POPULAR STOPS AND TRADITIONAL EVENTS ARE PART OF 2023 BIG 8 SERIES SCHEDULE
By: Tom Ace
Throughout its history, the Big 8 Late Model Series has been a model of consistency in the world of short track racing.
The Series, which has averaged 31 entries per event since its inception in 2005, has consistently featured top-notch racing action at some of America’s best and toughest short tracks while also showcasing the talents of the “Best Weekly Warriors in the Country.”
With that being said, the 2023 season looks to be another year full of close competition at venues that have become a mainstay on the Series through the years.
The 19th season of Big 8 Late Model Series “showtime” kicks off under the lights at Rockford Speedway on Saturday evening April 22 with the running of the 46th Annual Spring Classic. Last year marked the first time Spring Classic was run ‘under the lights,’ with former Big 8 Series champion Max Kahler turning in a dominant effort on the way to victory. An 88-lap feature opens the season at Rockford, with the Mid Am Racing Series and the 4-cylinder Bandits running in support.
For the first time since 2009, the Big 8 Late Model Series makes a springtime visit to ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile,’ the Madison International Speedway. The May 19 event also doubles as the Friday Night Opener at the McKarns family’s facility.
The first Friday night in June brings a traditional stop in the state of Iowa, as the Big 8 Late Model Series returns to Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids for “Clash at the Downs IX.” The race at Hawkeye Downs has been one of the most competitive on the Big 8 schedule since its inception, with seven different winners in seven previous races.
For the second straight year, the talented Big 8 crew tries to tame the beast known as Tomah Sparta Speedway, with the Firecracker 58 Friday night June 30. In 2022, an overflow crowd jammed the hillside at the venerable Western Wisconsin facility and watched Jesse Bernhagen score his first ever Big 8 Series win.
The Wimmer family welcomes the Big 8 Late Model Series back to State Park Speedway in Wausau Wisconsin on Friday night July 21 as part of the first night of the annual Larry Detjens Memorial Weekend. This summer marks the Series’ twelfth straight journey to the historic central Wisconsin bullring. Two weeks after the Wausau go, a return to Madison International Speedway looms on Friday night August 4. The summer date at MIS is the Series’ 24th stop at the high-banked half-mile since 2005.
The traditional “three races in three weeks” to determine the 2023 Big 8 Series champion begins on Saturday September 23 at Dells Raceway Park with an 88-lap main event part of the Midwest Championship Showdown. Events at Dells Raceway Park have always been a hit with Big 8 drivers, as the three previous stops at the facility have averaged 36 entries.
The 58th Annual National Short Track Championship at Rockford Speedway takes place on Saturday and Sunday September 30 and October 1. For the third straight year, the Big 8 Late Model Series headlines “One Great Racing Weekend.” Qualifying and Preliminary races are scheduled for Saturday night, with Last Chance Racing and the 188 lap National Short Track Championship slated for Sunday afternoon.
Saturday night October 7, the Big 8 Late Model Series champion is determined at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, as part of the 54th Oktoberfest Race Weekend. This season marks the 19th consecutive year the Big 8 season has ended its campaign at the mega event in western Wisconsin.
For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series, please visit big8latemodels.com.