• Rufus Parnell "Parnelli" Jones died Tuesday
  • Jones was 90 years old
  • Jones was the oldest living Indianapolis 500 winner

American racing legend Rufus Parnell "Parnelli" Jones died on Tuesday at 90 years old.

Citing comments from his family, Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Jones died at Torrance Memorial Medical Center following a battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Jones, whose long list of accomplishments included a win in the 1963 Indianapolis 500, was born in Texarkana, Arkansas, in 1933. He moved two years later with his family to Torrance, California, where he would live the rest of his life.

He would start racing even before he was of the minimum age of 21, using the pseudonym Parnelli so that he wouldn't be identified, Jones said in a 2012 interview with Hot Rod Magazine. His first taste of racing was at Carrell Speedway, in nearby Gardena.

Parnelli Jones - Photo credit: Ford

Parnelli Jones - Photo credit: Ford

He would go on to race sprint cars in the 1950s, joining up with various associations including the United States Auto Club, and earning himself the title in USAC's first national sprint-car championship in 1961. The USAC also sanctioned the Indy 500, a race Jones would first attempt in 1961.

He returned for the 1962 race and set a new qualifying record of 150.370 mph, making him the first driver to qualify at speeds exceeding 150 mph. The following year, he would take home the trophy.

Later, he would have successes in the SCCA Trans-Am series, most famously behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang Boss 302. He would also enter the Baja 1000 on a dare, and find successes there too. Once again it was with a Ford, in this case a modified Bronco known as Big Oly.

Jones is survived by his wife Judy, sons PJ and Page, and six grandchildren.