The ageless wonder is back! People talk about the “ageless Red Farmer” as a tireless and ageless race car driver, well here comes Hershal McGriff again. Hershel McGriff, 81 years old, is stepping out of retirement to race this weekend at The Camping World West Series Bennett Winery 200 at Infineon Raceway. McGriff’s career predates the origins of NASCAR, founded in 1948. He has raced in seven decades dating back to his first race at age 17.
McGriff stepped out his race car during a race at the California Speedway in 2002. This reporter was present at that race and, in fact,and was monitoring his race team radio communications. Hershel radioed his crew chief that he was quitting the race. “I can’t drive this car any faster and I don’t want to drive it any slower”, he said.
It is fitting that McGriff comes out of retirement for the Infineon race. He holds the record for poles, 3, and won races there in 1983, ’85, ’87, as well as 1989. In McGriff’s heyday he was known for his road race prowess, his mental toughness, and focus on the race track.
Hershel McGriff was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in its inaugural year of 2003. Additionally, he was selected as one of the greatest 50 racers of NASCAR in 1998.
It will be exciting to see Hershel McGriff in a hemet and fire suit this Saturday at Infineon Raceway. Who knows history could be made and have an 81 year old winner!