Every man knows that destiny is what shapes each man's life but very few of them realize that our destiny was not created by things we had anything to do with but rather by those before us all to often decades before our very existence. This last weekend as I drove to Oregon to be with my mother for what is realistically the last time, I had lots of time to think about my own destiny and how it has been effected by others before me.
In one of the letters that President Reagan wrote to me he said, "It's hard to find anything more distinctive about American life than the variety of the opportunities it affords people to improve their own lives and, in the process, the lives of so many others." Then I realized what a perfect example Hershel McGriff has been in affecting my life and the lives of so many others and in doing so my own destiny. Because Hershel seized opportunities many years ago which in fact improved his own life and in the process, the lives of so many others, many of us are now able to enjoy a more distinctive life.
Hershel McGriff and Gary Faules
For those of us involved in racing, more specifically, with La Carrera Panamericana, it's almost unfathomable to comprehend how uneventful our roles in today's La Carrera Panamericana might be had Hershel not won that first race thus bringing home the distinction to The United States. Hershel's successful involvement in racing for the next many decades to come had a lot to do as a result of his early success and Hershel has always given credit to that race being one that opened so many doors of opportunities.
Had it not been for the likes of Hershel McGriff and a few other greats like him many young drivers today would not have had many of the doors open to them that they did. Always the diplomat, a real man's man, Hershel has always been able to back himself up with his own actions. The truth is, if it were not for Hershel, racing may very likely not be what it is today. It's the ground work that was set up by great drivers like him that became the very foundation known as one of the greatest racing venues ever realized in the racing world.... NASCAR.
Speaking of greats think Kentucky Derby. Super Bowl. America’s Cup. Indianapolis. Le Mans. Daytona ... each the epitome of sporting excellence. Add to that list the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Since 1974, the Rolex Monterey Historic's have showcased the world’s passion for vintage racing cars and has risen to a preeminent place on the international motorsports calendar, held at the beautiful Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. During this year's event "La Carrera Panamericana, Rebirth Of A Legend" produced by Steffan Shultz, will be making it's debut. In doing so one of my biggest dreams will be realized after having competed in La Carrera Panamericana which has long been widely recognized by it's contemporaries to be the most dangerous race of any type in the world.
This amazing production is by far the most comprehensive and exciting documentary not only about La Carrera Panamericana but also about the involvement of Team California's Best and those who made it a reality. Besides tons of exciting footage, photos, interviews and more during the 2007 La Carrera Panamericana, the film includes the entire build and preparation of my 1965 GT350R Shelby that finished 9th overall made all the more exciting since finishing that high is unheard of for any first timers.
I would like to take this time to thank Hershel not only for his part in this film but for his friendship and for helping shape Team California's Best and so many other's destinies, mine included, into some of the most amazing adventures and opportunities any man could ever ask for. Thank you Hershel.