LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — A big part of the Stateline’s history is going to come to a close for good this weekend. The Rockford Speedway will reach the finish line when it hosts its final racing event on Saturday.

Racing has been going on at the Rockford Speedway for 76 years. Engines roaring, fans filling the stands, but it’ll all go quiet after one final day of racing this Saturday.

We’ve known this was coming since early February when the track’s owners the Deery family announced they were selling the land that the track rests on to developers. Other development in Loves Park around the track has put the squeeze on the facility, so have soaring property taxes. But most of all, there are no younger members in the Deery family who are willing or able to take over operations of the track.

This is an emotional time for the Deery family and for everyone who have been a part of this place.

“Each day I come here to work, and you feel it (the end) every day,” said track general manager David Deery.

“It’s very emotional, bitter-sweet,” said Rockford Speedway President Susan Deery in a recent interview.

I asked Susan Deery if the members of the family are still satisfied that they have made the right decision in moving on from the track and racing.

“Of course not, but things happen, and life goes on. We’re kind of getting squeezed out. We all knew it was going to happen. We just, I didn’t think it was going to happen this soon. I think no matter when it was going to happen it would be a shock and hard to take.”

Eric Huenefeld has been the track’s main announcer for 18 years.

“This place is kind of what’s made me and what’s made a lot of folks. I guess that’s what makes it all so special.”

Yep, a lot of great racers raced here before they became big stars, like Mark Martin. Some raced here after they became big stars like Dale Earnhardt Sr. The Deery family, all they ever wanted was to entertain folks and entertain families.

“I like to see our fans, the customers happy, enjoying themselves,” said Susan Deery.

The green flag and the checkered flag will be waived a few more times Saturday. A few more drivers will soak in another victory. Rockford’s racing family will gather together one last time at the track, but the memories of this place will last forever.

“I love all the competitors,” said Susan Deery. “They’re great people. A big family.”

“This place means so much to so many people,” said Huenefeld. “I think you’re finding that out.”

Here’s what’s on tap for Saturday, the final racing event. Late Models including a 76-lap feature race, RoadRunners, Illini Midgets, Figure 8, Spectacular Drags and more.

The gates will open at 11am. Racing will start at 1pm. If the event is rained out Saturday, it will be pushed back to Sunday.