10 of the Oldest NASCAR Drivers (Updated 2021)

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Due to the nature of NASCAR, the average age of retirement from the sport is typically higher than it is in other sports. Several drivers are still able to win races in their 50s and some drivers – including ones on this list – start their NASCAR careers in their 40s.

Although late retirements have been the norm for NASCAR drivers, newer car technologies may soon force these older drivers out of the sport sooner than they wish. However, many of the drivers on this list – who are at least in their 50s – are currently still competing. Others recently retired or have passed on.

As of March 2021, the information on this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed.

10. Jeff Green (September 6, 1962 – Present)

Oldest Age While Competing: 57 years, 9 months, 22 days on June 28, 2020
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 1991 – 2020 (30 years)
Current NASCAR Series: Xfinity Series
Car Number and Team: Nos. 8 and 78 for B.J. McLeod Motorsports and Nos. 38 and 93 for RSS Racing

Jeff Greenphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Prior to becoming racing professionally in NASCAR, Jeff Green dominated the races in 1990 at Nashville Speedway USA. That year he competed in 22 races and won 15 times and only had one finish below third place. After his performance at those races, Green was asked to compete in the Autolite Platinum 200, a NASCAR Busch Series event.

Green has spent most of his career competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has 16 wins, 129 top tens, and 23 poles. Green most recently competed in the Xfinity Series in 2020, but told fans on Twitter that he did not have any races scheduled for 2021. Instead, Green continues to work as a crew chief with RSS, moving from the Xfinity Series to their part-time ARCA Menards Series car, the No. 28, driven by Kyle Sieg.

Did You Know?

Jeff Green on the 2000 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championships by 616 points, a record he held until 2006.


9. Bobby Gerhart (July 21, 1958 – Present)

Oldest Age While Competing: 60 years, 6 months, 25 days on February 15, 2019
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 1983 – 1992, 1996 – 2003, 2005, 2010, 2013 – 2019 (26 years)
Current NASCAR Series: Camping World Truck Series
Car Number and Team: No. 63 for Bobby Gerhart Racing in a joint effort with MB Motorsports

Bobby Gerhartphoto source: NASCAR

Bobby Gerhart has been competing in NASCAR since the early 1980s in the Monster Energy Cup Series, the Xfinity Series, and currently in the Camping World Truck Series. In addition to his long NASCAR career, Gerhart has been racing in the ARCA Series since 1988 and was named Rookie of the Year for that season. Gerhart retired in 2019 after competing in the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona.

Gerhart has never won a NASCAR race, but has won nine times on the ARCA circuit. Today, Gerhart drives part-time in the ARCA Series, driving the No. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet owned by his brother, Bill Gerhart, who also serves as his crew chief. He also drives the No. 63 Chevrolet Silverado for Bobby Gerhart Racing in a joint effort with MB Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Did You Know?

Bobby Gerhart won nine times on the ARCA circuit, eight of those victories coming in the season-opening ARCA Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway (2012, 2011, 2010, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2002, and 1999).


8. Bryan Dauzat (November 30, 1959 – Present)

Oldest Age While Competing: 61 years, 3 months, 22 days
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 2008 – Present (14 years)
Current NASCAR Series: Whelen Modified Tour; Whelen Southern Modified; and the Camping World Truck Series
Car Number and Team: No. 28 for FDNY Racing

Bryan Dauzatphoto source: ARCA Racing

Bryan Dauzat made his NASCAR debut in 2008 at the age of 48 and has been competing every year since then. He has also been competing in the ARCA Series since 2014. Since his career started in 2008, Dauzat has earned one top-five finish and twelve top-tens. Dauzat has raced in the Camping World Truck Series, the Whelen Modified Tour, and the Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

His crew chief is the well-known engine builder Bob Rahilly, who co-owned a NASCAR Cup team in the late 1970s until the early 1990s. Dauzat recently competed at the 2021 NextEra Energy 250 at Dayton for the Camping World Truck Series. The rest of the races he will compete in are yet to be determined.

Did You Know?

In addition to actively racing, Bryan Dauzat serves as president of O. B. Builders, a sponsor of his racing career.


