The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) has announced one of the greatest icons in the history of motor racing will serve as grand marshal for its June 6–8 Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).
Parnelli Jones, the winner of the 1963 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, could have won the classic several times despite only competing seven years. A sure winner in 1962 and 1967 before mechanical maladies dashed his hopes, Jones, who broke the 150 mph barrier at the great track, is revered as one of the storied Speedway’s greatest ever.
Inducted into six auto racing halls of fame, Jones is well known for amazing diversity behind the wheel. In addition to Indy cars he enjoyed tremendous success in sprint cars, midgets, off-road vehicles, sports cars and stock cars. His achievements in the glory days of Trans-Am in the early 1970’s at the wheel of a Boss 302 Mustang added to the legend of that brand.
“The Brickyard Invitational will be a great event for fans who appreciate all types of racing and cars,” Jones said. “The competition is real, and I appreciate how they are honoring the great history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
One of Jones’ duties as grand marshal will be to pace the feature race of the weekend called the “Indy Legends” Pro-Am. The SVRA is creating a return to competition for veterans of the Indianapolis 500 with a 40-minute race of American muscle cars on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course on Sunday, June 8.
The SVRA expects to attract a field of at least 24 Indianapolis 500 veterans for the competition. Among the previously announced entries are two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr., 1992 Rookie-of-the Year Lyn St. James, Willy T. Ribbs, Mark Dismore, Geoff Brabham, Johnny Parsons Jr., Alex Lloyd and Rick Treadway.
The SVRA also announced three additional entries for the contest: Spike Gehlhausen, Billy Roe and John Hollansworth. Gehlhausen is a veteran of five Indianapolis 500s, finishing tenth in 1979 and starting fourth in 1980. Roe raced in 1997 and 1998 while Hollansworth made the big show in 1999.
They, along with the other Indianapolis 500 veterans for the Pro-Am, will be in 1967 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of “Group 6,” with an engine displacement limit of 355 cubic inches. The professionals will be paired with amateur drivers, each taking a 20-minute stint. Five minutes will be allotted for driver change.
The “Brickyard Invitational” weekend will be the largest gathering of race cars ever assembled for competition in America. The SVRA has 11 groups of cars spanning 100 years of vintage machines, and all will be in action at IMS. The exciting array of entries include exquisite examples of select pre-war machines, classic sports cars, Formula One and Le Mans prototypes as current as 2008.
The storied 2.5-mile oval will be utilized as well with exhibition runs by a wide variety of cars including several of the crowd-favorite 1950’s-vintage Indianapolis 500 “roadsters.” Race fans can enjoy every minute of the action by taking advantage of overnight camping inside the Speedway.
For more information, visit www.ims.com.