Birthday best wishes to our 2008 Amelia Concours d’Elegance Honoree Parnelli Jones, winner of the 1963 Indy 500 and the first racer to break Indy’s “150 mph barrier.” PJ logged six Indy Car wins and 12 poles.
One of the greatest of the “all rounders” PJ could race anything fast, also winning the Baja 1000 (a race he called “an all-day plane crash”), the Trans-Am for Ford, four NASCAR Cup victories, 25 career sprint car wins, and was one of the “Chevy Twins” (with Jim Hurtubise) who brought the small block Chevy to sprint car racing. He was a threat in any kind of car he raced. Once retired he founded Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing and won the Indy 500 twice as an owner (1970 and ’71) and also won the 1970, ’71 and ’72 USAC National Championships. He founded the Parnelli Formula 1 team in 1974. The team also converted the Cosworth DFX from an F1 engine into a dominant Indy Car power plant in 1976.