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Hershel McGriff
Born: December 14, 1927
Home: Bridal Veil (Portland), Oregon
Children: Doug, Marilyn, Debra, Hershel Jr., Gina

NASCAR Career: 1950-54, 1971-78, 1980-93

Born December 14, 1927 in Bridal Veil, Oregon, Hershel McGriff launched his stock car racing career in September of 1945 at the dirt Portland Speedway finishing 13th in his family’s sedan.

TIMELINE:

In 1950, McGriff won the Pan American Road Race in Mexico in a 1950 Oldsmobile 88, with an average speed of 79.2 mph over 27 hours, 34 minutes, and 25 seconds. His payoff was more than $17,000. The same year McGriff made his NASCAR debut campaigning his #52 City of Roses Oldsmobile in the inaugural Southern 500 at Darlington where he finished 9th.

McGriff made 3 starts in the 1951 NASCAR Grand National Division season driving his own Oldsmobile. He placed 11th at Detroit and 4th in the Southern 500 at Darlington.

In 1952, He drove Beryl Jackson’s #3 Oldsmobile in 2 NASCAR Grand National events finishing 7th at Detroit and 15th at Niagara Falls. In 1953, McGriff entered his own #5 in 2 events.

In 1954, McGriff won a feature event in the inaugural year of the NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model series, which would later be renamed the NASCAR Winston West Series. McGriff drove Beryl Jackson’s Oldsmobile in 2 Grand National events setting the pole at Oakland Stadium in Oakland, California. He then made 22 starts driving Frank Christian's #14 Oldsmobile winning 4 events including back-to-back wins at Macon, Georgia and at Southern States Fairgrounds at Charlotte, North Carolina finishing 6th in the championship points.

Standing beside his No. 14 (Frank Christian owned) Riverside Farms Dahlonega, Georgia 1954 Oldsmobile. This old photo was found several years ago in a closed local NASCAR office. This rare photo was taken by the famous race photographer T. Taylor Warren, who was the official "Chief Photographer" for NASCAR.

 

 

 

McGriff did not return to the NASCAR’s elite division in 1955. He continued to race locally and to compete in what is now known as the NASCAR Winston West Series.

In 1969, he won the Oregon Auto Racing Championship.

In 1970, he won the Oregon Auto Racing Championship again by winning 23 of 33 races.

In 1971, McGriff reappeared in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series driving Beryl Jackson’s #04 Plymouth in 2 events and Robert Koehler’s #41 Plymouth at Ontario but was plagued with 2 DNF’s in 3 starts.

In 1972, McGriff campaigned Beryl Jackson’s #04 Plymouth in 4 Winston Cup Series events scoring 5th places finishes at Riverside, California and at College Station, Texas. He added a 6th place finish at Ontario, California to log 4 starts, 2 top-5s and 3 top-10s.

In 1973, McGriff finished 5th in the Daytona 500 and 7th at Riverside driving Jackson’s #04 The Cousins Plymouth. In 1974, McGriff made 4 starts driving the Petty Enterprises’ #04 Almost Heaven, West Virginia Dodge and 1 start driving Dick Midgley’s #26W Chevrolet.

For 1975, McGriff drove Dick Midgley’s #29 Mercury Marine Chevrolet, Ken Friez #69 Friez Enterprises Chevrolet, and Ferrell Harris’ #82 Dan Walters Forever Dodge making 5 starts recording 1 top-10.

For 1976, McGriff returned to Winston Cup competition campaigning his own Chevrolets  entering the race at Riverside and at Ontario.

In 1977, he entered only the 2 events at Riverside. In 1978, He recorded a 6th place finish in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season opener, the Winston Western 500 at Riverside driving George Jefferson’s #95 Ford. He returned for the second event at Riverside driving his own #48 Chevrolet finishing 17th.

1979-1986: McGriff was absent from Winston Cup Series competition in 1979, but returned in 1980 entering the 2 Riverside events and the one event at Ontario, California. McGriff competed in the 3 Winston Cup events at Riverside in 1981 driving Gerald Craker’s #01 Dodge and Buick recording DNF’s in all 3 starts. McGriff returned for the 2 Riverside events in 1982 driving Gary Smith’s #04 Matson Graphics Buick suffering transmission failures in both events. McGriff returned to the Winston Cup Series in 1983 with Smith’s #04 Buick for the 2 Riverside events scoring an 8th place finish in the final event of the Winston Cup Series schedule. In 1984, he entered both Riverside events finishing 9th in the final event of the year. In 1985, 1986, and 1987, McGriff again made both Riverside events. In 1986, McGriff won the NASCAR Winston West Series Championship.

1988-1993: In 1988, McGriff campaigned his own #04 U. S. Banks Pontiac in 2 Winston Cup Series events. In 1989 and 1990, McGriff entered only the NASCAR Winston Cup Series road course event at Sears Point. In 1991, McGriff competed at Sears Point and Phoenix driving Bob Lipseia’s #04 U. S. Bank Pontiac. In 1992 and 1993, he entered the road course event at Sears Point.

In 2002, At the age of 74, McGriff announced his retirement from racing, ``Well, I just retired,'' McGriff said. ``If I cannot keep up, be near the front, have fun and be comfortable, which is how it has been, than I think the time has come. I kept losing the guys and saw the pack coming. That is when I decided (to retire). I wrecked in Las Vegas two weeks ago, so I don't want to do that again. I will keep busy with other work and things will not change that much for me.''

