Jones went Formula One racing in 1974 with Mario Andretti driving the U.S.-built Parnelli VPJ4-Cosworth. Parnelli is standing just behind the cockpit.
Photo: Parnelli Jones Collection
Parnelli is not his real name. Rufus Jones’ middle name is Parnell. His mother named him after a Judge Parnell whom she admired. Jones’ friend, Billy Calder, added the “i” to his middle name to make a name change when Parnelli wanted to race while underage. I remember drivers in the fifties calling him “Rufus,” and some old friends still do.
Parnelli is one of those legendary drivers of the second half of the twentieth century who learned his craft in Southern California. At the wheels of midgets, sprinters and stock cars, he developed into one of the very best race drivers. And at Indy, he was a standout.
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