Rockford Speedway, a NASCAR Home Track in Rockford, Illinois, and the Big 8 Late Model Series announced Wednesday that Gregg McKarns has resigned from his position within both organizations. The press release states that McKarns will explore new opportunities within the short track auto racing industry.


“I am grateful for the opportunity the Deery family provided me the past 10 years,” McKarns said in the press release. “I look forward to working with them on future projects while at the same time, am excited to see what new opportunities lie ahead for my family in racing. The race teams and fans have been great and I will miss them the most.


“Rockford Speedway has a great history with much more to be written, I am honored that I could play a small role in shaping that for a decade.”


Gregg McKarns poses with the top three finishers at the Big 8 Series event at last year's Oktoberfest Race Weekend. (Mark Melchiori photo)

Gregg McKarns poses with the top three finishers at the Big 8 Series event at last year’s Oktoberfest Race Weekend. (Mark Melchiori photo)

The release also stated that McKarns will remain involved with the Oktoberfest Race Weekend at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin and the Midwest Racers’ Expo that is held each January. reached out to McKarns Wednesday, who said that he has nothing lined up at this point and felt it was time to do something else. He is looking forward to accomplishing more in the short track racing industry.


McKarns was hoping to continue with the Big 8 Series, which he helped start 10 years ago. He is not the owner of the series, but managed it as part of his job as General Manager of the Rockford.


“I thought I would still be doing Big 8 Series, but it wasn’t meant to be,” McKarns told 51. “Just time for a new challenge. I thought Big 8 would fall into that challenge and perhaps someday it will be able to.


“I was surprised that it ended up that way, many of us put a lot of effort into building that into what it is today.”


What made the Big 8 Series popular was that it respects the weekly racing program, by not scheduling events that would conflict with drivers who compete weekly at their local short track, while still giving them a tour to participate in.


A few years ago, McKarns was able to get many tracks in the Midwest to agree to use the same tire that is used in the Big 8 Series to be their official tire at their track. This helped with car counts at Big 8 events.


McKarns said that his primary focus now will be his family and concentrating on the upcoming Oktoberfest Race Weekend.


“I am going fishing, go-karting, camping with my wife Angie and my kids Al and Evy,” McKarns said. “On Tuesday, I will begin looking at my options.”


The release said that questions regarding Rockford Speedway or the Big 8 Series should be directed to Eric Huenefeld, current Director of Sales and Media for both entities.


– Kevin Ramsell, Director of Business/Midwest Editor. Twitter: @KevinRamsell  Photo Credit: Jim Ambruoso/

Gregg McKarns Resigns from Rockford Speedway & Big 8 Series