Could a 72-year-old become the Daytona 500's oldest driver?

Morgan Shepherd, 72, could become the oldest driver ever to make it into NASCAR’s premier competition. CBS News' Jeff Glor speaks to Shepherd about his long racing career fueled by passion, as well as his life off the track.
Morgan Shepherd, 72, could become the oldest ... 02:43

The final qualifying races for the Daytona 500 take place tonight and 72-year-old Morgan Shepherd could become the oldest driver ever to make it into NASCAR’s premier competition.

Shepherd told CBS News' Jeff Glor, he's not racing against time; he's just turning it back.

"Who would of ever thought I'd been here racing 47 years? I mean, I thought when I was younger 40-years-old was old. Now, I don't know what is old," he said. "I run like I'm 30."

Shepherd is already the owner of 235 top 10 professional finishes and19 wins. Shepherd is trying to do something that's never been done before - qualify for America’s most famous stock race as a septuagenarian.

He told Glor it's just "another day at the office" for him.

"It's just like playing chess or checkers. You got to make the right move ... at 200 miles an hour," he said.


Inside Jimmie Johnson's pit crew 02:52
Last year's Daytona winner, Jimmie Johnson talked to Glor about Shepherd.

"There are generations of fans and even drivers, that hold Morgan in a bright spot in their heart and appreciate what he has done for our sport and his commitment to our sport," said Johnson.

His long road in NASCAR began during the Nixon administration, but almost got sidetracked by late-night exploits. He said he was born again and saved by faith, and roller-skating.

Surprisingly, Shepherd’s primary vehicle for fighting father time for four decades has been a different set of wheels, which he first learned about during the disco days.

When Glor called him a "disco dancing, roller-skating, 72-year-old professional NASCAR driver," Shepherd added "and I can still whip the average man's butt. Ask the guy at Wal-Mart in Vegas when I ran him down."

Three years ago, Shepherd ran down a shoplifter in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

"When I hit him, he was on the ground and I done had him face down," he said. "I've never handcuffed nobody in my whole life and I caught him with my left hand. I'm a right hander."

On top of being an unofficial security guard, Shepherd is also a long-time supporter of those who have served in the United States military.

"He brings dignity and respect," said Col. Steven West of "He has that 'never quit' attitude, which is exactly what the military has."

Shepherd is now racing for, which thanks to an anonymous $100,000 donation, put together his car. The model is 1-year-old, which means the team will need a few breaks to make it.

Yet Shepherd doesn’t dwell on the downside.

"It's about the passion that you have for what you do. With the passion you find purpose in life," he said. "My purpose is being an influence on other people to better themselves - to not sit on the couch all day."