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Ross Phillips  —  You’re amazing Hershel. I remember going to many Winston West races in Portland, Monroe, Washington and Victoria, B.C. Canada to see you race against all of the best in the Pacific Northwest. Such greats as Roy Smith, Gary Kershaw, Derrike Cope, Jim Bown and many others. They were fantastic races and you were always a crowd favorite. It’s so great to see that you still have what it takes. All the best to you and “Thanks for the memories”


Gary Faules  —  I sure hope someone will get some photos on the track.


Gary Faules  —  Hershel & Sherrie,  Especially after spending the day at Thunderhill with all of you I am so excited about this weeks race I can’t sit still. I’m going to wear out my fingers keeping them crossed this long.

Anyone else who knows Hershel already knows the last thing Hershel needs is a fire built under his ass. On Monday I asked him, “Are you having fun?” and his eyes lit up and he said, “As long as I’m fast I am.” Speaking of eyes and Hershel, I can tell you from my own personal experience, having been blind for several years, that the visions Hershel sees are not the same as one gets from the use of their eyes.

Carl Jung (1875 ~ 1961) a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology known as Jungian psychology wrote, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” Pick your dream carefully because we can become no larger than our vision. The size of your dream limits the size of your accomplishments. Although poor eyes limit what we can see, poor vision limits what we can do. Not only does Hershel have excellent vision he clearly knows what dreams he intends to fulfill.


Jim & Marybeth Fulton  —  Hershel & Sherrie,  We know you are having a great time!  Best of luck at Portland……….We know you’ll make this one!!!!!!  Take care of Crystal.  We’ll keep watching the blog!  Hope to visit soon!!!!!!   XOXOXOXO


Curtis Langer  —  Looking forward to the event in Portland this weekend of July 18th-19th. First saw Hershel race at Stockton California in the middle 1960’s in a Pacific Coast late model race now the Camping West series. Had the great pleasure seeing him announce his comback in the late 1960’s starting with a win in the same series at Riverside International Raceway race. Probably have seen hime race between Portland, Yakima, Monroe & 25+ other tracks, Elscan, Nascar & other series race between some 135-140 races. He is always a fan’s & sponser’s dream. Always have thought he was the West Coast version of Richard Petty including the nick name “The King.” Thanks for so many years of enjoyment & especialy being able to see you race again this weekend. A note to his fans his two son’s Doug & Hershell Jr. were great racers too.


Cooper Maixner  —  Hershel, I grew up watching you race out at Portland Speedway and no matter who was in the race you were always our guy. You always took the time to sign autographs or talk racing with us kids and we’ll never forget that. Just like the old days my cousin David and I will be out at PIR cheering you on. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to say hi. We’re really hoping that things come together and you’re competitve but no matter what we know we’ll see a real class act out there. Give em’ hell Hershel!!!!


Marcia Maes  —  I remember watching you in Portland Oregon, at the Portland Speedway, racing against Dick Bown my entire family fell in love with you. My son idolized you, we have pictures of him with you when you were driving the 04 car, sponsored by Olympia Beer..he was 4 then and now he is going on 40 and still idolizes you!!! Keep up the good work, you are the greatest!


JMMPark  —   Good Luck with the testing–Due to all the rule changes, It should be noted the work that was done to transform the car from what it was to what it is, was SIMPLY AMAZING. I have gained a new respect for what it takes to build one! (Somebody should have taken some photos)!!!!  Anyone who knows will appreciate the craftmanship. My hat is off to J.R.


Frank McKinnon  —    Hershel, Nice to see a man is such great shape. Thanks for signing the 53 ford panamerica cars hood. The car was painted at fords test factory for the 100 years of ford. Your addition makes it perfect.


Robert Newman  —  Can’t wait to see you race in Portland. You and my uncle Jimmie Shull used to drive tow trucks together. I met you once at Jimmie’s anniversary party. Good luck!


Val & Jeff  –  This is just AWESOME!!! Congrats! This just goes to prove that one is NEVER too old for anything! We will keep checking in on the progress.  We will be cheering you on! (even if it’s from Ohio)  (hey the blog was a smart idea!)


Larry  – Wish I knew enough about working on race cars, to be able to get on Hershel’s crew. Just have to be satisfied doing the drywall remodel work on their house. Win some races, I’m sure Sherrie has a few more ideas for the house………lol. 

Give them hell Hershel!


Gary Faules    —  Hershel is like a fine wine… Just keeps getting better with age.


Gary Faules  —  How cool is THAT (Vanishing Point cameo)!  Not only did I enjoy the original Vanishing Point when it came out but I also enjoyed the remake that Hershel was in and now that I know Hershel was in it I am going to pick it up for my personal stock and watch it again. Steve McQueen had nothing on Hershel. LOL

In the mean time here is wishing you a safe trip up to Portland and much success. Amazing when you think about it… Portland is where it all began when Hershel borrowed the family car and entered a local oval track race. I guess you could say Hershel has gone full circle, no pun intended. What am amazing journey his life has been. 

You know what they say about us Oregon country boys… We don’t tan… We rust. The problem with that is, Hershel never sat still long enough to rust.


