy heart following news coming out of his native province. 

“I’m thinking about my friends in St. Catharines, Ontario, Doug and Todd Gordon at Concept 1 Fabrication,” Friesen said. “They had a big fire. They lost a lot, if not everything. They are diehard racers who I grew up with. When I first started racing I could go and see “Flash” and he’d fix me up. We’re going to work hard to get him fixed up again.”

Rounding out the podium was the Gypsum Racing #91 of Billy Decker. The “Franklin Flyer” passed Max McLaughlin for third on the last lap. Decker and McLaughlin traded sliders in the closing stages of the Feature, but the veteran came out on top. 

“The Gypsum Wholesaler car was really good,” Decker said. “It was a tough track tonight. We were blazing around the top. I got to third on a restart and hit lapped traffic and Max [McLaughlin] got by us. Then we hit more lapped traffic we got back by him on the last lap. I’m happy to come out of here with a top-three tonight and we’ll see what we can scrounge up tomorrow.”

CG Morey, of Rutland, VT, advanced 13 positions for the hard charger award. After starting 28th, Morey survived to finish 14th. 

Heat Race winners were Friesen, Britten, Jimmy Phelps, and McLaughlin. 

All 32 Big Block Modifieds on the property started the Feature. 

Derrick Mcgrew Jr. found himself on his roof in Turn 1 after a short wall ride. The young driver got out of the stricken #26 under his own power looking no worse than disappointed. 

Friesen picked up the first Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award with a 17.463 lap around The World’s Fastest Half-Mile

The action continues on Wednesday night with another 30-lap, $4,000-to-win Super DIRTcar Series Feature plus the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models. 

Follow the Super DIRTcar Series on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram plus bookmark SuperDIRTcarSeries.com for race reports, features, and more. 

If you can’t make it to the race track be sure to watch live with DIRTVision.

Full race results are available here

Feature (30 Laps)

  1. 44-Stewart Friesen [2][$4,000]; 2. 21A-Peter Britten [3][$2,000]; 3. 91-Billy Decker [6][$1,000]; 4. 32C-Max McLaughlin [4][$800]; 5. 88-Mat Williamson [7][$700]; 6. 9S-Matt Sheppard [8][$650]; 7. 25-Erick Rudolph [18][$600]; 8. 1D-Tyler Dippel [11][$550]; 9. 4-Billy VanInwegen [9][$500]; 10. 16X-Dan Creeden [5][$450]; 11. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [1][$400]; 12. 19-Tim Fuller [15][$375]; 13. 7MM-Michael Maresca [16][$350]; 14. 23-Kyle Coffey [19][$325]; 15. 14-CG Morey [28][$300]; 16. 8-Rich Scagliotta [21][$300]; 17. 17-Rob Pitcher [22][$300]; 18. 1-Darwin Greene [17][$300]; 19. 46-Jeremy Smith [23][$300]; 20. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [32][$300]; 21. 30-Ryan Godown [10][$300]; 22. 20-Brett Hearn [14][$300]; 23. 48T-Dave Rauscher [20][$300]; 24. 19M-Jessey Mueller [24][$300]; 25. 26-Derrick McGrew [25][$300]; 26. B52-Brandon Hightower [30][$300]; 27. 88T-Tyler Jashembowski [29][$300]; 28. 2-Jack Lehner [12][$300]; 29. 6-Matt Stangle [13][$300]; 30. 118-Jim Britt [26][$300]; 31. 33T-Cass Bennett [31][$300]; 32. 01W-Justin Wright [27][$300]

Hard Charger: 14-CG Morey[+13]

What to Watch For: The Super DIRTcar Series Starts Five Nights of Volusia Action Tonight

BARBERVILLE, FL – The 2021 Super DIRTcar Series season hits the ground running in 2021 with five straight nights of racing at Volusia Speedway Park.

The best Big Block Modified drivers in the world will be on the hunt for the prestigious Big Gator championship trophy.

Big Block Modified Features at the DIRTcar Nationals are a touch different from traditional Series races where race fans are accustomed to seeing 100-lap battles. Instead, the Features at Volusia from Tuesday to Friday are 30 laps and $4,000-to-win. Saturday night’s finale is 50 laps and $5,000-to-win. These races do not count towards the Super DIRTcar Series points championship but they do count as prestigious Series wins in the record books. 

How to watch:

Tickets are available for all five nights of racing at Volusia Speedway Park. 

