Of Hershel and Harvick

Hershel McGriff competed in one of two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races this past Saturday at Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway and that’s notable for a number of reasons, which I’ll get to in just a moment.

McGriff finished 18th in an 18-car field, four laps behind race winner Kody Vanderwal. He drove a car (No. 04 Toyota) provided by long-time west coast team owner Bill McAnally with sponsorship from South Point Hotel & Casino.

He competed in only the opening 100-lap feature, the first of two Port of Tucson Twin 100 races held at the .375-mile track Saturday night. it was his first start in the series since 2012.

Vanderwal is 17. He lapped nine other drivers in addition to McGriff in the opening race. Vanderwal won the second 100-lap race, too.

Seventeen-year-olds often have more energy than they have good sense.

McGriff, on the other hand, is 90 years old.

He competed in the very first Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

The very first Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway was held in 1950.

It was the first NASCAR race ever contested on a paved “superspeedway.”

It featured a field of 75 cars.

McGriff is a four-time winner in NASCAR’s premier series, winning all four races during the 1954 season.

He didn’t beat creampuffs. His first win, at By Meadows Speedway in San Mateo, Calif., came against the likes of Lee Petty, Buck Baker, Herb Thomas.

Guys that are currently in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in other words.

He won at Macon Ga., he won at the half-mile dirt track at Charlotte, and he won at North Wilkesboro.

He beat Baker, Thomas, Marvin Panch, Ned Jarrett, Cotton Owens in those races, too.

During pre-race ceremonies Saturday at Tucson, McGriff also played the national anthem. On his trombone.

Give ‘em hell, Hershel.

NBCSN will air the Port of Tucson Twin 100s at 6 p.m. ET on Wed., May 9 (Twin No. 1) and Thur., May 10 (Twin No. 2).

For the sixth time in his career, Kevin Harvick has won at least four NASCAR Cup Series races during a single season. With 25 races remaining on the 2018 schedule, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has an opportunity to establish a career-best in single season race wins.

Sunday’s victory in the AAA at Dover gave the 42-year-old his fourth win less than one-third of the way through the season.

Earlier this year, he put his No. 4 SHR Ford in victory lane at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Harvick, the 2014 series champ, has won five races during a season twice. In 2006 he won one of the first 11 (Phoenix), added Watkins Glen and Richmond during the regular season and then New Hampshire and Phoenix in the playoffs.

He won twice in the first 11 races of 2014 (Phoenix and Darlington) then didn’t win again until the playoffs when he won the last two of the season and three of the final six.

He won four races each year in 2011, ’13 and 16.

Pocono Raceway and Kentucky Speedway remain the only two venues where the Bakersfield, Calif. native has yet to score a Cup victory.

Both Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman lost car chiefs Sunday at Dover for failing pre-race inspection three times.

How much of a role does a car chief have once the car has gone through inspection and been pushed out to the grid? I would imagine it depends on the team – some car chiefs probably have bigger race-day roles than others.

Did the loss of car chiefs David Bryan (Larson) and Austin Konetski (Bowman) impact those teams on Sunday?

Larson scratched out a 10th-place finish after losing his No. 1 starting spot because of the infraction and the resulting penalty (starting from the rear of the field).

Bowman also gave up his qualifying spot (15th) to drop to the back of the field; he finished 23rd but did lead 26 laps for the second consecutive race. His No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was the only Chevrolet to lead a lap Sunday at Dover.

The margin of victory for the Camping World Truck Series race at Dover was .533 second; for the XFINITY Series race it was .306 second. Skin of the teeth stuff.

For Sunday’s Cup race, it was 7.450 seconds. That’s the second largest margin for the series this year – the MOV at Auto Club was 11.685 seconds.

On the whole, though, the winning margin has been less than one second almost 50 percent of the time this season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *