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As Earth Day approaches this weekend, NASCAR along with select Official Partners and the Arbor Day Foundation today announced a new initiative that will be responsible for planting and distributing trees to communities devastated by natural disasters across the United States.

“Over the past decade we have focused on supporting environmental sustainability through the NASCAR Green platform. We look forward to continuing our year-round mission to reduce impact, offset and work to preserve the natural environment while inspiring fans to do the same,” said Lou Garate, Vice President, Partnership Marketing, NASCAR. “This new initiative with the Arbor Day Foundation, supported and enhanced by our Official Partners, is a direct reflection of the effort being made across the industry to be more sustainable.”

As part of the effort, NASCAR and the Arbor Day Foundation will host a series of community tree recovery events throughout the year. Events are scheduled to take place throughout the summer and fall in key race markets affected by natural disasters, including North Carolina, California, Texas, and Florida. NASCAR Official Partners are contributing time, people and resources throughout the initiative. Partners currently participating are: AMR, Flagship Solutions Group, Growth Energy, Hotels for Hope, K&N Engineering, Mechanix Wear, and Safety-Kleen.

“We are proud to partner with NASCAR and its Official Partners to help bring trees to communities that need them so desperately,” said Dan Lambe, President, the Arbor Day Foundation. “NASCAR Green has helped so many communities across the country since its inception and will continue to do so this year with these events.”

NASCAR has taken a holistic approach across its wide-ranging effort to help preserve the environment. Since 2008, NASCAR has been collaborating with key stakeholders that care deeply about sustainability, including its teams, tracks, partners, employees and fans. Long-term programs underway include:

  • Blended bio-fuels program across NASCAR’s three national series, through partnerships with Sunoco and American Ethanol
  • In-venue waste diversion – along with its track partners, Safety-Kleen and Liberty Tire Recycling, the sport recycles aluminum and PET, racing oils and fluids, corrugated cardboard, and racing tires
  • Investment in reforestation and biodiversity projects measuring and offsetting annual employee commercial air travel and Official Partner commercial air travel to quarterly non-racing NASCAR events
  • Elgin Sweepers are present at each NASCAR race event to support NASCAR’s Air Titan equipment to dry racetracks with their EcoInfused Technology reducing environmental impact
  • Traditional and digital tree planting program, found on the NASCAR Green website, supporting areas of needed reforestation year-round and surpassing over half a million trees planted to date working to offset all NASCAR series racing globally

For more information on NASCAR’s overall environmental sustainability efforts, visit www.NASCAR.com/green and follow NASCAR Green on Twitter, @NASCARGreen.

NASCAR PR

Why is much of grassroots racing struggling? That is a question often asked and being addressed by Attorney Michael K. Spotts in the just released latest edition of Ernie Saxton’s Motorsports Sponsorship Marketing News.

Spotts offered his thoughts on the situation and ideas on correcting the grassroots problems. He calls on Major League Racing to help Grassroots racing and an improved Grassroots will be a big help in attracting fans, media support and sponsorship for tracks, organizations and racers.

Kristin Swartzlander offers “A Mile Wide and An Inch Deep” an article that just may change the way we go after sponsorship. The question is, is having more sponsors better? Swartzlander addresses that question.

“How do Fans show Support for Their Favorite Team” by Marcie Barlow offers some interesting ideas on how that helps sponsorship and Mickie Kennedy gives readers tips on how to write better press release leads. You are sending out press releases aren’t you?

NASCAR Cup and Formula 1 owner Gene Haas offers his thoughts on motorsports and business in an article penned by Herb Anastor.

In addition there are a number of sponsorship news updates in Volume 34, Issue 2 of the newsletter that has helped so many major leaguers and grassroots racers with their sponsorship efforts.

A one year subscription to the newsletter is being offered for $29.95 which is a $10 discount off the regular price. And for those taking advantage of this special offer Saxton will include his popular article of sponsorship helps titled “Hodgepodge of Sponsorship Helps”.

To subscribe telephone 215.752.7797 and have your VISA or MasterCard ready. Or you can mail a check to ESC, Inc. 1448 Hollywood Avenue, Langhorne, PA 19047. And for just $50.00 you can get a two year subscription.

There is a great deal of sponsorship information available at www.saxtonsponsormarket.com.

