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McGriff headlines…

July 23, 2009
  McGRIFF TAKES BITE OUT OF OLD-AGE STEREOTYPE  —  Louis Brewster — 7-22-2009
That was no misprint in Monday’s results. Yes, Hershel McGriff, the Hershel McGriff, finished 13th in the Camping World West Series race Sunday in Portland. The 81-year-old Hershel McGriff.
“There were a lot of other cars out there that were a lot slower,” said race winner Jim Inglebright. “He did a great job.”  As he has for six decades. It’s not very often a member of the Hall of Fame is in the field with current competitors. But if there’s anyone capable of doing it, it’s certainly Hershel McGriff.

(Edited by Crys to correct spelling of Hershel’s name)



Hershel McGriff has been racing since the fifties, winning four NASCAR Cup races in 1954, and doing a few stints at Le Mans as well. In 2002, McGriff set a record for being the most chronologically advanced driver to run in a NASCAR-sanctioned event. Last weekend, he broke his own record.

Piloting a 2003 DEI Chevy, McGriff ran in the Camping West World Series at Portland International Raceway and came in 13th out of 28 drivers. And that’s after starting at the back of the pack and a lap down because of a carburetor change after qualifying.

Said McGriff: “I did not want to go out there and flop around.” Mission accomplished, Mr. McGriff… and well done at that. If he gets his way, he’ll break his record again at the race in Tooele, Utah on August 1.

Source: News & Observer

(Edited by Crys to correct spelling of Hershel’s name)



This week, the 50-and-over set can walk around with a little pep in their giddyup and with heads held high after a weekend when “seasoned” athletes proved that age is nothing but a number.

On Sunday, Tom Watson nearly created one of the greatest sports stories of all time. A month and a half shy of his 60th birthday, Watson finished as the runner-up at the British Open

Also on Sunday, Hershel McGriff finished 13th out of 26 drivers in a road course race at Portland, Ore., International Raceway, part of the NASCAR Camping World West Series.

That’s not bad, considering he had to start at the back of the pack and one lap down because he replaced the carburetor after the qualifying session.

But it’s downright awesome when you consider the fact that four of his NASCAR Cup series victories came in the 1954 season.

The 81-year-old has 37 wins in the West series, was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers and was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006.

McGriff, who broke his own record as NASCAR’s oldest driver, last raced in 2002, but entered three events this summer. He did not qualify for a June 20 race at Sonoma, Calif., He is expected to try and qualify again for an Aug. 1 race in Tooele, Utah.

“I haven’t had anyone tell me that I’m crazy,” McGriff told The Associated Press before the race. “I don’t live a normal life, compared to a lot of my friends anyway.”

McGriff drove in his first race in the family sedan on a dirt track at Portland Speedway in 1945 at age 17. The next year there, with the track newly paved, he won his first race.

 These athletes, along with veteran athletes of years past, such as Satchel Paige, George Blanda, Gordie Howe, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Shoemaker, Nolan Ryan, Martina Navratilova, George Foreman and Dara Torres prove that it’s neither the years nor the miles.  If you’ve got it, you’ve got it. 

So the next time the youngsters in sports give you a hard time for knowing where you were when Lincoln was assassinated, you tell them old fogeys can still get it done in the field of athletics.

That will teach those young whippersnappers to keep their pie holes shut.


Fanning the Flames: McGriff Scores One For NASCAR’s Geritol Gang – Matt Taliaferro  7-23-09

 Move over, Tom Watson. Hershel McGriff, at 81 years of age, finished 13th in this past weekend’s NASCAR Camping World West race at Portland International Raceway. We’ve all heard about that, right?

But did you realize when and where he made his first career NASCAR start?

The inaugural Southern 500 at Darlington. No joke. The inaugural Southern 500. And he finished ninth.

Let that sink in for a minute, would ya? Then go back and read some of the articles written about McGriff in your spare time. He’s truly a living link to those “good ol’ days” we all wax poetic about around here. The 1986 Winston West champion (it was known as the NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model Series when he started, back in the 1950s), winner of 37 races on that circuit in 234 starts spanning 34 years, McGriff has truly seen it all. He made 85 Grand National/Cup starts, too, going to Victory Lane four times — all in 1954.

Yes, I said 1954.

McGriff made 24 of those 85 starts that season and finished sixth in the standings. Throughout the rest of his career, he’d pop in for two, three, or four starts per season, mainly when the circuit visited Riverside or another western facility. Choosing to stay racing on the Winston West circuit, he was successful enough to be named as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

That a driver who competed in the inaugural Southern 500 could suit up today and run 13th in a sanctioned NASCAR race just amazes me to no end. Hell, that an 81-year-old still has the fire in his belly to jump in one of today’s stock cars and go toe-to-toe with a bunch of 20- and 30-somethings amazes me.

McGriff told one publication in the weeks leading up to the race in Portland that, “I’m looking forward to it … I hope I haven’t lost my touch.”

Mr. McGriff, you haven’t lost a thing. Here’s to hoping you have a couple more races in ya.



One Comment leave one →
  1. TEMPORARY HELP permalink
    July 23, 2009 7:54 pm

    What a finish at PORTLAND!!!!–Please correct me if I am wrong, Qualified on TIME for starting 21st, came from a lap down on two occasions to finish 13th on the lead lap!!!!–Smooth as silk thru the chicane and the S’s—-I watched it from the START/FINISH line along with a fairly good number of his fans and let me tell you they were quite loud every time he came by and all of them followed him until he was out of sight on the back stretch, then waited for him to appear on the main straight. Age or not–it was a performance of old!!!!!–Great pit call for early fuel stop by J.R.

    Did a little checking on the standings-he is currently showing at the 40th position(out of 63 drivers)and ahead of such drivers as Joey Lagano, Boris Said and David Gilliland.

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