ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rockford Speedway’s final lap begins this weekend. The 76 year old track is closing its door after the conclusion of the 2023 race season.

The Deery Family is selling the race track and nearby land after owner Jody Deery passed away last year at the age of 97.

On Friday, the family honored her final wishes to make donations to various local charities at the adjacent Forest Hills Lodge, which is also scheduled for demolition.

“This definitely Jodi Deery style. Rather than sending a check in the mail, she would make an event out of it and have people come and have food and name tags and all the things that she was about,” said her son, Tom Deery.

“The number of boards she sat on and influenced over the years, everything from the Metro Center board to the Catholic Women’s League to Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts. She was in… it’s just in so many different things,” he continued.

Deery handed out financial gifts to 18 local organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, the American Cancer Society. Each group received a $20,000 check.

“Jodi was an incredible entrepreneur, very clever, and a recognized promoter,” Deery said. “So for this to be part of all this happening at the same time is is very bittersweet. She knew that even she knew that this day would come.”

As the final season at the Rockford Speedway gets underway, the family says it plans to send the famed racetrack out with a bang.

“It is a very sad moment, but we are very proud of what’s happened here for the last 76 years,” said David Deery, the Speedway’s General Manager. “So, I just want to preface with… it’s a sad day, but in reality, it’s a celebration. We’ve had 76 years of family entertainment on this real estate.”

Crews will begin tearing down the Forest Hills Lodge in July.

Infrastructure construction will begin in the summer of 2023 along the frontage of Highway 173, but the Speedway says it will cause minimal disruption to scheduled events.

For information on the Rockford Speedway’s “Finale at Rockford” Last Lap Season, click here.