Hershel McGriff to be Grand Marshall of Summer Showdown
Evergreen Speedway announced that NASCAR Legend, Hershel McGriff will be the Grand Marshall of the $100,000.00 Summer Showdown for Super Late Model Stock Cars on June 27 & 28. The Summer Showdown is the richest purse for Super Late Models in the 60 year history of Evergreen Speedway and the Northwest.
The $20,000.00 to win and $1,000.00 to start the 200-lap on the BIG 5/8-mile oval is drawing cars from all over the world. Drivers from NASCAR’s Canadian Tire Series, Mexico Series, Euro Series, K&N Pro Series East & West and Whelen All American Series. Over 50 drivers have committed and the list grows daily for this unbelievable purse on NASCAR’s largest weekly track west of the Mississippi. The third annual Summer Showdown starts on Friday June 27 with qualifying for the Heat Races (25-laps) for Summer Showdown Super Late Models plus main events for both the Street Stocks and Mini-Stocks on the 5/8-mile. Followed by the qualifying heat races for the Summer Showdown 200. On Saturday June 28 the Last Chance Qualifier (40-laps) for Summer Showdown cars that did not get into the 32-car Summer Showdown via the Friday qualifying heat races.
Plus the traveling Pro 4 Alliance Late Models on the 5/8-mile.
There is special limited time pricing on the reserved seating in the two center sections of the main grandstand with seat backs at only $40 for both days. Go to www.evergreenspeedway.com to get your reserved seats while they last.
McGriff has raced at Evergreen Speedway many times throughout his illustrious career, including the former Motorcraft 500’s and early days of the Northwest Tour. McGriff’s home track was the former Portland Speedway and many considered Evergreen as his second home track. It is rumored that McGriff will soon be inducted into NASCAR’s Hall of Fame.
McGriff will be available for autographs throughout the two day extravaganza. McGriff began racing stock cars in 1945 after racing resumed in the U.S. following World War II. At the age of 17, he raced at the Portland Speedway where he finished 12th or 13th in a 250-lapper on a muddy, 5/8-mile track in his minister father’s 1940 Hudson while his father prayed under the bleachers. At age 84, he is NASCAR’s oldest active competitor and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West’s oldest and winningest active competitor, with 31 victories. McGriff won the inaugural Mexican Carrera Pan Americana road race in 1950, outrunning 131 other cars including NASCAR founder Bill France, Curtis Turner and other NASCAR drivers.
France convinced McGriff to come south and race in the first Southern 500 race at Darlington Raceway. McGriff drove his car from Portland, OR to Darlington, SC, finished ninth in the Southern 500 and drove back to Portland the following week. In 1954, although the season was partially over, France convinced McGriff to run the balance of the Grand National Series. He ended the season with four wins, 17 top-10 finishes in 24 events, and finished sixth in the final points standings despite missing the first 10 races that season. McGriff’s average finishing position was higher than points champion Lee Petty. That same season, McGriff won a race during NASCAR’s first season of what is now referred to as the K&N Pro Series West. It was then known as the Pacific Coast Late Model Series.
In 1955, McGriff was offered a ride in NASCAR to race for millionaire Carl Kiekhaefer’s newly formed team. Deciding not to race, McGriff returned home to the West Coast to be closer to his family, and to tend to his growing lumber mill business. Tim Flock drove Kiekhaefer’s Chrysler 300 to 18 victories that season and the season championship. McGriff returned to racing after not racing for around 10 years. He started 41st at Riverside in 1969, and moved up to second place by lap six. He beat Ron Grable in a photo finish that day. During the 1970’s, McGriff drove for Petty Enterprises, swapping positions with the likes of Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, A.J. Foyt, and Johnny Rutherford. He has competed in the SCCA Trans-Am Series and finished 19th in the 1982 Endurance Le Mans race, but the majority of his seat time has been in a NASCAR stock car.
In 1986, McGriff won the Winston West Series (now known as the K&N Pro Series West) championship. He became the oldest driver to win a NASCAR feature race when he won an AutoZone West Series race in 1989 at the age of 61. His 14 wins at the defunct Riverside International Raceway is the most at NASCAR-sanctioned events, and he was chosen as the grand marshal for the final race at the track in 1988. In November 1996, McGriff made the trip with several NASCAR champions, Sprint Cup, Nationwide Grand National and Camping World Truck Series drivers to Japan’s Suzuka Raceway for an exhibition race known as the NASCAR Suzuka Thunder Special. During NASCAR’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1998, McGriff was elected one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers. A plaque with many of McGriff’s career stats is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. McGriff has been inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame, Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, Most Popular Driver 12 years running.
McGriff was also honored as one of the top 50 drivers to ever race at Evergreen Speedway during their 50th Anniversary year. For more information go to www.evergreenspeedway.com or call 360-805-6100. Drivers and teams will get the opportunity for two days of Free RV/Camping or discounted Motel/Hotel rooms by calling the Speedway office at 360-805-6100, while the supply lasts. Drivers also save on registration fees by registering early via the speedway’s web site. Evergreen Speedway is located in Monroe, WA at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.