GRAND RAPIDS — Before the 2020 WISSOTA dirt-track season opened, Johnny Broking did something he had never done before — he went fishing.
That’s because Broking wasn’t sure if racing in Minnesota was going on as planned due to COVID-19.
He got to scratch that itch in Superior when the Gondik Law Speedway opened in May, but a decision in his home state was still up in the air.
Then in June, the OK was given to open up the race tracks in the area.
That decision suited Broking just fine, and it was a successful season on the oval for the Grand Rapids’ native as he won point titles in Hibbing, Superior and Grand Rapids.
That was better than the alternative.
“I was concerned there for a while,” Broking said. “I picked up fishing, and I don’t fish. When they started in Superior, I did get the itch to get out one night a week, but when they decided to let things open up, I was pumped.
“For a while, I didn’t think anything was going to happen.”
Broking was ready to go and his car was ready to go as he raced in Florida at the Volusia Speedway Park, which is 20 minutes away from Daytona
“We go down there every year to race, get out of the winter and enjoy the sunshine,” Broking said. “We’re doing what we love to do, drive cars in circles.”
How did it go?
“We did fairly well,” Broking said. “There were about 70 to 80 Mods there every night, and we only missed one feature due to motor issues. That’s a feat in itself, making those features racing some of the best cars from all over the country.
“I learned a lot. It was a different motor (750 horses), and you can’t run a spoiler on the back. You get ideas when you come back home. It was also seat time. When the other cars are sitting for six months, I got a little refresher.”
There’s never anything wrong with getting seat time.
“In general, it helps,” Broking said. “If you don’t race, you have a hard time being competitive. We race a lot for our area as much as we can. Every little bit of seat time helps.”
That’s why it helped when Superior opened its tracks. It got Broking back on the track, where he feels right at home
Broking, who has only been racing for 10 years and he’s only 25-years-old, races for more than just himself.
“My dad and grandpa work on the race car all day, and my sponsors help me get on the track,” Broking said. “My dad has taught me a lot about racing. Without him, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am now. Now, I’m showing him some tricks.”
Broking’s sponsors include Broking Transport, Meyer Welding, Cain Designs and Lethal Chassis, who gives Broking deals on the car.
Broking is hoping to carry that success over to the Labor Day Shootout.
Last year, he won the Modified title on the second day. In 2017, he won on the first day.
“I’m tied with my dad,” Broking said. “He has two of them, too. I have a couple more feature wins than he has, but it’s a good night when we get first and second. We’ve competed in 24 or 25 events this summer.
“I can’t complain about 10 feature wins. That’s something to be proud of. It’s not about winning races. It’s about being consistent, but we can win races.”