January 12, 1928|
Wichita Falls, Texas, U.S.
|Died||March 23, 2009
Wichita Falls, Texas, U.S.
Lloyd Ruby (January 12, 1928 – March 23, 2009) was an American racecar driver.
Ruby raced in the USAC Championship Car series in the 1958-1977 seasons, with 177 career starts, including every Indianapolis 500 race during 1960-1977. He finished in the top ten 88 times, with 7 victories. His best Indy finish was 3rd in 1964. In 1966 he led the Indy 500 for 68 laps.
Ruby also had endurance racing victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. He was booked to drive in the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hour Race, however did not start as he suffered spinal injuries in a plane crash after taking off from Indianapolis Motor Speed Way Airport.
However, he is best known for the race he didn’t win. His biography, written by Ted Buss in 2000, was titled: "Lloyd Ruby: The Greatest Driver Never to Win the Indy 500." Ruby led five of them for a total of 126 laps, however his best finish at Indianapolis was third in 1964. His only other top five finish at the 500 came in 1968. Five other times he placed in the top 10. In 1991, he was inducted into the Indianapolis 500 Hall of Fame.
Ruby had another strong chance at winning in 1969. With leader Mario Andretti suffering overheating problems and forced to nurse his car, Ruby was in strong position to score an upset victory. But at the end of a mid-race pit stop, a crew member motioned Ruby to exit a fraction of a second too early. The refueling nozzle was still engaged in the car's left saddle tank, and as Ruby dropped the clutch, the car lurched forward and the nozzle ripped a hole in the gas tank. Andretti, the eventual winner, admitted later he could not have held Ruby off had the Texan remained in the race.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson joined racing greats Johnny Rutherford, Parnelli Jones and Al and Bobby Unser in Wichita Falls when the Lloyd Ruby Overpass was named in honor of their racing friend.
Ruby also participated in endurance racing and won the 1965 Daytona 2000 km and the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona, both times partnering with Ken Miles. He and Miles also won the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1966 World Sportscar Championship. Ruby also teamed with Denny Hulme in a Ford GT 40 Mk IV for the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans. He also raced in the 1961 United States Grand Prix.
Ruby’s racing career was honored with the Bruton Smith Legends Award at the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame in Fort Worth in 2005. in 2008, he was inducted into the Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Tulsa and also named co-recipient of the Louis Meyer Award along with Helio Castroneves at the Auto Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony and special recognition dinner in Indianapolis.
Indy 500 results
- Ruby owns three of the top ten five-race finishing streaks in the 1960s
World Championship career summary
The Indianapolis 500 was part of the FIA World Championship from 1950 through 1960. Drivers competing at Indy during those years were credited with World Championship points and participation. Lloyd Ruby participated in 2 World Championship races: the 1960 Indianapolis 500 and the 1961 United States Grand Prix. He scored no championship points.
Complete Formula One World Championship results
|1960||J C Agajanian||Watson||Offenhauser Straight-4||ARG
|1961||J Frank Harrison||Lotus 18||Climax Straight-4||MON
- Hevesi, Dennis (March 25, 2009). "Lloyd Ruby, Star-Crossed Indy 500 Racer, Dies at 81". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- Baime, A, J. 2009. Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and their battle for speed and glory at Le Mans. London: Bantam Books p. 309.