Parnelli Jones

Rufus Parnell " Parnelli " Jones ( born August 12, 1933, Texarkana ) is a retired American race car driver and team owner.

The racers

Parnelli Jones grew up in the Californian city of Torrance, where he still lives today. It's nicknamed Parnelli he got from a childhood friend, in order to conceal from his parents that still minors at age 17 already driving in races.

In the 1950s, he successfully drove stock car racing and won the 1960 NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model series. In 1961 he came out with the financial support of the promoter JC Agajanian first time as a driver to Indianapolis. He finished the race in twelfth place. In 1962, he was the first racer in the history of the 500 - mile race, which surpassed the 150 -mile barrier for a qualifying round. He started from pole position after he had driven an average speed of 150.370 mph in training. In the race he was 120 laps in the lead, had at the end of the race but settle for seventh place.

In 1963 he started again from the pole position. Jones was 167 of the 200 laps in the lead, but ten laps to the possible success was in danger. He drove just ahead of Jim Clark in the Lotus 29, as its Watson- Offenhauser lost oil. After Eddie Sachs on the oil gauge had an accident, the race was neutralized by yellow flags. Starter Harlan Fengler Jones wanted to take the black flag already out of the race, but could be held by team boss Agajanian it. Jones won ahead of Clark. The Lotus team presented a protest which was rejected a few days later.

From the mid- 1960 he also began Midget car races to go and in 1965 the 500 - mile race again the chance to win. Jim Clark was his toughest opponent, who in the works Lotus 38 but had the better end this time for himself and Jones pointed in the Lotus 34 to second place.

In 1967, he led almost the entire race in Gastutbinen racing car of Andy Granatelli and already looked like the sure winner, as three laps to go a little cheap clutch component broke and the race for him was over. In 1968 he had his last appearance in Indianapolis. When he reported after the first training team boss Granatelli, the Lotus 56 would be an unsafe race car, he was unceremoniously replaced by Joe Leonard.

Jones then discovered his love for touring car racing and won to 1974 a number of Trans - Am race. When Ford factory driver he drove from 1969 to 1971 their Ford Mustang. After a serious accident in the Baja 500 1974 he resigned as a driver. In addition to his success at Indianapolis in 1963, he won another five USAC championship races. At 34 NASCAR-S tarts he remained four victories.

The team leader

Back in 1969, when he was still active as a driver, he had a team together with Vel Miletich - Vel 's Parnelli Jones Racing - founded. As team leader, he won in 1970 and 1971 with Al Unser twice the 500 - mile race from 1971 and three times in succession, the USAC Championship. In 1974 the team grew even in the Formula 1 World Championship, retired in 1976 after little success but back again.


In the 1980s he began a life away from the race tracks build and went into the tire trade. He opened step by step 47 large outlets around the country. His son PJ Jones was also a racing driver and is active in NASCAR and the Indy Racing League.