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Hershel at PIR

July 23, 2009

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.



Life Never Slows Down For McGriff…

July 23, 2009

Life Never Slows Down for McGriff  —  Wednesday July 22, 2009 @ 01:25 PM EDT

When he took the green flag at Portland International Raceway on Sunday, 81-year-old Hershel McGriff became the oldest driver to compete in a NASCAR event (at the national or regional level).

Since Sunday, he could also be considered the busiest driver in NASCAR. Hershel has been swamped with interview requests from media outlets across the country. He even responded to a request for an interview from the BBC World Service in London, England. Everybody wants to talk to Hershel.

It’s been great to watch his interviews – and there have been many of them, including ESPN2’s “NASCAR Now” and “First Take.” Hershel has always had an appreciation for the media. And they seem to appreciate him.

Pressed about his secret for staying so young, Hershel says he has tried to stay as active as possible and take good care of himself. Well, it appears to be working. He is sharp mentally and physically. He serves as an inspiration that just because you reach retirement age does not mean you have to be headed for a rocking chair.

Next up for Hershel is the third road course event of the season for the NASCAR Camping World Series West – at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Aug. 1. More racing and already more media requests. Life never slows down for Hershel McGriff.



Hershel McGriff driving the Chicane at PIR

July 22, 2009
PORTLAND, OR - JULY 19: Hershel McGriff works his way through the Chicane during the NASCAR Camping World Series West BI-MART Salute to the Troops 125 at Portland International Raceway on July 19, 2009 in Portland, Oregon. McGriff placed 13th in the race and became the oldest drier to drive in a NASCAR regional or national event.

PORTLAND, OR - JULY 19: Hershel McGriff works his way through the Chicane during the NASCAR Camping World Series West BI-MART Salute to the Troops 125 at Portland International Raceway on July 19, 2009 in Portland, Oregon. McGriff placed 13th in the race and became the oldest driver to drive in a NASCAR regional or national event.

ESPN2 Nascar Now Interview 7-21-09

July 22, 2009

ESPN2 Nascar Now Interview – July 21, 2009 


Hershel - ESPN2 Nascar Now Studio shot

Hershel - ESPN2 Nascar Now Studio shot


International press

July 21, 2009

Today (Tues.) at 2pm PT Hershel will be doing an interview for ESPN2’s NASCAR Now show.

Tomorrow (Wed.) at 8:35am PT Hershel will do another interview with ESPN2 for their  First Take show.

He also conducted a BBC World News (of Europe) telephone interview today.


July 21, 2009
Hershel and Sherrie at PIR

Hershel and Sherrie at PIR

PIR Television spots/interviews

July 21, 2009
A couple of great television spots from KATU – Channel 2:

ESPN interview

July 21, 2009

ESPN will be interviewing Hershel Wednesday morning the 22nd for a show called “First Take” which will air LIVE on ESPN2 Wed., July 22 at 8:35am Pacific Time.  Set your recorders.

Also…CBS has plans to be at the upcoming Utah race to conduct a live interview with Hershel for the “Early Show.”

Hershel takes us for a drive around Portland International

July 21, 2009

Some great articles…


And here’s a video of Hershel taking the PIR PR guy round the track….