Rufus Parnell “Parnelli”  Jones, famous US racing driver and team owner, started his racing career in 1950s from different classes of stock car racing.  He won 15 races in  the regional  NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model Series. In 1956-60 Parnelli Jones also started in some races in the highest stock car championship – NASCAR Grand National, scoring 3 victories. In 1958 he graduated to sprint car racing sanctioned by California Racing Association (CRA), and in 1960 debuted in his Fike Plumbing Special in the USAC Sprint Car Championship winning the Midwest series, while A.J. Foyt claimed USAC’s Eastern title. The 1960 was also his first season in Big cars – Jones was 18th in the USAC National Championship. In 1961 Parnelli Jones took part in all 4 major USAC series. He focused mostly on the USAC Sprint Car Championship and USAC National Championship, but often raced in the USAC National Midget series and occasionally started in the USAC Stock Car Championship. 

Harlan Fike was a Phoenix area plumbing supplier and contractor who owned some very successful sprint cars and sports cars. Parnelli Jones drove his Fike Plumbing Spl. in 1959 – 1963 sprint car seasons. In 1961 he raced Fike Plumbing #1, as Midwest USAC Sprint Car champion of 1960. Interestingly, there were two #1 cars in the 1961 Sprint Car series –  A.J. Foyt also earned #1 as the Eastern series champion of 1960. The Fike Plumbing car was built by Hank Henry, a master craftsman and sprint car builder of San Diego, California. The engine was  Chevrolet V8 283 cubic inches stock block unit. Jones started slowly in the sprint car season. After first 4 out of 24 races he was in fifth place in the standings, almost 80 points behind the leader, A.J. Foyt. However then he won 5 races in a row. Second and third place in “Twin-Fifties” at Langhorne, two longest 50-mile races with the most points, in August, powered him into the lead, which he never relinquished. In the final part of the season Jones took 4 more wins (at Salem, New Bremen, Williams Grove, and Indianapolis) increasing the lead over Jim Hurtubise and A.J. Foyt, second and third in the standings. So Parnelli Jones became the first USAC Sprint Car Champion after famous Midwest and Eastern circuits were combined in1961.

SeasonSeriesEvent
1961USAC Sprint Car Championship
Driver No.Entrant
Parnelli Jones1Harlan Fike
ChassisEngineCar Name
HenryChevroletFike Plumbing Special
Scale ManufacturerCollection
1:43GMPLimited Edition 1:43 Parnelli Jones 3 Car Set
Cat. No.QualityRarity
1443 / 7682
1443 of 2004 pcs. Limited Edition