Carson Sheller  —  Great interview from Infineon with Mike Joy on Wind Tunnel / Speed TV last nite , well done! Sign me up for the Hershal McGriff Story in a hard back!  giddy up!


Ed Borgers  —  It was either 1950 as Elden recalls or 1951 when Herschel stopped at the CHOG in Sioux Falls in his 50 Olds. I believe the Olds was yellow. A great memory for me. I also happened to be watching the race on Speed Channel when Herschel dropped out and sadly walked away to “retire”.


Carson Sheller  — What an amazing BIO…perhaps the most underrated driver in the history of motorsports.  giddy up


 Elden Nielsen  —  Oh yes, I was alive and well in 1950 when he stopped at ‘our’ farm in SD after winning the “Pan American” (he is after all related, being my sister-in-law’s brother) He was returning to Portland after going to Detroit to ‘pick up’ a new cherry red 88 with compliments of GM. Thanks for sharing.


Gary Faules  —  We all have our fingers crossed but in any event Hershel is and always will be a winner in our eyes. Just the fact that he’s there doing it is an unbelievable feat in anyone’s book. Knowing Hershel I am positive this will be quickly put behind him as he looks forward to the next race. All racers have these sorts of set backs but it’s always the winners that noty only accept the challenge but in fact look forward to it.

Theodore Roosevelt said it best…. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood. At best, he knows the triumph of high achievement; if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”


Gary Faules  —  Three guys at the retirement home were sitting around talking and one said, “Anyone want to paly a game of old maid?” The second one said, “That sounds like fun but we need another player to make it a foursome. Where’s McGriff?” The third guy replied, “Better count Hershel out. Last week he had a new race car built and he’s racing at Infineon this weekend.”

How cool can any one man be in one lifetime? Just last week Hershel test a brand new, never before been raced car and today at the age of 81 he qualified for tomorrow’s Nascar race. When I die, I want to come back as Hershel McGriff.


Carson Sheller  —  Wishing Mr. Hershel McGriff a safe and successful race weekend at Infineon, truly an inspiration for all of us.  Giddy up!     Carson Scheller, Los Alamos, Ca   —  La Carrera Panamericana Original Class winner 2007 + 2008

Gary Faules  —  Sherrie & Hershel, Thanks for an awesome day at the track and the best of luck tomorrow.  I can’t wait to see you on the track again.  There are an awful lot of McGriff fans pulling for you and you are such an inspiration to us all.


GinaYOU ROCK DAD——I LOVE YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Jeff Nielsen, nephew glad to get the news,…and thank you for all updates!


JMMPark — Thanks for including me as I would not miss this deal for anything!!




13 Comments leave one →
  1. Carson Scheller permalink
    June 22, 2009 2:34 pm

    Great interview from Infineon with Mike Joy on Wind Tunnel / Speed TV last nite , well done
    sign me up for the Hershal McGriff Story in a hard back
    giddy up

  2. June 29, 2009 7:37 pm

    I can’t begin to explain how excited I am about Hershel returning to Oregon to race. Is it because I was raised in Oregon? Is it because I too grew up in the lumber business or that Hershel even had some business dealings with my father’s lumber mill? Maybe it’s because I raced in La Carrera Panamericana a race that Hershel won the year I was born? Or maybe it’s all of the above, I’m not sure but I do know this. To know him personally is something any race car driver would wish possible and speaking from personal experience just one of his many attributes that I enjoy the most is his humility.

    My favorite author is Ernest Hemingway and one of my favorite Hemingway works is none other than “The Old Man and the Sea” an amazing and insightful work that I have read many times which is about a man that also knew humility. In retrospect Hemingway very easily could have written the same work about none other than Hershel McGriff.

    Hemingway wrote… “There is an old fisherman, Santiago, in Cuba who has gone eighty-four days without a catch. He is “thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck,…and his hands had deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert”. Santiago’s lack of success, though, does not destroy his spirit, as his “cheerful and undefeated” eyes show.”

    If Hemingway were alive today he might write a book titled The Old Man And The Track. in which he would write, “There is an old racer, McGriff, in Arizona who has gone a few years without winning a race. Unlike the old man in the sea, he is not “thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck,… and his hands are as steady as they were in 1950. But none of this matters. McGriff’s lack of success, though, does not destroy his spirit, as his “cheerful and undefeated” eyes show.”

    Like Santiago’s need to return to the sea, McGriff also has the burning desire deep inside to return to the track and like Santiago’s return without the great prize, McGriff too will come home still having his dignity, and honor but best of all still able to hold his head up high with pride. McGriff will return knowing in his heart that others for an eternity will only dream and read books by great writers such as Hemingway that tell about great men who accomplished what others thought impossible. It’s almost ironic that he returns to Oregon a place that has long been his home even though he has been gone for so long. Hemingway would write, “McGriff does not have to bring home a trophy…. McGriff IS the trophy and the prize that every one seeks to possess.”