Ernie Saxton, a veteran of more than 45 years in sponsorship, marketing and public relations in motorsports, is available to answer questions about sponsorship and help with your sponsorship marketing efforts.

Saxton Marketing PR

The 2018 ELITE Club - Regularity Challenge kicked off last Friday in Valencia at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo with the first round of the ELITE CLUB Division. It was Advait Deodhar (#33 Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) to come out the winner in his NWES debut. 

ELITE CLUB - REGULARITY CHALLENGE RESULTS

The Indian driver was the most consistent around the 4 kilometers of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo with a total penalty time of 4.072 seconds across the two timed sessions. 

“That was pretty awesome and I am really happy”, said Deodhar on the podium in Spain. “I didn't even know what to expect because we sorted everything out in the last minutes. To start with a win is like a dream and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I had a really good time.”

Deodhar beat Brazilian veteran Marcelo Silva (#46 Racing Total Chevrolet SS), who accumulated 4.920 seconds of penalty time and clocked the best run of the weekend on Friday with an almost perfect 0.880 penalty time.

“The team and the car were great. I tested the track on a simulation. To win in my first ever European event is exciting,” continued Deodhar. “I really enjoyed driving it. It’s really fun. I am really impressed.” 

Third place went to Dexwet DF1 Racing’s Clemens Sparowitz, ahead of Belgian driver Francois Jerome and defending ELITE Club Champion Andrea Kuchelbacher (#2 Alex Caffi Motorsports Toyota Camry). Simone Laureti (#9 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang) and Jennifer Maas (#10 Racing Total Chevrolet SS) both ran only one session and finished respectively sixth and seventh.

The next ELITE CLUB - Regularity Challenge race will be held on May 17-18 at the Autodromo di Franciacorta in Brescia, Italy and will serve as prelude for Round 3 and 4 of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season. 

NASCAR Euro Series PR

The youth movement throughout professional motorsports is alive and well in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

On Sunday, top teenage driver prospects, Christian Eckes and Chandler Smith, take to the track in ARCA’s running of the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at famed Salem Speedway.

Despite their ages, Smith, 15, and Eckes, 17, posse notable talent, maturity beyond their years and the threat to win every time they strap into the driver’s seat. Racing for Venturini Motorsports (VMS), both drivers are part of Toyota Racing’s prestigious TD2 program.

At 17-years old Christian Eckes, the high school honor student, is entering his third partial season racing with VMS in the ARCA series. Eckes, driver of the No.15 JBL Audio Toyota, has made two previous starts at Salem Speedway – his best track performance came in last year’s spring race after leading 91-laps and finishing eighth.

“After a really unsatisfying showing in Nashville (finished 8th), I’m ready to get back on track and deliver the results I’m capable of achieving behind the wheel,” said Eckes. “Our JBL Toyota showed a lot of speed during last week’s test. This is one of my favorite places on tour – I’m expecting solid results this weekend. Kevin (Reed) and the guys on this fifteen-team have put together a great car for this week.”

With an eye on making it to the top levels of NASCAR, Eckes, the 2016 Snowball Derby winner, has made a total of fifteen starts during his current series stay. Knocking on the door of claiming his first series victory, Eckes has two runner-up finishes to go along with four top-5 and 11 top-10 finishes. His 274-laps led in 2017 was a team high among all VMS drivers.

Fifteen-year old standout and series newcomer Chandler Smith made a dramatic entrance in his first career ARCA start winning the General Tire Pole Award (track record) and finishing fifth two weeks ago at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.

Riding momentum, Smith, a native of Talking Rock, Ga. will strap back into his VMS prepared No.20 Smith General Contracting Toyota looking for more in Sunday’s showdown in Salem.

“I think we’ve got a great shot this weekend,” said the high school sophomore. “VMS unloaded a really sporty Toyota Camry at last week’s test. We had a lot of success and kept our speed even on the long runs.”

“This will be my first start at Salem but I feel like I adapted quickly to the new track. It reminds me a lot of Winchester Speedway. The biggest difference in the two tracks is probably turn one – it’s harsher than Winchester and you can’t carry the same speed through the corners.

Besides that, it really fits my driving style well. I’m definitely looking forward to going back and teaming up with Billy Venturini and the VMS team.”

Making his super late model debut at the age of 12, the now high school sophomore is no stranger to the spotlight. Despite his age, Smith has been regularly making headlines as he successfully makes his rise up through the ranks of stock car racing.

