Saturday, August 12, 2017

"Hall Of Fame Legend" Parnelli Jones Born - August 12, 1933

August 12, 1933
Parnelli Jones
Born in Texarkana, Arkansas, USA.
He is most remembered for his accomplishments at the Indianapolis 500. In 1962, he became the first driver to qualify over 150 mph. He won the race in 1963, then famously broke down while leading the 1967 race with three laps to go in a turbine car.

Jones won races in many types of vehicles:NASCAR, IndyCars, Trans-Am, Sports cars, Sprint cars, Midget cars and Off-road vehicles. He is also remembered for bringing the stock block engine to USAC Sprint car racing as one of the "Chevy Twins" with Jim Hurtubise. He is associated with the famous Boss 302 Mustang with his wins using the engine in the 1970s.

Jones retired with six IndyCar wins and twelve pole positions, four wins in 34 NASCAR starts, including the 1967 Motor Trend 500 at Riverside, 25 midget car feature wins in occasional races between 1960 and 1967, and 25 career sprint car wins. His fifteen wins is eighth on the all-time in NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model history. Jones raced in the extremely competitive SCCA Trans Am series, dominating the 1970 season and bring Ford the manufacturer's championship.

In 1993, Jones took part in the Fast Masters. He advanced to the final championship round and placed 6th overall.

Jones started Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing, which won the Indianapolis 500 again as an owner in 1970 and 1971 with driver Al Unser driving the Johnny Lightning special. The team also won the 1970, 1971, and 1972 USAC National Championships. Jones owned the Parnelli Formula One race team from late 1974 to early 1976, although it achieved little success. Jones returned to off-road racing as owner of Walker Evans' 1976 SCORE truck, and Evans won the championship. They teamed up for the 1977 CORE Class 2 championship. Jones owned vehicles that took class wins at the Baja 500 and Baja 1000. His USAC Dirt Car won two championships and the Triple Crown three times.

Jones' son P. J. Jones was also a diverse driver, with IndyCar and NASCAR starts and a championship in IMSA prototype sports cars. His other son Page Jones was an up-and-coming driver before suffering career ending (and life-threatening) injuries in a sprint car at the 4-Crown Nationals, and has been in rehabilitation, working with his father-in-law. Following the death of 1960 Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Rathmann, Jones is now the oldest living "500" winner.

1990 International Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee
1991 inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame
1992 inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
1961 Indianapolis 500 co-Rookie of the Year
1963 Indianapolis 500 winner
1964 USAC stock car champion
1960, 1961, 1962 USAC Sprint Car Series Champion
1976 inductee in the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame
2001 inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame
inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame


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