Jamie Veal says his feature win at Premier Speedway helped him "knock the dust off".
The Australian number one wasted little time readjusting to the race track after the longest break of his sprintcar career.
Veal was part of an All-Warrnambool podium with Corey McCullagh (second) and Darren Mollenoyux (third) enjoying strong nights at their home track.
McCullagh led for much of the 30-lap A-Main with Veal taking the lead with 10 to run. The pair had to contend with lap traffic during their own personal battle.
Veal, who hadn't raced since March after coronavirus restrictions delayed the season, said he felt comfortable in the driver's seat.
"It's good to be back. Once I got into the car, everything came back to me," he said.
"It is the longest I have been out of the car for 10 years so once I got back in and rotated around a bit, I felt comfortable.
"The car was pretty much where I needed it."
Veal started on pole but McCullagh got the jump in the A-Main.
McCullagh led for the first four laps before Brett Milburn came to blows on the fence in turn four, forcing a yellow flag.
Daniel Peskta lost control when trying to avoid the carnage and was also eliminated from the race.
McCullagh maintained his advantage after two more stops but Veal took his chance to pass with 10 to run.
Veal then kept McCullagh at bay after a re-start with five laps to complete.
"I didn't get the greatest start and I bid my time there a bit with tire wear," he said.
"I hung in there but once we got lap traffic I knew I'd have a fair few chances."
The New Year's Day meeting was Premier Speedway's season-opener.
Drivers raced in front of a capped crowd with most spectators on the Warrnambool side of the complex in the grand stand and terrace.
It meant Mount Max, which is usually teeming with fans, was vacant.
"It was weird when you went out for the feature and there was no one there," Veal, who has won a Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at his home track in front of 10,000 people, said.
"But it is what it is. We can't do much about it but hopefully we can get a few more here for the 50 For 50."
Veal intends to race the President's Cup in the lead up to the 50 For 50 at Premier Speedway on January 22-23.
Meanwhile, Warrnambool's James McFadden had to cut his Western Australian speedweek races short after border restrictions were introduced. He has returned to Victoria.
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