Loves Park, IL – July 30, 2019 – Hugh G. Deery was an auto racing pioneer. On what would be his 99th birthday, his Rockford Speedway is commemorating the occasion with a 99 lap super late model race event on Saturday, August 17. Super late model racers from across the region will vie for the unique trophy and bragging rights to be the first HGD99 winner. Entry forms are now available.
“We wanted to do something special to honor Hugh,” stated track owner Jody Deery. “With the super late models, we hope it will be a super show.” Fans will not only see the super late models compete in a 99 lap feature, but also racing around the historic high banks will be the Whelen All-American Series NASCAR Late Models, NASCAR Roadrunners, Super Cups and Illini Midgets. Gates will open at 5pm with qualifying at 6 and the first race at 7:07PM.
The divisions racing have some significance of their own. When the Rockford Speedway first opened in 1948, it was midgets that headlined the racing. Very soon thereafter, full bodied cars of the Hurricane Hot Rod Association replaced the midgets developing into the late model division known across the Midwest. During those years, it was only two divisions, the late models and roadrunners which thrilled fans every Saturday night at Rockford Speedway. When the cost of late model racing exploded, Deery created the Rockford Rules late models for the 1974 season which became the template for weekly late model racing across the country.
Deery’s involvement in racing began when he first worked on the safety crew for the Indianapolis 500 back in the 1940s. Eventually, he moved his family from Dixon, IL to Rockford starting an insurance agency out of his basement. In 1959, Hugh’s brother John Deery purchased a 1/7th share of ownership in the Rockford Speedway. Hugh traded a station wagon to his car dealer brother for half of that ownership. Slowly, Deery began buying out the other owners until he became full owner in 1967. He remained in control until his death in 1984. Hugh’s widow, Jody, and the Deery family still operate the Rockford Speedway today. There will be special awards on laps 48, 59 and 67 to commemorate those milestones. In remembrance of his passing, a competition caution will fly on lap 84 creating a dash for the checkers.
Tickets are on sale now by calling the Rockford Speedway box office at 815-633-1500. Fans can also purchase tickets online at RockfordSpeedway.com. It will be a great event to honor an even greater man. Make your plans now to…BE THERE!!!