Tuesday, July 14, 2009

PIR Defending Champion - Hershel McGriff

Hershel McGriff and z. Smith (NRM)Hershel McGriff and z. Smith (NRM)

The last time the NASCAR Camping World Series West raced in Portland was 1986 when Hershel McGriff, then fifty-nine years of age, took the championship and Chad Little was named rookie of the year. Portland International Raceway is a 1.967 mile road course that features twelve turns on an asphalt/concrete surface. There is only a five foot elevation change throughout the track. Portland International Raceway is one of three road course races this season. The other two are Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA and Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT.

McGriff, retired twice from NASCAR racing. He retired once in 1954; then came back in the mid-1960s. In 2002, Mr. McGriff retired again. The eighty-one-year-old racer planned on racing at all three road courses.

The only problem was that one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers and multiple halls of fame — including the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame — was unable to qualify for the Sonoma race and did not get a provisional into the race.

"We should be in good shape here {Portland International Raceway}," said McGriff from his motor home where he was camping Wednesday {July 8th} . "I hadn't driven in seven years. I never dreamed I wouldn't make the program (at Sonoma). They wouldn't give me the provisional.”

Hershel McGriff is the PIR Defending Champion. For the record, McGriff won the series' only other stop at P.I.R.; that race coming in 1986.

Like my son, Moses Smith, McGriff lives in Arizona. McGriff was voted Most Popular Driver twelve times over his long NASCAR career. This honor has been awarded in the west series since 1965. Hershel McGriff receive the MPD Award in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1992. Moses was the recipient of the prestigious award last year.

Resource: Bill Poehler’s article “Legendary McGriff back in the car racing at 81”


Crys said...

Great photo and awesome blog! Sorry we didn't get the chance to meet up at PIR, would have loved it. Hershel and Moses are my drivers! Go boys go!! ;-)

NASCAR Race Mom said...

Thanks, Maybe we could get together at Utah. Are you going to that race?