PROCTOR — Back in 2012, Kevin Burdick didn’t do much racing, only one show a week.
That’s the exception rather than the rule for the former Hibbing native and Super Stock driver, but a close second to that is 2020.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, that changed Burdick’s way of thinking.
There would be no chase for a National points title, which Burdick won last year.
Needless to say, Burdick didn’t run much this summer, but he did run enough at the Gondik Law Speedway in the Superior to win the Super Stock points title, the second year in a row he’s accomplished that feat.
Now, Burdick is ready for the invitational season, which began Thursday in Ashland at the Prelude to the Clay, then today at the Grand Rapids Classic.
Burdick will use those invites as a primer when he invades the Labor Day Shootout, which begins Saturday and runs through Sunday at the Hibbing Raceway.
So how has Burdick handled his time away from the track?
“I just do some testing on the car, trying a lot of stuff out that I normally wouldn’t try,” Burdick said. “Lately, it’s been working pretty good. You always have to keep pecking away at stuff to be faster.
“When you’re not trying things out, someone else will find a way to be faster. You have to keep working on it. The shock technology is always changing and there’s so many suspension adjustments. It’s almost endless.”
All that work could have gone for naught when the coronavirus broke out.
“I really wasn’t sure we’d be racing at all,” Burdick said. “I thought this would be over by now, but it keeps dragging out.”
When Superior finally did open, that’s the only racing Burdick did until the northern part of Minnesota opened its tracks.
“We weren’t racing that hard at the start of the season,” Burdick said. “The only track open was Superior, and that’s so close to home. I haven’t traveled as much. We’ve only been to a few tracks this year.
“When Minnesota opened, I played it week-by-week, but once they made the decision to not run national points, I didn’t want to race as much.”
That’s when 2020 started to resemble 2012.
“I was only racing one night
a week,” Burdick said. “I didn’t have a garage to work in, so
that made it difficult. That’s the time I moved from Hibbing to the Duluth/Proctor area.”
How did Burdick pass the time when he wasn’t racing?
“I got to do a few more things you don’t normally do during the summer,” he said. “I was going to the lake, going out for rides and I had family time. We still get family time at the race track.
“My wife and kids love to be there. If they weren’t involved, I wouldn’t be racing as much. Without the support of my family, I wouldn’t be racing too much.”
When Burdick did race, he started the season with his old Super Stock, then he switched over to his new car.
“That old car was good, and we’re getting the new one dialed in,” Burdick said. “It’s starting to work well now.”
That might be bad news for the rest of the Super Stock drivers at the Labor Day Shootout.
Last year, Burdick won the feature on night one of the event.
“You get a little more competition than normal at that event,” Burdick said. “As long as the nights go smooth, with only a little bit of maintenance, it should be OK. It’s a fun atmosphere, and it’s fun to hang out with everybody in the pits.”