Hershel McGriff

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Hershel McGriff
Born (1927-12-14) December 14, 1927 (age 87)
Bridal Veil, Oregon, United States
Achievements 1986 NASCAR Winston West Series champion
Awards 2002 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductee
2006 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
85 races run over 27 years
Best finish 6th - 1954
First race 1950 Southern 500 (Darlington)
Last race 1993 Save Mart Supermarkets 300K (Sears Point)
First win 1954 San Mateo 250 (Bay Meadows)
Last win 1954 Wilkes 160 (North Wilkesboro)
Wins Top tens Poles
4 31 5
Statistics current as of August 15, 2012.

Hershel McGriff (born December 14, 1927) is an American stock car racing driver. A long-time competitor in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, formerly known as the Winston West Series, he won the series' 1986 championship, and is also a four-time winner in Grand National competition.

Racing career[edit]

McGriff first raced on September 16, 1945, right after racing resumed in the United States after World War II.[1] He was the winner of the first Carrera Panamericana in 1950, where he met NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr.[2] France convinced McGriff to come south and race in NASCAR races at Daytona Beach, the first Southern 500 race at Darlington Raceway, Detroit, and Raleigh.[1]

France convinced McGriff to race full-time in NASCAR in 1954. He had his four wins that year in the Grand National series, the first coming at Bay Meadows Speedway.[3] He had 17 top-10 finishes in 24 events, and finished sixth in the final points standings.[4] McGriff's average finishing position was higher than points champion Lee Petty.[1]

McGriff had two options to choose from for the 1955 season. He was offered a ride in NASCAR to race for millionaire Carl Kiekhaefer's newly formed team. McGriff decided to return home to the West Coast to be closer to his family, and to tend to his growing timber and mill business. Tim Flock drove Kiekhaefer's Chrysler 300 to 18 victories that season and the season championship.[1]

McGriff returned to racing after not racing for around ten years.[1] He started 41st at Riverside in 1967, and had moved up to second place by the sixth lap. He beat Ron Grable in a photo finish that day.[1]

He became the oldest driver to win a NASCAR feature race when he won an AutoZone West Series race in 1989 at the age of 61. His 14 wins at the defunct Riverside International Raceway is the most at NASCAR-sanctioned events,[2] and he was chosen as the grand marshal for the final race at the track in 1988.[5]

In November 1996, McGriff made the trip with several NASCAR champions, current Winston Cup, Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck Series drivers to Japan's Suzuka Raceway for an exhibition race. He started 26th and finished 25th in what was called the NASCAR Suzuka Thunder Special.

McGriff was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2006.[6]

McGriff's most recent start in the West Series came on June 23, 2012, at Sonoma Raceway, at the age of 84.

Career awards[edit]

McGriff was inducted in the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in its first class in 2002.[1] He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2006. McGriff, who retired from driving at age 74 said, "This is fantastic, getting in the Hall of Fame, but, hey, I might not be through yet. When I turn 80 [in two years], I just might go out to a short track and show the young guys that I can still do it."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Biography at the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, 2002, Retrieved November 7, 2007
  2. ^ a b c [1] Shav Glick, "MOTOR RACING:Ward to Enter Hall of Fame", August 15, 2006, page D.6, Los Angeles Times
  3. ^ "Grand National Won by Portland Driver". Eugene Register-Guard (Eugene, OR). August 23, 1954. p. B2. 
  4. ^ Driver's statistics at Racing-reference.info
  5. ^ "Benny Parsons' commentary, ESPN 26 hour marathon for the Top NASCAR races as it turns 50 years old at Riverside International Raceway". 1999. ESPN2. ESPN.
  6. ^ John Coon Deseret News. "McGriff, 81, is far from a novelty act." Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Deseret News Publishing Co. 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2012 from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-20594050.html

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jim Robinson
NASCAR Winston West Series champion
1986
Succeeded by
Chad Little