THIS DAY IN MOTORSPORTS
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DECEMBER 14th



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DECEMBER 14

1927
Hershel McGriff... Born ... Hershel McGriff's racing career spans four decades of NASCAR competition -- from the rough-and-tumble 1950s to the finely tuned 1990s. In 1954, McGriff made the most of his opportunity to drive car owner Frank Christian's Oldsmobile and finished sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series points race despite missing the first 10 events of the year. McGriff won four of the last nine races in 1954, including back-to-back wins at Macon, Ga., and Charlotte, N.C., to account for all his career wins.
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1940
Denny Zimmerman ... Born ... Denny began racing at the Riverside Park Speedway in 1957, driving in the Sportsman Stock Car Division. From sportsman cars, Zimmerman moved on to sprint cars and then tried his hand running at Indianapolis. Denny owns NASCAR State Sportsman Championships in both Maryland and Virginia. He began running sprints in 1966 under the sanction of the United Racing Club, where he was named Rookie of the Year. Zimmerman later competed in USAC, and, in 1969, attempted to qualify for the Indy 500. The following year, he passed his driverís test but again didnít qualify. In 1971, he qualified, finishing eighth and winning the Indy 500 Rookie of the year honors. In 1972, Denny again made the field for the Indy 500, running as high as tenth before a blown engine took him out of competition. Denny Zimmerman retired as an active driver in 1974.
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1954
Alan Kulwicki... Born ... NASCAR Winston Cup racecar driver. He arrived at the highest and most expensive level of stock car racing in the United States, with only a borrowed pickup truck, a race car, no sponsor, and a limited budget. Kulwicki was a perfectionist and liked doing things his way: his scientific methodology approach to NASCAR racing inspired the way teams are currently run.He is known for driving for his own race team during most of his NASCAR career. Kulwicki was the 1986 NASCAR Rookie of the Year, and won the 1992 Winston Cup by the closest margin in NASCAR history. In 1998 he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers] and he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2002. Kulwicki's nicknames were "Special K" and the "Polish Prince". Kulwicki died in a plane crash on April 1, 1993 at age 38. He was returning in a Hooters corporate plane from an appearance at the Knoxville Hooters prior to the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
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