1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones dies at 90

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 ended up finishing seventh after a brake issue.

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

Like many drivers of his era, Jones competed across multiple disciplines. He ran 34 NASCAR Cup Series races from 1956 through 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 is the first of 20 Indianapolis 500 victories for Team Penske.

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