Our sport has lost one of the greatest talents ever to sit behind the wheel of a racing car and one of the kindest and most humble of individuals. Rufus “Parnelli” Jones passed away peacefully Tuesday at the Torrance (CA) Medical Center at the age of 90 after years of suffering from Parkinson’s disease. His wife and family were by his side.

Race fan or not, most people hearing the name Parnelli immediately know who is being mentioned. As such, his lifetime of achievements is today chronicled in major news outlets around the nation and the world: CBS Sports, the New York Times, the Indianapolis Star, Autoweek, Autosport and Perhaps the most personal and touching is David Malsher-Lopez’s remembrance on

Parnelli with car owner J.C. Agajanian in the 1963 Indy 500 winning #98 Watson=Offenhauser

Parnelli has been an honoree at the RRDC annual banquet at Long Beach and is a legacy member of the club. His passing leaves a void in so many hearts and lives. Our sincere condolences to his wife Judy, sons P.J. and Page and six grandchildren.

RRDC President Bobby Rahal issued this statement: “All of us at the Road Racing Drivers Club mourn the passing of Parnelli Jones, an American racing icon. His successes and reputation as a hard-driving racer are legendary. He made his mark in a number of racing series, competing and winning against the best in the world. He was one of a kind and will always be remembered for his talent and determination.”


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. I was proud to call Parnelli a good friend for many years, and our thoughts are with his family as we remember one of the true legends of motorsports. – Roger Penske


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