Tucson, Arizona (Cold News 13) – Hershel McGrave has had a long and decorated career in NASCAR history. McGrave lives in southern Arizona, is 94 and will be inducted into NASCAR Hall in 2023.
McGriff has the longest running career in NASCAR history beginning in the 1950 Southern 500.
“My NASCAR affiliation started coming back before all this guy got past me. I’m the longest-running NASCAR driver in the world and I can say that and now laugh,” McGrave explained.
From the start, McGrave has always loved cars. He bought his first race for $130 at the age of 13, ran his first at 17 and at 22 he raced from border to border across Mexico.
“Of course, I went to the Panamerican Road Race. I won that in 1950. There I met Bill France, and he invited me back to Darlington,” McGrave said.
After NASCAR founder Bill France convinced him to race the first 500 South at Darlington Speedway, he took off and started ninth and as his career grew. Some would say it is an old building. He made racing history and advertising for NASCAR in its early years. France and McGrave often took plane trips from Darlington to Daytona with the McGrave family staying.
“This particular time he flew over the plane and said, ‘This is where I’m going to build the new Daytona Speedway. It was a swamp so today there is a lake in the middle where they drained everything.’”
Daytona Speedway McGriff got the original design before it was even built, and as the years went by his racing record.
“The Marilyn Monroe thing if you notice when you come at the point during the race, they have a prominent pole and usually have your car number on it. Instead of my car number, we hung Marilyn at the end of the pole, so I know where to stop.”
That popular trick that made him a favorite of the masses. Over the years, fans have been sending him gifts and souvenirs of the famous star.
In 1994, McGrave was surprised to receive a NASCAR Excellence Award. Soon after he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Now, at the age of 94, NASCAR Hall Fame.
“I’ve been nominated for about six or seven years, and I’m starting to think, ‘I’d like to get this award while I’m still on the move. I check my script, I read it. There it was, Bill Martin of the Hall of Fame..sorry I was just impressed.'”
McGriff’s last race was at Tucson Speedway back in 2018, at the age of 90. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in January next year.
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