Congratulations are in order to mark Martin who won the Nascar LifeLock 400 in a thriller at Michigan today. I have to laugh when I hear them speak of Mark as the silver fox with reference to his age. But forget Mark Martin, my good friend Hershel McGriff is going to take a crack at NASCAR again next weekend at Infineon at Age 81.
Hershel says, "Been racing for 60 years. Why stop now?"
Eighty-one year old Hershel McGriff has had enough of retirement, and the legendary driver will make his return behind the wheel at Infineon Raceway for the Bennett Lane Winery 200, presented by Supercuts, on Saturday, June 20.
Everyone speaks of Mark Martin as if he's old, but back when Mark Martin wasn’t even a twinkle in his daddy’s eye, Hershell McGriff was driving in NASCAR. In 1954, he won four races in the Grand National series, including North Wilkesboro and the old track at Southern States Fairgrounds. He later competed off and on in the 1970s and 80s, first at just the west coast tracks like Riverside and Ontario, and then just the road courses. His last start came at Sears Point in 1993, where he finished last due to engine problems. Well, now, at age 81, Hershel McGriff is making a comeback of sorts: he plans to attempt the three road courses in the Camping World West Series: Infineon, Miller Motorsports Park in Utah and the revamped Portland International Raceway. Believe it or not, he’s actually the defending champ at Portland in what was then the Winston West Series, when they last ran there way back in 1986.
Any guesses who I'll be pulling for next weekend?
Perhaps best known for his talent on a road course, it’s only natural that McGriff makes his return at the road-course events. McGriff’s racing career is one that pre-dates NASCAR and spans seven decades of racing. His first race was at 17 years of age after his family moved to Portland and from there his career took off.
McGriff went on to gain numerous honors both on and off the track, including:
· 1986 NASCAR Camping World Series West champion
· Third on the list of career West Series victories (35)
· Third on the list of career series poles (37)
· His record 12 victories in 1972 still stands as the most in a season – as does his record that year for winning the most pole positions (12).
· Became the oldest driver to win in the series, at 61 years and four months (Bakersfield, 1989).
In addition, McGriff was presented with the NASCAR Award of Excellence and named one of the 50 Greatest Drivers in NASCAR in 1998. He was also inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in its inaugural year in 2003. McGriff’s popularity among fans was indicated by the record 12 consecutive years (1981-1992), that he was named the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Camping World Series West.
McGriff will look to build on that success as he makes his return behind the wheel in the Sonoma Valley. With a successful weekend, McGriff could become the oldest driver in track history to enjoy a sip from the Champion’s Goblet in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle.