A post on Morgan Shepherd’s team website revealed late Monday that the veteran NASCAR driver has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“As we come to a close of 2020, it truly has been a challenging year to many, and for Morgan Shepherd, it is no different,” the post began. “For the first time in 52 consecutive years, Morgan did not participate in any of NASCAR’s three series. Morgan was in a battle of different sorts in the challenging 2020 year. After a long year of health issues, Morgan has been diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.”
While he did not compete this season, Shepherd, 79, did field a car in the Xfinity Series for Landon Cassill. Cassill, who has split driving duties with Shepherd the last two years, ran four races early in the season.
Morgan Shepherd has been a special person to me and my family over the past couple years. We are keeping in touch and keeping him in our prayers as he battles Parkinson’s. I spoke to him this morning and he sounded great, and just wants to get to the track soon. pic.twitter.com/U1woBmpfTH
— landon cassill (@landoncassill) November 23, 2020
Shepherd made his NASCAR national series debut in 1970 in the Cup Series. In 2014, he became the oldest driver to compete in a NASCAR Cup Series race at the age of 72. He has four wins in the series.
Shepherd ran 12 races in the Xfinity Series last season, taking him to a total of 453 starts and 15 career wins at that level. Across all three NASCAR national series, Shepherd has made 1,027 starts.
The post on his website continued that “in true Shepherd fashion, he is determined to look into 2021 and make plans for another year of NASCAR race, as a car owner. We all have had challenges to overcome and Morgan has always wanted to be an encourager, defying his age in physical and mental ability. Morgan’s charity work with the physically challenged has inspired him in the toughest times and currently continues in his diagnosis.”