ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — NASCAR’s championship race this Sunday in Phoenix will have a strong Rockford connection. Former Rockford Speedway owner, the late Jody Deery will be remembered at that race.

Her name will appear on the C-Post of Ryan Blaney’s number 12 Team Penske race car. Blaney is one of four finalists who have a shot at NASCAR’s Cup Championship Sunday. The others are Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson and William Byron.

Throughout NASCAR’s playoffs, sponsor Advance Auto Parts has been spotlighting a series of “Home Track Heroes” from NASCAR’s short tracks around the country. Deery is the latest “Home Track Hero.”

Deery was a pioneer in women becoming involved in the sport of auto racing. She and her husband Hugh bought the Rockford Speedway in 1966. She continued to work at the track until the age of 95. She passed away last year at the age of 97.

In 1994 Deery became the first woman in the nation to be named the “Auto Racing Promoter of the Year.”