  3. Martin E. Larsen permalink
    July 18, 2009 11:39 pm

    I grew up in Portland,Oregon and looked forward to seeing the news about Mr. McGriff. Since I moved down here to Texas I had lost touch with his racing acomplkishments. I was looking at the sports news here on line and much to my surprise I found the article about him returning to racing. I think that is the best news for racing that I have heard in ages. The only thing that I could think of as being better is tio see Him racing Richard Petty again, they looked great in the picture of them are in arm. Just goes to prove you are NEVER too old to do what you love to do. Good luck at the races. Martin

  4. Major William Brown permalink
    July 21, 2009 4:03 am

    Hershel, your exploits on the track have taken 10 years or more off my age! Coupled with Tom Watson’s 2nd place finish in the British Open, it’s been a great week for the “over-the-hill” gang. It utterly amazes me that someone can win the 1950 Pan-American Road Race and then finish mid-field in 2009 against a bunch of guys young enough to be your grandsons. My math says that’s 59 years. F-1 drivers feel washed up at 30; think you’re teaching everyone a new lesson in endurance and downright motivation and love for the sport. Have always known you’re one heck of a driver and particularly a road racer (I’m a sports car fan a million times over). I’m sure my friend James Hylton is happy for you as well. Just got some items autographed by him; forever young as you are. I wish you luck in your next race and I’ll be cheering for you! Take care and God bless you and your extended family. Bet your wife is mighty proud!
    VR, Major Wm Brown in Bedford, VA (US Army)

  5. July 21, 2009 5:09 pm

    Congradulations Herschel. We read about you in our Cincinnati paper. Everyone seems surprised that a man of your age is still racin. Not me. I know how long the McGriff men live and stay active. I’ve been researching the McGriff family tree for over 40 years and I know the stock you come from here in Ohio, If you get a chance, contact me and we can talk family trees.

    Best regards,

    Jack McGriff
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  6. Ross Phillips permalink
    July 24, 2009 2:12 am

    You’re amazing Hershel. I remember going to many Winston West races in Portland, Monroe, Washington and Victoria, B.C. Canada to see you race against all of the best in the Pacific Northwest. Such greats as Roy Smith, Gary Kershaw, Derrike Cope, Jim Bown and many others. They were fantastic races and you were always a crowd favorite. It’s so great to see that you still have what it takes. All the best to you and “Thanks for the memories”

  7. Michael Johnson permalink
    July 28, 2009 2:51 am

    Hershel, it was great to see you race at PIR.
    I grew up watching you at Portland Speedway as well as Salem Speedway.
    My Dad and I were at Portland Speedway for the last race on asphalt when they handed you the jackhammer and put you to work!
    I have been watching for some news on when you might race again.
    Very cool…It made for a nice Father/Son day at the races.
    My Dad and I sat just to the left of your family in the stands at PIR.
    They cheered every time you came around.
    I was checking your Website the other day and found the video clip of you signing autographs after the race. I had to do a doubletake….the video shows my Dad and I getting your autograph…what are the odds!!!
    I E-mailed Crystal asking about the video clip, very nice of her to reply.
    You looked pretty comfortable soaking the feet while Gina rubbed the neck…well deserved, Sir!
    I met Gina briefly in the stands as well, she could not have been more pleasant.
    Wishing you the best in Utah (Win it!) and would certainly like to see you race again soon…. Roseburg??

    Take care, Michael

  8. August 1, 2009 6:16 am

    Great Job! Fans in British Columbia Canada still talk about your Winston West Victories at Langley Speedway. Bud Bussiere Langley Speedway Historical Society.

  9. Chloe permalink
    August 3, 2009 5:00 am

    Chloe sends her love to Brogan, Crys. It was great chatting with you yesterday evening. What a guy Hershel is! Very, very impressive!

    • Crys permalink*
      August 9, 2009 2:59 am

      Hi ya Patty…

      Was great meeting you and Chloe at Atlanta airport! At least I had great company during the long delay! I hope you are both well rested and settled in by now. Thanks for your lovely comment. Brogan says hi back Chloe! ^..^

  10. Val & Jeff Bucklew permalink
    August 3, 2009 3:30 pm

    We can’t wait to see photos!!! Great job, Hershel. (We think you should keep racing – it’s just what this sport needs)

  11. Patricia Demjan permalink
    August 11, 2009 1:35 pm

    No wonder Susan Miller’s “Astrology Zone” web site mentions Hershel. In the monthly (August 2009) Libra horoscope, she points to him as an example of how doing what you love keeps you young.

    All I can say is WOW! Does it EVER!

    Thanks for the great example, Mr. McGriff!

  12. George Broaddus permalink
    August 28, 2009 3:33 pm


    I watched you race when I lived in California and you were still winning Winston West championships. You are my hero! I am 64 and autocross, run SCCA ProSolo and do track days with my modifed 1999 Corvette FRC. Like you, I never thought about age making a difference. I was a motorcycle roadracer when I was in my twenties and thirties, but numerous accidents and surgeries keep me from competing on a bike now. This is why I run the Corvette in Autocross and track days, cannot get a sponsor for running SCCA Touring 1.

    Keep on going, it is great to hear about you again. I hope to make it to an event to get a picture autographed Old guys rule!!!

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