“As a Matter of Fact, I AM Parnelli Jones” by Parnelli Jones with Bones Bourcier

HAMMOND, IN: The amazing story of racing legend Rufus Parnell Jones is
certainly one worth telling and now, for the second time, a book has been
written for that purpose. The first, “Parnelli” by Bill Libby, was
published in 1969 and represents an excellent portrait of motorsports in
Parnelli’s era, mainly the ’60’s. The new book, however, covers not only
Jones’s driving career but also all the great things that happened after
leaving the cockpit as well. And, with the help of veteran racing writer
Bones Bourcier, the saga is told in Parnelli’s own words.

Most of us are probably already familiar with many of the accomplishments
of Parnelli Jones; from Indy to Trans-Am to Baja and beyond. But, when you
read the tale through the words of the man who lived it, you really find
yourself being taken along for the ride. There’s always something new to
learn. For example, as Parnelli tells it, the only reason he was able to
advance from the Southern California jalopy races of the mid-fifties to
national prominence was the fact that those rough-and-tumble shows, many of
which were won by Jones, were actually televised locally in the Los Angeles
area! Had it not been for those early telecasts. Jones claims, nobody would
ever have heard of him!

One of the most enjoyable features of the new book is the inclusion of
chapter forwards written by many of Parnelli’s friends and contemporaries.
Reading the opinions of the cream of Jones’s on-track rivals certainly
helps put into perspective the true impact of Parnelli Jones in the
landscape of motorsports from the early ’50’s until present. Below are a
few quotes to illustrate the high regard in which Parnelli Jones is held by
his peers:

Mario Andretti: “In my mind, he was the best in that period. When things
were right, nobody could beat him. NOBODY. He was The Man.”

A.J. Foyt: “But, you know, Parnelli was just good. There’s no ifs, ands or
buts about it. He was a great race driver. I’m glad to see that he’s still
around, and I think he’s glad to see that I’m still around.”

A.J. Watson: “Parnelli was driver who was just plain good everywhere. He
was better than anyone, really.” (!)

Bobby Unser: “Parnelli Jones was a superstar at Indianapolis even before he
got to Indianapolis. Stop and think about Jim Hurtubise in 1960, telling
everyone, “Wait until Parnelli Jones gets here!”. He KNEW. Herk was already
a legend himself, but he knew Parnelli was going to be even better.”

Leonard Wood: “Parnelli was different. He’d just say that if the car was
off a little bit, he’d make up for it.”

“I thought the world of Parnelli, and still do. I can still see him in my
mind, screaming down that back straightaway at Riverside.”

Bill Vukovich Jr.: “My rookie year at the Speedway, I had Parnelli Jones
right there at my side. I mean, this guy was damn near as good as my
dad…Just don’t tell Parnelli I said that!”

Johnny Rutherford: “Parnelli is a friend, a former rival, and a fellow
survivor of a very tough period. The fact that he never spent a night in a
hospital says a lot for his ability. You know, he could drive so hard and
still be as smooth as glass.”

Bud Moore: “Parnelli used to have a saying. I can’t remember it exactly,
but it basically came down to this: “Ain’t no SOB gonna outrun me.” And,
you know, he was right.”

Al Unser Sr.: I raced against Parnelli in Indy Cars, sports cars and in
stock cars, and, let me tell you, he drove HARD. When that first green flag
came down, he’d take off like it was the last lap he was ever gonna run. He
HAD to win. And he took that same desire and shifted it toward being a car

Tony Stewart: ” So yeah, if Parnelli’s at the track and I see him, it’s a
humbling thing. I’ll think to myself, “Man, no matter how many races you’ve
won, or how many championships you’ve got, that’s PARNELLI!”

“As a Matter of Fact, I AM Parnelli Jones” features both B & W and color
photos, and tells the true story of a tough kid from Torrance, CA who made
the unlikely jump from post war jalopy racing to Victory Lane at the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway and beyond. In an era when versatility was
truly a virtue, Parnelli Jones stood at the top of the heap. He was, and
is, truly an American original.

Available through Pit Stop Books – and

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