7. Derrike Cope (November 3, 1958 – Present)

Oldest Age While Competing: 62 years, 3 months, 11 days on February 14, 2021
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 62 years, 3 months, 11 days on February 14, 2021
Current NASCAR Series: Daytona 500
Car Number and Team: No. 15 for Rick Ware Racing in alliance with StarCom Racing

Derrike Copephoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Derrike Cope is a well-known NASCAR driver who has a few cup series wins under his belt. He is best known for his 1990 win over Dale Earnhardt at that year’s Daytona 500 race – it was Cope’s first major win. This win made Cope an overnight sensation and he even appeared on Late Night with David Letterman.

Cope has two other NASCAR cup wins and placed in the top ten several times. In 2017, Cope closed his Xfinity Series team after 16 years and announced that he would be returning to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on a part-time basis. Before his brief retirement in 2018, Cope drove the No. 00 Chevrolet SS for his own StarCom Racing.

In early 2021, after focusing on a management role in 2019 and 2020, Cope announced that he would return for the Daytona 500. However, Cope crashed after three laps during the first race.

Did You Know?

Several members of Derrike Cope’s family are involved with NASCAR, including his cousin, NASCAR crew chief Ernie Cope and his nieces Angela Ruch and Amber Cope, who are both drivers.


6. Mike Harmon (January 24, 1958 – Present)

Oldest Age While Competing: 62 years, 8 months, 10 days on October 3, 2020
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 1996 – 1999, 2001 – 2005, 2007 – 2020 (23 years)
Current NASCAR Series: Xfinity Series and part-time in the Camping World Truck Series
Car Number and Team: No. 74 for Mark Harmon Racing (Xfinity) and No. 1 for TJL Motorsports (Camping World Truck)

Mike Harmonphoto source: NASCAR

Unlike most of the other professional drivers on this list, Mike Harmon made his NASCAR debut later in his life. He competed in his first race in 1996, when he was nearly 40 years old. Since then, Harmon has been participating in NASCAR races for nearly two decades.

Harmon currently drives the No. 74 Challenger for his own team, Mark Harmon Racing. He also competes part time in the Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 1 Chevrolet Silverado for TJL Motorsports. Although Harmon has achieved over 300 feature wins in short-track competition, he has never won a major NASCAR race.

Did You Know?

Mark Harmon is known for a violent crash at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2002. After crashing into an improperly secured gate, Harmon’s car was nearly split completely in half and driver Johnny Sauter, hit the half of the car that Harmon was not in.


5. Mark Thompson (July 9, 1951 – Present)

Oldest Age While Competing: 66 years, 7 months, 9 days on February 18, 2018
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 1992 – 1994, 2015 – 2018 (7 years)
Current NASCAR Series: Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Cup Series (2017); NASCAR Cup Series (2018)
Car Number and Team: No. 13 for MBM Motorsports (Xfinity) and No. 15 for Premium Motorsports (Monster Energy)

Mark Thompsonphoto source: NASCAR

Although Mark Thompson has been a stock car racing driver since the early 1990s, he only drove in a few NASCAR races. He has spent most of his professional racing career competing in the ARCA Racing Series, which is often used as a feeder series into NASCAR’s three national touring series.

In October 2017, Thompson participated in his first NASCAR Cup race in more than 25 years. During the race, Thompson drove the No. 15 Chevrolet for Premium Motorsports. As a driver in ARCA, Thompson has earned many records, including being the oldest polesitter as well as the oldest pole winner at age 63 in 2015. Thompson retired in 2018 after competing in his final NASCAR race.

Did You Know?

On February 18, 2018, Mark Thompson became the oldest NASCAR driver, at the age of 66, to compete in the Daytona 500; he finished in 22nd.


4. Norm Benning (January 16, 1952 – Present)

Oldest Age While Competing: 69 years, 2 months, 6 days (as of March 2021)
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 1989 – 1991, 1993 – Present (31 years)
Current NASCAR Series: Camping World Truck Series
Car Number and Team: No. 6 for Norm Benning Racing

Norm Benningphoto source: NASCAR

Norm Benning has been competing in NASCAR since 1989 and is the oldest drive who is currently still active in the sport as of 2021. He previously raced in the NASCAR Busch Series and Winston Cup Series and is now competing in the Camping World Truck Series. Benning drives the No. 6 Chevrolet Silverado for his own team, Norm Benning Racing.

