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The Ageless Hershel McGriff

By Dick Pierson on 19 July 2009 | Commentaires (0) Comments | Permalink


The title of this writing says it all. "The Ageless Hershel " ! At the age of 81 Hershel is back at NASCAR racing at Portland International Raceway this weekend. It has been filled with excitement, disappointment and more excitement for this author.

This weekend in Portland Oregon the race fans are being treated to a very special occasion, the return of the rumbling NASCAR Stock Cars to the Portland International Raceway. But that is not the only treat for the fans, they are actually seeing history made right before their eyes. Hershel McGriff is becoming the oldest man ever, in the history of stock car racing, to drive a NASCAR Stock Car competitively.At the age of 81 years (young not the customary old- when talking about Hershel) Hershel is driving his 2008 Chevrolet Monte Carlo into history. The weekend has yielded two practices sessions so far and Hershel in 17th fast out of 24 cars,

Considering that this famous man has bucked the odds to make a come back and is showing that he is capable of even being able to qualify is nothing short of amazing. Hershel is the picture of health, eats right, exercises every day, practices Pilate, drinks plenty of water, etc. To meet Hershel the first time is like going back in time and seeing a much youngerman, a man in maybe his 60's but cerrtainly not a man that will turn 82 years old this December. It is truly amazing what our bodies can look like if we take care of them !

On the track he looks like the same old Hershel McGriff, smooth as silk in every corner, easy consistyant acceleration, tough braking, just a;ll around a very good solid smooth race car driver that appears as though he hasn't lost one bit of his snap in the car. Off the track and in the pit area, the same Hershel McGriff the fans always knew, friendly, willing to sign just about anything with his autograph, standing with the family for a photo, you name it Hershel does it. This writer witnessed Hershel having a little misfortune concerning one of the tire walls earlier, as he got out of the car and before he could even grab a drink, he was ask by a concerned fan, "What happened Hershel" ?  "Oh, he said, "I just passed that guy and got a little out of shape." Then went on to carry on a conversation in which he answered the same question two more times with the same fan, This writer has had occasion to have a few "mishaps" in the race track, as a driver is crawling out of his hurt race car it is not normally the time to discuss why he did what he did. With some drivers you could get punched, but not with Hershel, always willing to talk with the fans - what a class act he is. Now you know why he was voted "Most Popiular Driver" so many times.


For those of you that don't know this man, I am sorry, he is truly one of a kind. If you ever have the chance to meet him, do it, it will be a memorable experience. For those of us that do know and love him, he is a true friend and a dynamic role model. And, as special an occasion as this is, his entire family is here to support his effort. Hershel Jr. is the Crew Cheif, Chuck Bown, NASCAR's 2000 Busch Champion, Tex Powell, Richard Petty's chassis man in the 70's & 80's, his daughter's Marilyn and Debbie, His son's Hershel Jr. and Doug and a few other cousins and assorted family members. And some of the old race car crew from the 60's, 70"s and 80's.

More tomorrow on qualifing and the final race tomorrow afternoon.


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