After nearly winning last year at the Snowball Derby, All-American 400 and Winchester 400 the talented teen finally was able to break out earlier this year by capturing his first career super late model victory in the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS at Watermelon Capital Speedway. With a win at SpeedFest and two runner-up finishes at Greenville Pickens and Myrtle Beach, Smith is optimistic about continuing his streak at the next level.

The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 will spread out over two days, Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22. Practice is Saturday afternoon from 12 noon to 1:30 pm ET, with General Tire Pole Qualifying following at 4pm. Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 raceday festivities get underway Sunday morning with an on-track driver autograph session at 11:30am, followed by the Great American Stock feature event at 1pm. Pre-race ceremonies, ARCA driver introductions and the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 follow. The ARCA race is scheduled to get the green flag at 2:15pm Sunday afternoon.

VMS PR

Thad Moffitt will return to the ARCA Racing Series this weekend to make his debut at the Salem (Ind.) Speedway in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 this Sunday.  It will be Moffitt's second consecutive start in the ARCA Racing Series in 2018, and fifth overall.  He is coming off a 14th-place finish at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. 

Transportation Impact, a long time supporter of Moffitt, will serve as the primary partner this weekend.  The company is based in Emerald Isle, N.C. and specializes in achieving maximum supply chain reduction.  Transportation Impact has helped serve over 650 different companies in less than 10 years.    

The Transportation Impact No. 46 team tested last week at Salem, giving Moffitt some experience heading into Sunday's race.

"This is a pretty awesome track," said Moffitt. "It's really fast, high-banked and fun to drive. It's going to be a whole new experience when we start racing, but I'm pretty anxious to get to Sunday."

Moffitt will be making his fifth ARCA Racing Series start, with a best finish of 11th in Indianapolis.  During his last race in Nashville, Moffitt drove from the back of the field to finish 14th.  He returns to the ARCA Racing Series with the help of Transportation Impact, and with associate sponsors Performance Plus Motor Oil and Hostetler Ranch.

"I feel that our race program is gaining momentum," commented Moffitt.  "It really helps to be able to race consecutive races against good competition.  I can learn a lot more. We can't do it without the help of our sponsors. I really want to thank Transportation Impact for helping us out this weekend."

Moffitt, the 2016 Southeast Limited Late Model Champion from Trinity, North Carolina, is the son of Brian and Rebecca Petty-Moffitt. He started racing a go-kart and a quarter midget before moving to a Limited Late Model and now a Late Model on the ARCA Racing Series. A high school student, Moffitt grew up going to the track with his grandfather ("The King" Richard Petty) and also watching his uncle, Kyle Petty, race.

Sunday's race will be televised live on MAVTV.

RPM PR

After a mediocre start to the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season, Gus Dean (@gusdean) and his Win-Tron Racing head to Salem (Ind.) Speedway for Sunday’s Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 hoping for a super performance in their No. 32 GREE Cooling Products | Baker Distributing Chevrolet.
 
The rough, tough historic high banks of Salem’s oval have always been a favorite for the Bluffton, S.C. native and his Mooresville, N.C.-based team. Last year, Dean delivered his season-best runner-up finish in the spring and backed it up in the fall with a solid top-five performance. 
On the heels of a stout test session last week at the Southern Indiana short track, Dean eyes his second career ARCA win at one of the sport’s toughest tracks.
 
“I can’t wait to get back to Salem this weekend,” said Dean who sits 11th in the championship standings after two races.
 
“Salem. I can’t describe the place. It’s a track that suits my style and I absolutely love it. I wished we raced there five times a year.
 
“It’s a neat short track with a lot of rich history and one of the staples of the ARCA Racing Series. We need a good run on Sunday to give us some momentum heading to Talladega and the stretch ahead.”
 
Last Thursday, Dean tested at the 0.555-mile oval where his Win-Tron Racing team led by veteran crew chief Jamie Jones spent the day focusing on race runs, with a few qualifying attempts in-between with hopes of allowing the 23-year-old Dean to find his groove and the opportunity to score his first career ARCA pole.
 
“A pole would be cool,” noted Dean. “In ARCA, a pole comes with some points and that’s something we need right now. We’re working on the overall package at Win-Tron and honestly, I couldn’t be happier. The relationship I have with Jamie right now is strong.
 
