Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Morgan Shepherd diagnosed with early stage Parkinson’s disease

Veteran NASCAR driver and team owner Morgan Shepherd has been diagnosed with early stage Parkinson’s disease.

News of Shepherd’s diagnosis with the nervous system disorder was shared on his team’s website, which indicated the illness comes after “a long year of health issues.” The 79-year-old driver has fielded cars in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in recent years with driving duties shared by Landon Cassill and himself.

“However, in true Shepherd fashion, he is determined to look into 2021 and make plans for another year of NASCAR racing, as a car owner,” the statement from Shepherd Racing Ventures read in part. “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.”

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Shepherd became the oldest driver to compete in a NASCAR Cup Series race in 2014, making a start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at age 72. He marked his most recent taste of NASCAR competition with 12 Xfinity races last season.

Cassill drove Shepherd’s No. 89 Chevrolet in four of the first five races this season. The team noted its 2020 campaign marked the first time in 52 years Shepherd did not compete in a national series race.

Shepherd has four Cup Series wins and 15 Xfinity Series victories in a career that has stretched to 1,027 national series starts. He grabbed three of his Cup triumphs at Atlanta Motor Speedway, landing the other at Martinsville Speedway.