Hershel McGriff speaks during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Charlotte Convention Center on January 20, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina

Hershel McGriff on the Prospect of Racing at 100: "It Is Gonna Get Serious"


September 16, 1945. This was the date of Hershel McGriff's first-ever race, coming just two weeks after the end of World War II. Five years after McGriff's dirt-track debut, he ran in the inaugural Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, and over the next 27 years, he ran 85 races in the NASCAR Cup Series. Now, it probably wouldn't off-base to suggest that someone with such distinctions would no longer be with us. But, at 95 years old, McGriff is still going strong.

In 2018, McGriff became the oldest driver to start a NASCAR-sanctioned race, when at the age of 90 years, 4 months, and 21 days, he ran in K&N West races at Tucson Speedway, driving the No. 04 Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing. The phrase "age is just a number" may seem cliche, but for McGriff, that actually seems to be the case.

On Friday, January 20, McGriff was officially inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, with his 2023 classmates including Matt Kenseth and Kirk Shelmerdine. During his induction speech at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, McGriff talked about the prospect of racing at 100. Hearing McGriff talk about it, the potential endeavor does appear to be more than just wishful thinking.

"Bill McAnally and Richard Childress both offered me a car for a race when I reached the magic number of 100," McGriff said. "I hope they both stay healthy."


WATCH: Hershel McGriff's NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Speech

McGriff still keeps impressively active these days. Motorcycle riding is still part of his regimen, and he claims to put up hundreds of miles on his three-wheeled bike on a weekly basis.

"That's just in me. I've just gotta keep doing something," McGriff said. "I still ride a bike all the time, and I've gotta keep busy. I was just born that way, while the rest of my family kind of went slow -- they were school teachers."

Just last May, McGriff participated in the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, which is actually when he discovered that he would be getting inducted into the Hall of Fame.


"It was like he was 20. I mean, you could just see it in his eyes. It was like Christmas morning for a 5-year-old," Kyle Petty said. "I mean, it's something that he wanted people to understand what he had done and what he had been a part of. When you look at the sport, the first race is in '49. You think about (NASCAR's) 75th year, and the first race is '49. He was there in '50. So you look at it that way."

As for McGriff's future plans to step back inside a race car, the Bridal Veil, Oregon native seems to be doing what he can to make that dream a reality.

"Well, it's kind of a joke, but it is gonna get serious," McGriff said. "I'm not worried about me making it to 100. I'm pretty sure I will. I only have five years to go, and I'll be back in it. I'll have to get in shape a little bit more."

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