By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Age is just another number to NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominee Hershel McGriff. He will compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West double-header at Tucson Speedway in Arizona on May 5. McGriff was also recognized as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
McGriff will once again drive the No. 04 he has piloted throughout much of his storied career that began in in 1950. The No. 04 he will drive at Tucson will carry the colors of the South Point Hotel & Casino and will be a Toyota Camry fielded by Bill McAnally Racing.
“Who would turn down a free ride in a K&N car built by Bill McAnally Racing?” McGriff asked. “Bill said to pick out a track anywhere on the West Coast that has a K&N race and that’s where we’ll race. Tucson’s my home. So, we decided on Tucson, although I haven’t run here that much. It’s going to be fun. I hope I do well, for his sake. I think I can.”
Bill McAnally Racing has been competing in the series for 27 years. In those years, the team has scored over 80 victories and eight championships. Brendan Gaughan, Todd Gilliland, Eric Holmes, Sean Woodside, and Chris Eggleston have each earned Championships for McAnally. This year, the team has Derek Kraus, Hailie Deegan, and Cole Rouse competing full-time.
“I saw the Kern race,” McGriff said. “I watched his (McAnally’s) cars run first, third and seventh. They handled pretty good the whole race. Some of the other cars were starting to slow up a little bit after 70 or 80 laps. Their cars stayed with it. Hopefully, mine will be the same. So, it’ll be up to me to turn the wheel in the right direction. But I’ll be okay. When I get my helmet on, they won’t know who’s in there. They won’t know whether I’m 90 or 22. They’ll be wondering who was in the car by the end of the race.”
“I was extremely privileged to be associated with one of the 50 Greatest Drivers In NASCAR, when Hershel drove for us in 2001,” team owner Bill McAnally said. “It’s great to have him back, as he returns to the series for this event.”
The last time McGriff competed in the series in 2012 at Sonoma Raceway. He started 25thand finished 18th, three laps down. McGriff last competed full-time in 2001, earning one top-five, five top-10s, and finished 13thin the Championship Standings.
McGriff competed in two races in the inaugural season of what is now known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, winning at Bay Meadows Speedway. In 266 career K&N Pro Series West races, he won 35 times and earned 98 top fives, 144 top-10s, and 37 pole positions. McGriff won the 1986 Championship at the age of 58.
While most of his success has come in the K&N West tour, McGriff has also competed in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In 87 races, he earned four victories, 17 top-fives, 31 top-10s, and five pole positions. He finished sixth in the 1954 Championship Points Standings despite competing in 24 of the 37 races.
Now McGriff will prepare to make history and put his name in the record books once again as one of the oldest competitors in NASCAR history.