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1963 Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones dies, aged 90

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In response to a consultant with Borg-Warner who was near the state of affairs, Jones handed away peacefully of pure causes within the presence of relations at Torrance Memorial Medical Middle in Torrence, California.

He was the oldest dwelling winner of the Indianapolis 500, having achieved the final word success within the 1963 version of the famed race.

Jones was born on 12 August 1933, in Texarkana, Arkansas, together with his mom naming him after a neighborhood decide – Rufus Parnell – whom she had significantly revered.

On the age of 17, he was racing jalopies in Gardena, California, the city subsequent to Torrence that Jones moved to 10 years prior, and wanted an alias to forestall race officers from studying he was not 18, which was the authorized age to compete. Whereas he was in a position to lie about his age, it was his good friend Billy Calder who offered the nickname “Parnellie” and painted on the door of his {old} automobile.

There have been a number of totally different racing lessons Jones competed in to hone his skillset throughout the Nineteen Fifties, together with NASCAR’s late mannequin collection on the West Coast that resulted in 15 wins.

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Parnelli Jones

Picture by: Parnelli Jones

In 1960, he was in a position to seize a Dash Automotive title within the Midwest area, which stood as his first main championship. And that occurred to catch the attention of J.C. Agajanian.

All the pieces led to a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1961, the place Jones grew to become the 1961 Indy 500 Rookie of the 12 months, an honour shared with Bobby Marshman. He led 27 laps and completed 12th after qualifying fifth.

Jones returned the next yr and received the Indy 500 pole with a velocity of 150.370mph, turning into the primary driver to qualify over the 150mph mark. Regardless of main 120 laps, a brake challenge derailed hopes of victory and relegated him to seventh.

The breakthrough in “The Biggest Spectacle in Racing” lastly occurred for Jones in 1963, the place he as soon as once more put it on pole and delivered one other stout efficiency, leaving little question of his domination by main 167 laps en path to victory. Later that very same yr, he additionally received the Pikes Peak Worldwide Hill Climb driving a Mercury Marauder constructed by legendary fabricator Invoice Stroppe, breaking the velocity report by a inventory automobile within the course of.

In exceptional style, Jones certified within the high two rows in every of the following 4 Indy 500s. His closest effort to win the famed occasion got here in his last Indy 500 begin in 1967 whereas driving the famed STP-Paxton Turbo for Andy Granatelli. He ended up main 171 laps however was left to drop out of the race simply three laps from the tip after a bearing within the transmission broke, leaving him with a sixth-place end.

Parnelli Jones in Watson Offy

Parnelli Jones in Watson Offy

Picture by: IMS Pictures

Jones additionally started competing in off-road racing in 1967 and went on to say back-to-back wins within the Baha 1000 in 1971 and 1972. His profession additionally featured 34 begins within the NASCAR Cup Sequence, capturing 4 wins, the final of which got here at Riverside in 1967.

In 1969, he teamed with Velko “Vel” Miletich to type Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing.

The group went on to win the Indy 500 in 1970 Indy 500, with driver Al Unser Sr. main 190 of 200 laps. Unser additionally claimed the USAC title that yr with a staggering 10 wins. The 1971 Indy 500 noticed Unser and VPJ repeat success within the Indy 500. Joe Leonard, who additionally drove for the group, received consecutive USAC titles in 1971 and 1972.

A serious accident within the 1974 Baha 1000 led to Jones stepping away from full-time racing. Nevertheless, he was nonetheless very a lot thriving as a group proprietor and secured the providers of Mario Andretti and examined the waters of Components 1 on the finish of the yr.

In 1975, the group ran 12 of 16 races as Andretti drove to a greatest end of fourth within the Swedish Grand Prix. The group solely ran two races the next yr, with Andretti becoming a member of Lotus for the rest of the marketing campaign.

Jones was additionally a group proprietor in off-road racing, with driver Walker Evans profitable the 1976 championship.

A plethora of success has been acknowledged all through motorsports, with Jones inducted into quite a few Halls of Fame, together with the Worldwide Motorsports Corridor of Fame (1990), Nationwide Dash Automotive Corridor of Fame (1991) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corridor of Fame (1985), amongst others.

Jones is survived by his spouse Judy, sons PJ and Web page, and grandchildren Jagger, Jace, Jimmy, Joie, Jet and Moxie.

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