Born: December 14, 1927
Bridal Veil (Portland), Oregon
Children: Doug, Marilyn, Debra, Hershel Jr., Gina
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.
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.
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.
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
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"
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.
he won the Oregon Auto Racing Championship.
In 1970, he won the Oregon
Auto Racing Championship again by winning 23 of 33 races.
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.
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
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
Gary Smith’s #04 Matson Graphics Buick suffering transmission failures
in both events. McGriff returned to the Winston Cup Series in
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
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, 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
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
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.''
- 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
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
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
The other was a Ford Torino
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
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
Hershel McGriff in Sacramento
Awards . . . .
Hershel McGriff Grand National / Winston Cup Statistics