NASCAR is set to get its oldest-ever driver at this weekend’s race at New Hampshire.
71-year-old Morgan Shepherd will be competing in a Toyota:
Shepherd is listed as the driver of the No. 52 Toyota owned by Bob Keselowski in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301 (1 p.m. ET, TNT). The entry list, released Monday by NASCAR, has 43 cars entered for 43 starting spots; barring a late entry or substitution, Shepherd will break the record.
Sports-car racer Jim Fitzgerald holds the record at 65 years, 6 months and 22 days when he finished 17th in a Rick Hendrick-owned car at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway on June 21, 1987. Hershel McGriff, a longtime West Coast competitor, also made one Sprint Cup start at Sonoma Raceway at 65 years, 5 months and 2 days on May 16, 1993.
You know, this isn’t even the most surprising part of the whole Morgan Shepherd story. He’s been competing almost regularly into his 60s and now into his 70s on NASCAR’s national series – mostly Grand National and Cup.
Sadly I don’t expect this to amount to more than a start-and-park entry – one of the really bothersome things about NASCAR today…
@ivan-vinitskyy Considering that NASCAR Cup races are usually much longer on a scale of sheer distance and time elapsed than any F1 race and most other saloon car races, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s not physically demanding.
Shepherd will probably run a few laps at 70% speed before parking the car to collect prize money anyway, so I wouldn’t use him as a benchmark.
He will be the oldest driver to start a Cup race, however the oldest driver to start a NASCAR National Touring Series (Cup, Nationwide & Truck series) race is James Hylton who at the age of 76 started the August 2011 Truck Series race at Pocono and in 2013 at the age of 78 has raced in all 10 ARCA Series (um, for those not familiar it’s sort of like NASCAR as far as cars & general rules go but it’s a different sanctioning body & wider variety of tracks they race on) races that have been held so far this year.
Hershel McGriff still holds the NASCAR record for oldest competing driver in a NASCAR Touring Series (though Regional Touring & not National Touring) as he finished 18th (out of 30) in the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma at the age of 84.
Red Farmer who was a NASCAR & ARCA racer from the 1950s through the mid 2000′s still (as of 2012, not sure if he’s raced this year but he probaly has) races pretty regularly in a Dirt Latemodel and he is in his 80s. He actually doesn’t remember what year he was born but it was somewhere between 1928 & 1932.