Britten Racing in Florida with a Heavy Heart – DTD Exclusive


‘Ryder Racing’ is emblazoned on the rear quarter panel of Peter Britten’s No. 21A and for the Sunshine Swing there is a totally different meaning to that ‘sponsorship.’

Britten entered the pits at All-Tech Raceway for this year’s Sunshine Swing with a tremendous amount of added emotion.

During the draw on opening night he talked about ‘Ryder Racing” and indicated that he was running in memory of Bob Ryder.

Talking to Dirt Track Digest, Peter talked about what happened and what ‘Ryder Racing’ meant to him.

He said, “His name was Bob Ryder, affectionately known as ‘Big Bob.’ He was a big boy with a self-inflicted nickname. He was a happy, go lucky character and I was fortunate enough to have known him since 2011.”

Bob had worked with Rich Scagliotta and Peter’s stuff at one time and that connection lasted.

Peter explained, “Throughout the years, he’s from Western Pennsylvania, he was around a little bit, came back for a little bit, but we always stayed in contact . We always stayed really good friends. His father actually got involved in my program the past couple of years and helped me out. That’s why Ryder Racing has been on the car the past couple of years. Obviously, I am very thankful to him and Big Bob as well. Unfortunately, Rick, the old man, passed away last year and very unexpectedly about a week ago Big Bob passed away, 31 years old. “

This has hit Peter quite hard as he said, “I feel really bad for his fiance as they were in the middle of planning a wedding. Due to unforeseen circumstances that all changed in a hurry. I don’t even have a word for it as it’s so crappy and sad. I’m sick of seeing stuff like this happen, especially to Bob who I consider one of my better friends. So it’s not going to be the same with not having him around and never seeing him again. Unfortunately, it is what it is and we can keep plugging away and try to knock off a win for him down here in Florida to serve his memory as well.”

Continuing he noted, “They don’t sponsor me anymore, but as a tribute to him and his dad Rick I wanted to run the name on the side of the car during the Sunshine Swing.  Obviously, this felt like something I wanted to do to honor him. Hopefully it means a lot to his friends and family too.  We are all kind of grieving and getting through this in our own way, but together as well. None of this stuff is easy, but the best way is to honor them in the best way we can.”

Rick and Bob meant so much to Britten as he said, “It was bad enough losing Rick last year. To think that losing Bobby being just 31 years old is unimaginable to me. Definitely gonna miss him and if you walk through the pits anyone who ever met ‘Big Bob’ will remember him. He always had a smile, well maybe not always, as we all get pouty every now and then. He had a lot of good stories and a lot of good times. Definitely going to be sorely missed.”

There are remembrances as Peter explained, “There were always a lot of phone calls when they were racing themselves. It seemed every night I would get a phone call from Bob ‘hey I got a quick question for you’ and you would be on the phone for 20 minutes or so. It’s
definitely gonna suck not to have those phone calls anymore and really crappy we are not going to get to go to his wedding at the end of the year.”

In conclusion Peter said, “We are going to try to honor him down here. You try to carry loved ones you lost with you in everything you do and he will always be with us. His presence will be forever felt and he will be forever missed.”

Thus far he hasn’t made it to victory lane, but Bob and Rick would have been proud of the effort on Thursday night as he drove home with a fourth place finish.

However, the first night wasn’t one to write home about as in heat action David Schilling made contact with Peter lifting the No. 21A up on two wheels. Fortunately the car wasn’t heavily damaged.

Peter said, “Schilling kind of apologized for it. To some point it’s the nature of the beast because of the way the draw system is. Cars being so equal these days it’s hard to pass.    People tend to overdrive, especially in the first few laps because you need to get what you can get at that point. Obviously, it isn’t the way I want to race, but I’m not going to pout about an incident like that. It happened . It’s over with, time to move on and keep racing and hope for the best.”

Regarding the feature, where he finished on the lead lap, well off the pace he explained,
“Opening night was one of those races where we weren’t quite good enough. I don’t think we were as bad as we ended up. On the restarts we couldn’t catch a break. In the wrong lane in the rubber would just lose a spot here and there. One of those nights nothing seemed to go right for us. We’ll get the set up better tonight and maybe I can do a better job driving myself and draw for a better spot. You take the good with the bad and just try to put yourself in position to do well and if the cards fall your way great, but if not come back the next day and try harder.