“We’re communicating, we’re learning and we both listen. We had a lot to be proud of in 2017, but the bar has been raised for 2018 and I like the direction we’re going.
 
“Even though the results haven’t shown – we’ve had bad fast No. 32 GREE Cooling Products | Baker Distributing Chevrolets. At Daytona, we got caught up in an early crash, bounced back and competed for a top-five before got wiped out again. In Nashville, we had a car capable of winning but had a mechanical glitch. It happens.
 
“We’re going to Salem though and it’s our time.” 
Kevin Cywinski, team principal of Win-Tron Racing says the best of his No. 32 GREE Racing team is yet to come.
 
“I’m a proud owner,” he said. “Gus is in the shop a lot and the guys are working harder knowing that we have what it takes to not only contend for top-five finishes -- but win races.
 
“Salem has always historically been a track we’ve ran well at. We’ve won there. I sure would like to go back to Victory Lane with Gus on Sunday, it would be a great way to point our season (back) in the right direction.”
 
In 29 career ARCA Racing Series starts, Dean captured his first career victory in his second ever start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after starting a career-best second in Apr. 2016. Overall, Dean has eight top-five and 17 top-10 finishes.
 
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 (200 laps | 111 miles) is the third of 20 races on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Sat., Apr. 21 with an hour and a half practice session from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 4:00 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag on Sun., Apr. 22 shortly after 2:15 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (Eastern). 
 
For more on Gus Dean, please visit his all new website at GusDean.com or like him on Facebook.  Dean tweets too. Follow him on Twitter @GusDean.
 
For additional information on GREE Racing, please like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @GREE_Racing. 
 
Learn more at Win-TronRacing.com, Facebook or on Twitter @WinTronRacing.

Gus Dean PR

Rookie contender Natalie Decker will make her third start of the 2018 campaign and track debut when the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards returns to action in Sunday’s matinee running of the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 at Salem Speedway.

Decker, a fan favorite, started out the season winning the General Tire Pole Award and finishing fifth at Daytona and 11th at Nashville, expresses excitement and optimism headed into the weekend. Also to note, Decker’s Salem start will mark the energetic drivers’ 10th career ARCA appearance since jumping onto the scene last May at Toledo Speedway.

“I’m super excited to make my first start at Salem,” says Decker. “I came down with the team (Venturini Motorsports) last year after signing my deal to get acquainted with everyone and watch the Spring race. It didn’t take long for me to figure out why drivers like this place. It’s really racy with unique turns on both ends of the track – from a fan’s perspective it delivers a lot of excitement. I fell in love with this place right away.”

“We came down last week and had a really good test with our N29 Capital Partners Toyota. It’s definitely a tough track but we learned a lot and made some big gains throughout the day. Dave Leiner (crew chief) and I continue to work really well together and have a lot of confidence going back. As I visit these new tracks this year we’ll continue to work hard and set our goals. I grew up racing short tracks but there’s still a lot to learn in these ARCA cars. I’m happy with our start so far.”

Continuing her efforts to raise awareness about Distracted Driving, the 20-year old driver, will once again feature ‘People Against Distracted Driving’ (PADD) on the back of her bright red Toyota Camry at Salem.

Decker, the National Spokesperson for the New Jersey based charity, along with her sponsor N29 Capital Partners, will continue to push the message during the month of April (Distracted Driving Awareness Month) and throughout the season.

The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 is live on MAVTV at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22. Look for live timing, scoring and chat at arcaracing.com.

VMS PR

Ford made headlines this year when it officially returned to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series after a three-year hiatus.  Next year figures to be just as noteworthy when Ford Performance rolls out a new Mustang Funny Car body for NHRA competition.

Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, made the announcement today as part of a week-long Mustang birthday celebration.

What makes this new version of Mustang unique is that Ford Performance engineers and designers are utilizing many of the same technical tools and resources employed in the NASCAR and IMSA Ford GT programs to create a body that emphasizes aerodynamic efficiency.

“We’ll be applying all our advanced aerodynamic tools in the development of this new Mustang Funny Car,” said Rushbrook.  “These are the same tools and resources such as CFD, scale model and full-size wind tunnel testing that we have used to develop the Ford GT race car and are using to develop the new Mustang for NASCAR.  These are the exact same tools we use in our production car process, so it allows us to use racing development as a way to create better cars and trucks for our consumers.