Tonight, Tuesday, February 9, features the DIRTcar Late Models with the Big Blocks. The next four nights, Wednesday to Saturday, the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models take over on the card. Alternatively, race fans can watch the live broadcast on DIRTVision

Who to beat:

Defending Series champion Mat Williamson, from St. Catharines, Ontario, was the other man to beat in 2020 at Volusia. Williamson won the first night and the final night as Wight picked up three straight in between. Look for Williamson in his #88 Buzzchew Racing, Shakelton Auto Parts Big Block Modified to be fast out of the box at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”

The defending Super DIRTcar Series DIRTcar Nationals champion Larry Wight will not be in attendance but for good reason: His wife had a baby on February 8. Although Wight will not be traveling with the team, race fans will see the familiar Gypsum Racing red gracing Billy Decker’s #91. He’s looking to make a championship run this year and starting out fast at Volusia is often a key indicator for early-season success.

For all of his success, only two of his 70 Series wins have come in DIRTcar Nationals competition. “The Franklin Flyer” is eager to add to his total this week. 

Matt Sheppard, a member of the Top 50 DIRTcar Nationals drivers, says Volusia is unique because once you think you have it down, you don’t. He’s looking to a strong DIRTcar Nationals as the 2020 edition was not his best Florida excursion. 

Sheppard has eight wins to his name at Volusia and three Big Gator championships. 

The Ransomville, NY racer Erick Rudolph is a strong contender at every race. The top guns of the Series know the #25R is coming for them again in 2021. Can Rudolph kick off the 50th anniversary of the DIRTcar Nationals with a win.

Rudolph has won Series races in New York, Quebec, Canada, and Ohio but so far a Florida victory eludes him. 

Big names in attendance:

Never count out Stewart Friesen. The Sprakers, NY Canadian-American wheelman has added another motor racing vehicle to his repertoire; a dirt late model. Now Friesen will be back behind the wheel of his Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified before going to “the big track” to run his NASCAR Camping World Truck. Friesen was held winless at Volusia in 2020.

Seven out of Friesen’s 33 Series victories have come at Volusia. 

Brett “The Jet” Hearn is back behind the wheel. He has the most DIRTcar Nationals checkered flags out of all Super DIRTcar Series drivers. Notably, Hearn’s first win came on a flat three-eights of a mile track on the same grounds when the half-mile was paved over. 

When it comes to success at the DIRTcar Nationals Hearn is in a league of his own. He’s earned nine Big Gator trophies and a whopping 21 Feature wins. No one else is close. 

Max McLaughlin has made a name for himself behind the wheel of a Big Block Modified, an asphalt modified, and stock cars. He had an incredible run during last fall’s OktoberFAST including his first career Super DIRTcar Series win which came at Weedsport Speedway. 

Tim Fuller has 31 career Super DIRTcar Series wins under his belt. His last DIRTcar Nationals win came in 2016. Watch for the #19 to be a steady presence at the front of the field.  

Stories to follow: 

Albany-Saratoga Speedway hot shoe, Jessey Mueller, planned to make 2020 his rookie season in the Super DIRTcar Series. He’s going for it again as we get 2021 started with a bang. 

“The Batman” Peter Britten has a brand new Bicknell Racing Products chassis for the 50th annual DIRTcar Nationals. True to his nickname, he’s gone all black on the #21A. 

A couple of Big Block veterans, Rick Scagliotta and Dave Rauscher are looking to make their presence known at Volusia. Rauscher is coming off an injury plus a huge rollover at Land of Legends Raceway this past summer in his #48too. 

Jack Lehner continues to improve and could soon become a consistent threat for podiums this year. Watch his Time Trials results to see if the #2L is going in the right direction at Volusia. A solid Time Trial can set a driver up for a strong night. 

Keep an eye on these drivers:

Thirty-plus drivers are expected to let their Big Blocks loose at Volusia. Watch for drivers like Kyle Coffey, Billy VanInwegen, Jimmy Britt, Cass Bennett, Brandon Hightower, Danny Creeden, Rob Pitcher, Derrick McGrew, Justin Wright, Tyler Jashembowski, Ryan Godown, Marcus Dinkins, CG Morey, Tyler Dippel, Darwin Greene, and Matt Stangle want to start their 2021 off with a gator to bring back home. 

How to follow the action: 

Race fans can catch every lap of action in person at Volusia Speedway Park or live on DIRTVision.com

For live up-to-the-minute coverage, all week long follow us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also catch shots and videos up on Instagram. Schedules, features, race reports, and more are all on SuperDIRTcar.com

For more DIRTcar Nationals coverage follow the event account on Twitter and at DIRTcarNationals.com