From the archive: Robin Miller on Parnelli Jones

Of Parnelli Jones’s many, many fans, few were bigger than the late Robin Miller, who famously named him among his ‘Mount Rushmore’ alongside A.J. Foyt, Bobby Unser and Dan Gurney. Jones died on June 4 at the age of 90, and as we salute Jones’s life and extraordinary career, it seems fitting to give Miller the final word on one of the all-time greats.

Winning Indianapolis one time and five other Champ Car races in eight years are hardly Hall of Fame statistics, but numbers never did justice to Rufus Parnelli Jones. The 1963 Indy 500 winner is regarded as one of the best and most versatile drivers ever – by rivals, chief mechanics and just about anyone lucky enough to watch him in a midget sprinter, roadster, dirt car, sports car, stock car, Trans Am or at Baja.

He won in every category except Formula 1, where he never competed but turned down Colin Chapman’s offer to be the team’s B driver. Rufus thrived and survived in open wheel racing’s deadliest era, and never spent one night in the hospital. In his seven starts at Indianapolis, he led 492 laps and could have easily won five of them with a little bit of luck. A.J. Watson said he was the best that ever drove at Indy and Jones’ performances make a pretty good argument.

He’s one of those legends that don’t need a last name: A.J., Mario and Parnelli.

Story originally appeared on Racer