Benning entered his first competition when he was only 15 years old, which was three years younger than the race’s required age. He faked his age and went on to win a championship in the Figure Eight Division at Heidelberg Raceway. After losing his sponsorship from SOBE Drinks, Benning began racing for himself as serves as his own mechanic.

Did You Know?

Norm Benning announced plans to attempt the full 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule and launched a fundraising campaign called “Racing With The Ultimate Underdog.” Unfortunately, Benning did not qualify for the opening race, but was able make the second race at the Daytona Road Course, thanks to NASCAR’s no qualifying for the majority of the 2021 season.


3. James Hylton (August 26, 1934 – April 28, 2018)

Oldest Age While Competing: 76 years, 8 months, 11 days on May 6, 2011
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 1964, 1966 – 1983, 1985 – 1995, 2006 – 2009, 2011 (32 years)
Current NASCAR Series: part-time Xfinity Series (2011)
Car Number and Team: No. 0 for G&K Services Chevrolet

James Hyltonphoto source: USA Today

James Hylton was still active in professional driving as a team owner prior to his untimely death in 2018. The last time that Hylton competed in a NASCAR race was on May 6, 2011, at the age of 76. Hylton set a record at the 2011 Royal Purple 200 in Darlington as the oldest driver in history to start a NASCAR race in the top three divisions.

Hylton began his racing career in the 1950s when he was a mechanic of NASCAR legend Rex White. He first started competing in NASCAR in 1964. During Hylton’s time as a NASCAR racer, he only won two cups, but he was always a tough competitor. He finished in the Top 10 in the season points standings in ten of the twelve years between 1966 and 1977.

Did You Know?

James Hylton won the NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors in 1966, and finished second in the season points standings, 1,950 points behind David Pearson.


2. Morgan Shepherd (October 12, 1941 – Present)

Oldest Age While Competing: 77 years, 10 months, 26 days on September 7, 2019
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 1970, 1977 – 1979, 1981 – 2019 (41 years)
Current NASCAR Series: part-time in Xfinity Series (2019)
Car Number and Team: No. 89 for Shepherd Racing Ventures

Morgan Shepherdphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Until he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2020, Morgan Shepherd was one of the oldest active NASCAR drivers. Shepherd last competed in NASCAR’s Xfinitiy Series in 2019, but he remains active in the sport as a car owner. No. 89 was Shepherd’s personal race car, and he shared driving duties with Landon Cassill when he was still active.

In 2012, when Shepherd was 70, he became the oldest driver to lead a Nationwide Series race. He set this record two more times, once in 2016 at 74 years old and again the following year when he was 75. Shepherd also holds the record for being the second oldest race winner, when he won the spring race in Atlanta in 1993 when he was 51 years old.

Did You Know?

Morgan Shepherd holds the record for oldest driver to start a race in a Sprint Cup race at the 2014 Camping World RV Sales 301 at age 72.


1. Hershel McGriff (December 14, 1927 – Present)

Oldest Age While Competing: 90 years, 4 months, 21 days on May 5, 2018
Years Competing in NASCAR (as of March 2021): 1950 – 1954, 1971 – 1993 (total 29 years); still occasionally competes
Current NASCAR Series: K&N Pro Series West (2018)
Car Number and Team: No. 4

Hershel McGriffphoto source: tucson.com

Hershel McGriff currently holds the record for being the oldest person to compete in a NASCAR race at the age of 90 years, 4 months, 21 days. McGriff retired from regular competition in 1993, but has returned to the track on numerous occasions, including his most recent race, the 2018  K&N Pro Series West. He drove in the race in Tucson, Arizona on May 5th and placed 18th.

McGriff drove in his very first race back in 1945 and a few years later, he met NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr., who convinced McGriff to race in NASCAR. In 1954, McGriff began racing full-time and he had four wins that year. However, McGriff decided to move home to be near his family and take care of his other businesses the following years. McGriff returned to NASCAR in 1971 and retired in 1993 at the age of 74.

Did You Know?

In 1989, at the age of 61, Hershel McGriff became the oldest driver to win a NASCAR feature race when he won an AutoZone West Series race.


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