Career Accomplishments:

  • 1969 Oregon Auto Racing Championship
  • 1970 Oregon Auto Racing Championship
  • 1986 NASCAR Winston West Series Championship
  • NASCAR Winston West Series 236 starts, 34 wins, 96 top-5s, and 145 top-10s
  • NASCAR Winston Cup Series 85 starts, 5 poles, 4 wins, 17 top-5s, and 31 top-10s

MORE  . . .

McGriff won a race in the initial year of the series with NASCAR competition in a racing career spans four decades. He won the 1950 Mexican Road Race. When it was known as the Pacific Coast Late Model series in 1954, McGriff made the most of his opportunity to drive car owner Frank Christian's Oldsmobile and finished sixth in the NASCAR Grand National points series despite missing the first 10 races of the year. McGriff won four of the last nine races in 1954, including back-to-back wins at Macon, Ga., and Charlotte, N.C., to account for all his career wins.  He competed in the first Southern 500 at Darlington International Raceway. He accumulated the most wins (14) at the old Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway.

From the rough-and-tumble 1950s to the finely tuned 90's, McGriff accumulated 35 victories, and he is Winston West's winningest active competitor.  He has competed in a stock car at LeMans, France, in Australia and in Japan. He won the 1986 NASCAR Winston West Series Championship. He tops the list of pole awards in Winston West Series poles (35). Hershel McGriff Taking a Lap in the No. 4 Olympia Beer sponsored Chevy Nova


Hershel McGriff standing with his son Doug and the Dodge Charger at
Bridal Veil, Oregon overlooking the Columbia river.


One of two Stock Cars at Lemans 24 Hour race.
The other was a Ford Torino   What Year?


Lemans in 1982


Thanks to Bud Bussiere, we're able to feature this shot of Hershel McGriff at Langley Speedway in Canada. Hershel raced there with a 1970 Roadrunner that he bought of the Petty stable in late 1970. It was the same type of Roadrunner as the famous beaked and winged #40 Plymouth in which Pete Hamilton won the Daytona 500 that year.


Here is another great 1971 action shot from Langley, where Hershel managed to stay out of trouble and later win the race!


In 1982 The car had the 01 painted on it Hershel McGriff drove it last at Riverside.


Hershel McGriff and Johnny Soares (98) coming off the high-wall at Oakland during 7/52 race. Note how the right side sheet metal gets scraped from running up against the lip of the banked turn. Soares won the 300-lap race. McGriff finished 5th, nine laps back.


Hershel McGriff in Sacramento

Awards . . . .

Hershel McGriff Grand National / Winston Cup Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn Miles
1950 22 1 of 19 0 0 1 0 374 0 500   44.0 9.0 467.5
1951 23 3 of 41 0 1 1 0 463 1 1,235   14.7 23.0 560.5
1952 24 2 of 34 0 0 1 0 283 0 325   26.0 11.0 260.5
1953 25 2 of 37 0 0 0 0 274 101 125 51 6.0 16.5 274.0
1954 26 24 of 37 4 13 17 5 3891 122 12,999 6 3.0 9.2 2743.4
1971 43 3 of 48 0 0 0 0 397 4 3,860   9.0 20.3 1020.6
1972 44 4 of 31 0 2 3 0 727 3 12,290 45 6.5 7.0 1727.8
1973 45 3 of 28 0 1 2 0 426 0 8,690 51 5.0 11.7 1092.7
1974 46 5 of 30 0 0 1 0 559 0 8,585 50 12.2 25.6 1198.3
1975 47 5 of 30 0 0 1 0 652 4 7,995 70 24.0 20.2 1353.5
1976 48 2 of 30 0 0 0 0 179 0 1,655 102 20.5 31.0 456.0
1977 49 2 of 30 0 0 1 0 120 0 3,240 67 25.0 20.5 314.4
1978 50 2 of 30 0 0 1 0 208 0 4,490 84 20.0 11.5 545.0
1980 52 3 of 31 0 0 0 0 307 0 3,280 59 16.0 24.3 785.4
1981 53 3 of 31 0 0 0 0 80 1 2,170 66 17.0 32.0 209.6
1982 54 2 of 30 0 0 0 0 115 0 1,545 73 14.0 30.5 301.3
1983 55 2 of 30 0 0 1 0 191 0 5,650 53 20.0 17.0 500.4
1984 56 2 of 30 0 0 1 0 149 1 3,815 67 14.5 22.0 390.4
1985 57 2 of 28 0 0 0 0 178 0 2,835 66 15.5 27.5 466.4
1986 58 2 of 29 0 0 0 0 170 0 4,080 77 21.5 27.0 445.4
1987 59 2 of 29 0 0 0 0 101 0 7,530 67 25.0 27.0 264.6
1988 60 3 of 29 0 0 0 0 316 0 5,960 53 30.7 31.7 524.3
1989 61 1 of 29 0 0 0 0 74 0 5,075 65 31.0 14.0 186.5
1990 62 1 of 29 0 0 0 0 2 0 3,225 105 25.0 44.0 5.0
1991 63 2 of 29 0 0 0 0 361 0 7,475 60 32.5 29.5 453.7
1992 64 1 of 29 0 0 0 0 19 0 4,725 97 35.0 42.0 47.9
1993 65 1 of 30 0 0 0 0 27 0 6,560 95 42.0 43.0 68.0
27 years 85 4 17 31 5 10643 237 129,914   16.9 18.8

16663.1


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