The Big 8 Series will hit a milestone in 2014, as they get ready for their 10th season of racing this Sunday afternoon with the Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway in Rockford, Illinois.

The series has become one of the top limited late model series in the nation with their solid car counts as well as getting tracks together on the same rules package.

“It was very cool to break into the late model scene like we did in 2005 and continue to stay strong in the first nine years,” Gregg McKarns, Big 8 Series Promoter said.  “Our goal was to have a series where the weekly racer can also race in a traveling series and be able to do both during the season and it has worked out very well. In fact, one-third of our winners are also track champions.”

There have been two factors that have really helped the series continue over the first nine years.

The first is the solid car count at each of their events.

“We have averaged around 40 cars and above in our first nine years and we take a lot of pride in that,” McKarns said.  “We make sure that our schedule doesn’t conflict with the weekly racing programs at the tracks in the Midwest so teams still participate in our events.”

The second is that McKarns has been able to get many of the tracks to have almost identical rules and tire packages.

“I think it is important that everyone is rowing the boat in the same direction,” McKarns said.  “I think going into this season, there are ten tracks in four different states that are in line with the Big 8 Series.”

McKarns also noted that each event on the schedule has a special place on it.  He noted that they are excited to be going back to Dells Raceway Park in Wisconsin Dells, WI on July 4th and Slinger Speedway on July 13th.

“We have been wanting to get back to Dells Raceway Park, because our past shows there have been fantastic, but we couldn’t find a date that would work for both sides.  We are happy to make it work this year,” McKarns explained.  “For us to have a show at Slinger on the Sunday before the Slinger Nationals is big.  We have been trying to find a way to have a ‘Prelude to the Nationals’ event for quite some time and things lined up this year to do it.”

Chris Marek Hoping to Continue Streak at Rockord
Chris Marek will be making the trip to Rockford from Minnesota this weekend and he will come in as the hottest driver in the series.  Marek won two of the last three Big 8 Series events in 2013 with wins at Elko (MN) Speedway and at Oktoberfest in La Crosse.  The 2013 Elko Speedway track champion is planning on running for the 2014 Big 8 Series title.

Former Track Champions Looking for Big 8 Series Championship
Marek isn’t the only track champion looking to capture the Big 8 crown in 2014.  Dan Lensing, who won the Dells Raceway Park championship in 2012, is planning on running the full season.  Two-time La Crosse (WI) Fairgrounds Speedway champion J. Herbst will also be looking for the championship this year.  He finished eighth last year in the series.

Ten Events at Nine Tracks in Three States in 2014
The Big 8 Series schedule will travel to nine different tracks in three different states in 2014.  Rockford Speedway in Illinois will be the only track to host two events.  The schedule will have them visit Elko Speedway in Minnesota in September. The other seven events will take place at Wisconsin tracks: Columbus 151 Speedway, Madison International Speedway, Dells Raceway Park, Slinger Speedway, State Park Speedway, Jefferson Speedway and La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.

Big 8 Series to Embark on their 10th Season in 2014
Working Together is Key to Series' Success
By Kevin Ramsell, Midwest Editor - Twitter: @KevinRamsell
Exciting four-wide action is the norm with the Big 8 Late Models.   (TJ Harron photo)
Alex Papini won the season-opening Big 8 event at Rockford in 2013.