“It has been quite a few years since we last did a Mustang Funny car body for competition, so we are very confident we will be bringing a competitive car to the track next year.”

This will mark the first new body for Mustang in Funny Car since 2009, reinforcing a commitment Ford made to the sport when it officially returned this season with driver Bob Tasca III.  And even though he has to wait 10 more months before getting to drive it in competition, Tasca is already fired up for what lies ahead.

“I’ve seen some of the early aero numbers and it’s absolutely incredible how slippery the car is going to be on the race track,” said Tasca, who has made it to the final round 11 times in his NHRA Funny Car career and posted four victories.  “When you’re trying to find hundredths and thousandths of a second on a race run, having an aerodynamic piece like the Ford Performance engineers are giving us will make all the difference in the world.”

Ford has a championship heritage in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, having won 238 overall events in Funny Car and 16 championships.

The new Mustang Funny Car is in the early stages of development, and after approval by the NHRA, will be shown to the public late this year.  It will make its competition debut at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., next February.

Ford Performance PR

On Armed Forces Day (Saturday, May 19), Toledo Speedway will honor all active and retired military personnel with free admission in conjunction with Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation, which was created to honor and assist veterans who have sacrificed for our country.
 
The May 19 on-track activities include practice and General Tire Pole Award qualifying for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, along with practice, qualifying and racing for the Toledo Speedway ARCA Aramark Sportsman racecars. The Menards 200 for the ARCA Racing Series runs at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 20.
 
Armed Forces Day is a federal holiday observed annually on the third Saturday of May. It is a day dedicated to paying tribute to men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces. Those who are honored on this day include people serving in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve. Armed Forces Day was first celebrated in 1950, at the direction of then-U.S. Secretary of Defense, Louis Johnson.
 
“I’m really glad ARCA is dedicating this event to our nation’s military members and I’m honored the Checkered Flag Foundation is involved,” said Keselowski. “A few of my family members have served, and giving back to those who make great sacrifices for our county is something that’s very important to me. Toledo Speedway is one of my favorite racetracks in the whole world, so it’s great that we can support the community together on this special day.”
 
Toledo Speedway will honor United States Armed Forces personnel with recognition during Saturday’s pre-race ceremonies, which will include a live performance of the National Anthem by US Navy veteran, and ARCA Racing Series team member, Jimmy Fallon. The Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard will have recruiters on site to help answer questions about service. 
 
In addition to free admission on May 19, military personnel who purchase a $25 race-day ticket for Sunday, May 20 will receive a $10 discount if the ticket is purchased on Saturday at the speedway. Finally, United States Armed Forces men and women in attendance will be exclusively eligible for merchandise courtesy of Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation.
 
For more information on racing at Toledo Speedway, please visit www.toledospeedway.com or call (419) 727-1100.
 
BKR PR

The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame has announced that Bryan R. Sperber has been announced as an inductee in the 2018 class of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

“I’m tremendously humbled to be inducted in the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.  This is such an amazing honor and I deeply thank the Hall of Fame Board for the truly incredible recognition,” said Sperber.

Throughout his 21 years as track president—16 at ISM Raceway—Sperber has overseen the growth of ISM Raceway into one of the premier motorsports venues in the country. Now the host of two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races and one Verizon IndyCar Series race, the track is undergoing a $178 million modernization project to create the ultimate venue for technology and fan experience. Sperber previously served as the president of Watkins Glen International.

Sperber is joined by the five members of the elected Class of 2018: Larry Albedi, Joe Garone, Oren Prosser, Greg Pursley and Dick Woodland.

“This class of inductees is among the greatest in the last decade and a half,” said Ken Clapp, chairman of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. “The board of directors couldn’t be happier with its vote. We’re extremely pleased to be able to honor the pioneers of our sport, figures whose accomplishments are unquestioned but which may not be well-known to media members and fans of the current era. They deserve to be honored for their achievements that brought us to where we are today.”

The Class of 2018 will be inducted June 21, 2018 at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. The event, presented by Gateway Motorsports Park, again accompanies the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway.

West Coast HOF PR

A racing career that began in 1945 will continue as legendary driver Hershel McGriff gets back behind the wheel of a stock car when the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West visits Arizona’s Tucson Speedway on May 5.

McGriff, who turned 90 in December, will drive the No. 04 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry prepared by Bill McAnally Racing.

It’s an opportunity he just couldn’t pass up.

