Indianapolis 500 champion Has Passed Away

Race car driver Parnelli Jones is probably best known for the fact that he won the Indianapolis 500 race back in 1963, the 47th year the race took place. He won the race by 33 seconds, second place going to Jimmy Clark.

Now, Jones’ son, PJ Jones, has had the unfortunate task of breaking the sad news that his father has died. PJ shared the news in a Facebook post where he posted a picture of his father in a race car, waving at the camera. Alongside the picture, PJ wrote, “My father, Parnelli Jones, passed away today at the age of 90. He had battled Parkinson’s for the last few years. I will miss him greatly!”

Jones was 90 years old when he died on June 4, 2024.

According to The New York Times, Jones was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a decade ago. PJ also told the newspaper that his father was surrounded by family and friends of the time of his death, which occurred at the Torrance Medical Center in Torrance, California.

According to his obituary, Jones’ real name was Rufus Parnell Jones. He started going by Parnelli in an attempt to keep his parents from finding out that he was competing in races even though he was underage.

Jones competed in the Indy 500 for the first time in 1961 and came in 12th. Just two years later, he won the race, but his win came with controversy. Jones’s car was leaking oil on the track, but even though they should’ve, the racing officials didn’t disqualify him from the race.

In 1969, Jones cofounded Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing, and in 1974, Jones stepped away from racing and focused on his career as an owner.

Jones eventually stepped away from a career as an owner and switched careers again, this time he founded Parnelli Jones Tire Centers.

Watch the video below to learn more about Jones and the sad news of his death.

According to WFYI, Jones is survived by his wife, Judy, whom he had been married to for an impressive 57 years. He is also survived by two sons and six grandchildren.