Ninety-year-old Hershel McGriff likely became the oldest driver ever to compete in a NASCAR-sanctioned race when he started the first half of the Port of Tucson Twin 100 at Tuscon Speedway on Saturday night.
The Green Valley, Ariz., resident raced until the end, taking the checkered flag in the K&N Pro Series West event six laps behind the winner. He finished in last place among 18 drivers in front of a packed house at the .375-mile-long oval, but achieved a personal victory.
Bill McAnally Racing reached out to McGriff with the opportunity to drive one if its cars after hearing that he wanted to give racing a shot again when he turned 90. After passing a medical exam with flying colors, NASCAR gave the veteran driver the OK to get behind the wheel. He even kicked off the night of racing at the track by playing the national anthem on his trombone.
McGriff is a stock car racing legend and nominee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year. He competed in 87 NASCAR Cup races between 1950 and 1994, winning four, and was named one of the series’ 50 greatest drivers of all time.
NASCAR can’t entirely confirm McGriff is the oldest driver, as it doesn’t have age records for every single race it has sanctioned, but there aren’t any known competing claims and a spokesperson said "his is definitely a unique and rare occurrence."
While he currently has no plans to race again, he told Fox News prior to the event that “there’s still a few things I need to do yet…I figure I got another 10 years to go.”
“I’ll get a lot done in the next 10 years.”