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1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones dies at 90

June 5th, 2024

Parnelli Jones won the 1963 Indianapolis 500 as a driver before Al Unser scored two wins in Jones-owned cars. (AP Photo/File)

Former Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones died Tuesday. He was 90.

Jones won the 1963 Indianapolis 500 as a driver and was a two-time winner of the race as an owner. The year before winning the Indy 500, Jones became the first driver to record a qualifying lap of over 150 mph at Indianapolis when he started on the pole for the 1962 race. He finished seventh after a brake issue.

He started on the pole again in 1963 and won the race despite an oil leak that developed in the late laps. Jones led 167 of the race’s 200 laps and beat Jim Clark for the win.

“The racing world has lost a great competitor and a true champion,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske said in a statement. “Parnelli Jones was one of the most accomplished racers in history, and his determination and will to win made him one of the toughest competitors I have ever seen.”

“From racing against him on track to competing against him as a fellow team owner, I always respected Parnelli’s passion and commitment to the sport he loved.”

Like many drivers of his era, Jones competed across multiple disciplines. He ran 34 NASCAR Cup Series races from 1956-1970 and had four wins and 11 top-10 finishes. After winning three races in the 1950s, Jones got his final NASCAR win at Riverside in 1967 when he led 126 of the race’s 185 laps. That same year, Jones had the car to beat in the Indianapolis 500 but a mechanical issue with three laps to go cost him the win.

Jones started off-road racing in the second half of his career and won the Baja 1000 in 1971 and 1972. He became the first driver to win an Indy 500 before winning the Baja 1000 and also was the first driver to win the race in less than 15 hours.

Al Unser Sr. won the Indianapolis 500 in 1970 and 1971 while driving for Jones’ race team. In 1970, Unser led 190 of the race’s 200 laps. The next season, Unser led 103 laps to beat Peter Revson and A.J. Foyt. In 1972, Unser qualified on the pole with a lap of over 195 mph — by far the fastest pole lap in Indianapolis 500 history at the time — while driving for Jones once again. However, Unser finished second to Mark Donohue in what was the first of 20 Indianapolis 500 victories for Penske as a car owner.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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