“Who would turn down a free ride in a K&N car built by Bill McAnally Racing?” McGriff asked.

“Bill said to pick out a track anywhere on the West Coast that has a K&N race and that’s where we’ll race,” McGriff explained. “Tucson’s my home. So, we decided on Tucson, although I haven’t run here that much. It’s going to be fun. I hope I do well, for his sake. I think I can.”

McGriff, who in his last full season of series competition teamed with Bill McAnally in 2001, talked about the performance of the BMR cars in this year’s K&N West season opener at Kern County Raceway Park near Bakersfield, California.

“I saw the Kern race,” he said. “I watched his cars run first, third and seventh. They handled pretty good the whole race. Some of the other cars were starting to slow up a little bit after 70 or 80 laps. Their cars stayed with it.

“Hopefully, mine will be the same. So it’ll be up to me to turn the wheel in the right direction,” McGriff said with a chuckle. “But I’ll be okay. When I get my helmet on, they won’t know who’s in there. They won’t know whether I’m 90 or 22. They’ll be wondering who was in the car by the end of the race.”

McGriff – who holds numerous K&N West records – has accumulated 35 wins, 37 poles, 98 top fives, 144 top 10s, in 266 races on the circuit during a career that dates back to the first year of the series in 1954. He holds the mark as the oldest winner in the series, with his last victory coming at the age of 61. His last series start was on the road course of Sonoma (California) Raceway in 2012 at the age of 84.

McAnally says he is looking forward to teaming up, again, with the NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee.

“I was extremely privileged to be associated with one of the 50 Greatest Drivers In NASCAR, when Hershel drove for us in 2001,” McAnally said. “It’s great to have him back, as he returns to the series for this event.

“We appreciate Michael Gaughan and the South Point Hotel & Casino coming on board to be a part of this,” McAnally said. “Michael and I were partners in 2001; when his son, Brendan, and Hershel were teammates. We had some great times and a lot of success that year, and it will be great to get together again.”

McGriff’s return to competition at Tucson will involve some members of his family who are well known in the racing industry. Pitching in to help on the car will be his son, Hershel McGriff Jr.; his son-in-law, Tex Powell; and another son-in-law, Chuck Bown.

The Tucson event will be a busy night for the family – with McGriff’s granddaughter, Mariah McGriff, competing in a Super Late Model division race and Hershel Jr., competing in an Outlaw Late Model race.

“They will be real busy, but all I have to do is get in and drive it,” the elder McGriff said.

McGriff grew up in Sioux Fall, South Dakota and began racing stock cars at the age of 17 after his family moved to Portland, Oregon. He borrowed his father’s car to compete in a race at Portland Speedway in September of 1945.

One of what McGriff considers his biggest accomplishments came in 1950 when he won the Pan American road race in Mexico. His encounter during that event with fellow competitor Bill France Sr., led to a lifelong friendship.

That same year, France invited McGriff to compete in the first Southern 500 race at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. After driving his car cross-country, McGriff raced it to a ninth-place finish and then drove it home to Portland.

McGriff’s venture into what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was most extensive in 1954, when he raced in 24 of 37 events. He netted four wins and finished sixth in the final point standings. He is also credited with winning five pole positions in NASCAR’s premier division.

Rather than pursue a full-time racing effort, McGriff opted to return home to Portland the following season to focus on his family and a lumber business. He was basically away from racing from 1955 until getting involved again in 1967.

McGriff was always a fan favorite in the sport, reflected in the record 12 consecutive years – from 1981 to 1992 – that he was named as the Most Popular Driver in what was then the NASCAR Winston West Series. He won the series championship in 1986.

In addition to competing at tracks across the country, McGriff raced a NASCAR stock car in the 24 Hours of LeMans in France, and also competed in Australia and Japan.

He was named as one of the 50 Greatest Drivers in NASCAR in 1998 and was also awarded the NASCAR Award of Excellence. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2006, was among the inaugural class inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002. He was named to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and is a NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee.

While some drivers may plan on relaxing the day after the Tucson race, McGriff is too busy to slow down.

“I fly out the next morning to Mount Pocono in Pennsylvania,” he said.  “I’m in the Kyle Petty Charity Ride (Across America) for the third year.”

He will miss the first two days, but will meet up with the group to begin the third day and finish out the fundraising motorcycle trip.

BMR PR