Hershel McGriff, Parnelli Jones Top NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series All-Time Top 10 List NASCAR Commemorates West Coast Racing History With Top 10 Compilation DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2005) -- Legendary drivers Hershel ...
Hershel McGriff, Parnelli Jones Top NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series All-Time Top 10 List
NASCAR Commemorates West Coast Racing History With Top 10 Compilation
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2005) -- Legendary drivers Hershel McGriff and Parnelli Jones head a list of drivers named to the "NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series All-Time Top 10," compiled by NASCAR and NASCAR Insider, which is featured in Dick Berggren's Speedway Illustrated magazine. The list appears in the March 2005 issue of Speedway Illustrated, along with a feature article about the West Series.
McGriff, whose career in stock cars spanned seven decades, tops the All-Time Top 10 list. Second in the ranking is Jones, who in addition to racing stock cars was well-known for his accomplishments in the open-wheel ranks and winning the Indianapolis 500.
With a record six championships to his credit, Ray Elder is No. 3 -- followed in No. 4 by Jack McCoy, who scored a record 54 victories. Fifth on the list is four-time champion Bill Schmitt.
The top 10 list also features three-time champion Lloyd Dane at No. 6; three-time champion Eddie Gray at No. 7; four-time champion Roy Smith at No. 8; two-time champion Bill Sedgwick at No. 9; and Jim Robinson, who won three consecutive titles, at No. 10.
"This list represents more than 50 years of competition in the West's oldest stock car racing circuit," said NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter. "Many great drivers have competed in the series during those five decades."
"Throughout its history, the series has featured a combination of rising stars and talented veteran drivers," Hunter said. "While some drivers have emerged from the series to compete on a national level in NASCAR, others chose to make their home on the West Coast and have great careers in the series."
No. 1 Hershel McGriff
McGriff's driving career is one that pre-dates NASCAR itself. He received numerous accolades -- including being named one of "The Greatest 50 NASCAR Drivers of All Time" in 1998, receiving the NASCAR Award of Excellence and being named Most Popular Driver in the series a record 12 consecutive years. He was named to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, as well as becoming an inaugural member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. In addition to winning the series championship in 1986, he recorded 35 series career victories overall and won 35 pole positions in the modern era of the series. His 12 wins in 1972 stand as the most in a season, as does his record that year for winning the most pole positions, with 12. McGriff also set a record that year for the most consecutive races won, with five, and for the most top-five finishes in a season, with 22.
No. 2 Parnelli Jones
Before scoring USAC National Sprint Car championships in 1961 and 1962 and winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1963, Jones was competing in Pacific Coast Late Model stock cars on the West Coast. Fourteen of his 15 series victories were recorded between 1956 and 1960. He was among the inaugural inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002.
No. 3 Ray Elder
Elder distinguished himself in many ways. He won the series championship a record six times between 1969 and 1975. Just as important, he brought a special respect to the series by finishing first overall in combination races with what was then known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in events at Riverside International Raceway in 1971 and again in 1972. He was known as the "Racing Farmer" from Caruthers, Calif. He is second on the list of race winners with 47 career victories, but first with championships -- having won the title in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1975. He holds numerous other records in the modern era of the series, including the most consecutive starts, with 121, and the most top 10 finishes in a season, with 27. In addition, he won the Most Popular Driver Award eight times. He was among the inaugural members inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002.
No. 4 Jack McCoy
McCoy is the winningest driver in the history of the West Series, with 54 victories. A native of California's Central Valley, he was well known for the Dodge he drove, which was usually purple in color. He was a two-time champion in the series, winning titles in 1966 and 1973. He was also among the inaugural inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002.
No. 5 Bill Schmitt
Between 1975, when he visited victory lane for the first time, and 1992, when he scored his 19th career victory, Schmitt was always considered one of the drivers to beat in the series. He was a four-time champion -- taking home the title in 1977, 1979, 1989 and 1990. In addition, he holds numerous modern era records -- most races started, with 237; most top five finishes, with 122; and most top ten finishes, with 163. He also led a modern era record 4,274 laps. He was among the inaugural members inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002.
No. 6 Lloyd Dane
Dane won the very first championship in the series in 1954. He added two more titles in 1956 and 1957 and wound up his career with 12 victories overall. He was considered a fan favorite of his era. He was among the inaugural inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002.
No. 7 Eddie Gray
Gray scored 20 victories in the series, while winning three championships -- 1958, 1961 and 1962. He was among the inaugural inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002.
No. 8 Roy Smith
Smith -- who hailed from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada -- was a sprint car champion before joining the NASCAR ranks. He won three consecutive titles -- 1980, 1981, 1982 and added a fourth title in 1988. Along the way he scored 15 career victories in the series. He was among the inaugural inductees named to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002.
No. 9 Bill Sedgwick
Sedgwick piloted the familiar blue and white Spears Motorsports entry to back-to-back championships in the series, in 1991 and 1992. He recorded 17 career victories as a driver in the series. As a crew chief, Sedgwick guided Mike Duncan to the series championship in 2004, winning the Championship Crew Chief Award. He was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2004.
No. 10 Jim Robinson
Known for his consistent finishes, Robinson won three consecutive championships in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series -- 1983, 1984 and 1985. He scored 11 career wins in the series overall. Robinson was among the inaugural inductees named to the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002.
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