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Hershel McGriff, Matt Kenseth, Kirk Shelmerdine Inducted Into NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2023

Hershel McGriff, Matt Kenseth and Kirk Shelmerdine were the three individuals announced on Wednesday (May 4) to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2023. McGriff earned induction on the Pioneer Ballot and Kenseth and Shelmerdine headlined the Modern Era Ballot. Here’s a look at what got them there:

McGriff: oldest driver to start a NASCAR-sanctioned race at 90 years, 4 months, 21 days old and 1986 NASCAR K&N West Series champion

Kenseth: 39 NASCAR Cup Series wins, 2000 Cup Series Rookie of the Year, 2003 Cup Series champion

Shelmerdine: Four-time Cup Series champion crew chief (1986, 1987, 1990, 1991)

See also
Hailie Deegan, Matt Kenseth Running in SRX

Former NASCAR President Mike Helton was also involved in the proceedings as the recipient of the Landmark Award for his contributions to the sport of auto racing.

McGriff, Kenseth and Shelmerdine will be formally inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023.

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Bill B

I don’t know anything about Mr. McGriff. He was probably a stand-up guy and great driver but….
oldest driver to start a NASCAR-sanctioned race at 90 years, 4 months, 21 days old” does not seem like something that should be listed as a factor that made him HOF worthy. It is almost so ridiculous that it comes off like a joke. My first reaction was “Really??? Seriously???” Maybe if he won the race he entered at age 90 it would be quite a feat but still probably not enough in and of itself to be HOF worthy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bill B

I would agree but I think it’s the sheer amount of time that he spent in the sport that got him in. His case is very similar to that of Red Farmer’s, where while not starting many cup races( and only winning 4 of the 87 he started) the fact that his first and last Cup starts were 54 years apart is kinda crazy on its own. Add in his solid 1954 Cup season, a good amount of success in the K&N Series, and a recognizable name, and you have a HOF case that’s about the same, if not better than Red Farmer. I might also disagree with the pick(with no disrespect to Mr. McGriff, of course, he’s a racing legend) but at least the HOF and its voters are being consistent with who they nominate and who they vote into the Hall.

Bill B

They should have let you explain why he was HOF-worthy.

You did a better job of justifying his induction than whoever wrote the two sentence blurb above.


McGriff was a regional champion in the NW. saw him run Daytona in Petty equipment in the early 70’s (as good as there was as far as cars went) remember a Charger sponsored by Virginia tourism board. Beautiful car. Little success.

Ed H

I’ve been a racing fan for 68 years. I’ve seen a lot of drivers over the years and I have no doubt as to the best I’ve ever seen — Hershel McGriff.


Still no Yunick. But Brian will be. He’ll see to that.


Hershel McGriff yes Smokey and Banjo no? Come on!


Cotton Owens is another guy I’d love to see in


NASCAR was negligent about its history during most of the “boom years.” If you wanted to know about the folks who built the sport, you had to go get that information yourself because coverage of the events was not going to tell you much about that. As a result, many people who came to the sport post-1994 or so have no knowledge of any era they did not personally witness. You had to be a history buff or uncommonly curious to make up for the gap. That’s why people go “who?” or “why him?” when there are certain nominees or selections made that didn’t sell a lot of die casts or t-shirts. And it’s not all their fault. They latch onto a media-maker, get to see a lot of “their guy” and that’s all they need. Hershel McGriff? “He’s old.” Kirk Shelmerdine? They might know him as the ARCA guy, if they watch anything but Cup races. NASCAR was too late in embracing where they came from, and it shows in fans’ lack of knowledge of anything that didn’t happen on TV in front of them.

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