Johnnie Parsons

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Johnnie Parsons
Born(1918-07-04)July 4, 1918
DiedSeptember 8, 1984(1984-09-08) (aged 66)
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited States American
Active years19501958
TeamsKurtis Kraft, Kuzma
Entries9
Championships0
Wins1
Podiums1
Career points12
Pole positions0
Fastest laps1
First entry1950 Indianapolis 500
First win1950 Indianapolis 500
Last win1950 Indianapolis 500
Last entry1958 Indianapolis 500

Johnnie Woodrow Parsons[1] (July 4, 1918 – September 8, 1984) was an American race car driver from Los Angeles, California who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1950.

During his racing career, he drove for several seasons, including his AAA championship and Indianapolis 500 win, for Ed Walsh's team. Walsh was an owner of Kurtis Kraft, the leading constructor of AAA championship cars. Parsons was a charger, needing cars to race against, frequently moving from last on the grid to a win in spectacular displays of dirt track driving ability.

Johnnie Parsons had the dubious distinction of being the only Indianapolis 500 winner to have his name misspelled on the Borg-Warner Trophy. The silversmith carved "Johnny" instead of "Johnnie." He had a son named Johnny who competed at Indy a dozen times. In 1991, during a trophy restoration project, it was proposed to correct the spelling, albeit posthumously. However, it was decided to keep the error intact, as part of the trophy's lore.

Racing career[edit]

Parsons first raced in open wheel cars on the West Coast of the United States in a midget car. He won the 1942 season championship in the United Midget Association. He won 18 feature events in the abbreviated season.[2] Parsons began racing in the AAA after World War II. He captured the third feature in the 1948 Night Before the 500 midget race at the 16th Street Speedway. Parsons finished second in his first Indy 500 in 1949. He won the season championship that season. He also won the 1950 Indianapolis 500. He won the 1955 Turkey Night Grand Prix midget car race.

After he retired, he became the Chief Steward for the USAC Midget division on the West Coast in the 1970s.

Awards[edit]

Complete AAA Championship Car results[edit]

Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Pos Points
1948 ARL INDY
DNQ
MIL LAN MIL SPR
2
MIL
2
DUQ
11
ATL PIK SPR
13
DUQ
1
11th 700
1949 ARL
1
INDY
2
MIL
13
TRE
11
SPR
3
MIL
1
DUQ
11
PIK SYR
1
DET
12
SPR
1
LAN
1
SAC
5
DMR
15
1st 2.280
1950 INDY
1
MIL
11
LAN
DNS
SPR
DNQ
MIL
DNS
PIK SYR
DNQ
DET
16
SPR
DNQ
SAC
11
PHX
3
BAY
DNQ
DAR
1
3rd 1.313
1951 INDY
21
MIL
DNQ
LAN
DNS
DAR
23
SPR MIL
3
DUQ
2
DUQ
16
PIK SYR
17
DET DNC
14
SJS
7
PHX
1
BAY
1
6th 1.012
1952 INDY
10
MIL
DNQ
RAL
22
SPR
DNQ
MIL DET DUQ PIK SYR DNC SJS
16
PHX
1
18th 350
1953 INDY
26
MIL SPR
DNQ
DET
8
SPR
4
MIL
21
DUQ
3
PIK SYR
12
ISF
3
SAC
15
PHX
16
13th 435,5
1954 INDY
32
MIL
16
LAN DAR
30
SPR
DNQ
MIL DUQ
7
PIK SYR
8
ISF
16
SAC
DNQ
PHX
DNQ
LVG
DNQ
33rd 122,5
1955 INDY
21
MIL LAN SPR MIL
9
DUQ
DNQ
PIK SYR
DNQ
ISF SAC PHX 39th 53,2
1956 INDY
4
MIL
17
LAN DAR ATL SPR MIL
11
DUQ
DNQ
SYR
DNP
ISF SAC
DNQ
PHX 13th 650
1957 INDY
16
LAN MIL DET ATL SPR MIL
7
DUQ SYR ISF TRE SAC PHX 27th 120
1958 TRE INDY
12
MIL
Wth
LAN ATL SPR MIL DUQ SYR ISF TRE SAC PHX 34th 50
1959 DAY TRE INDY
DNP
MIL LAN SPR MIL DUQ SYR ISF TRE SAC PHX - 0

Indianapolis 500 results[edit]

Parsons's misspelled likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy
  • Parsons initially failed to qualify for the 1957 Indianapolis 500. However, Dick Rathmann (who had qualified) was mugged the day before the race and therefore deemed unable to drive. Parsons was selected as replacement driver for the car and allowed to start from the position Dick Rathmann had qualified the car at (in later years such a driver change would see the car in question moved to the rear of the field).

World Championship career summary[edit]

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. Johnnie Parsons participated in 9 World Championship races. He won 1 race, set 1 fastest leading lap, and finished on the podium once. He accumulated a total of 12 championship points.

Parsons is one of only three drivers to win on his world championship début. The other two are Giuseppe Farina, who won the first world championship grand prix, the 1950 British Grand Prix, and Giancarlo Baghetti, who won the 1961 French Grand Prix.

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Points
1950 Wynn's Friction / Kurtis-Kraft Kurtis Kraft 1000 Offenhauser L4 GBR MON 500
1
SUI BEL FRA ITA 6th 9
1951 Wynn's Friction Proofing / Walsh Kurtis Kraft 3000 Offenhauser L4 SUI 500
Ret
BEL FRA GBR GER ITA ESP NC 0
1952 Jim Robbins Kurtis Kraft 1000 Offenhauser L4 SUI 500
10
BEL FRA GBR GER NED ITA NC 0
1953 Belond Equa-Flow Kurtis Kraft 500B Offenhauser L4 ARG 500
Ret
NED BEL FRA GBR GER SUI ITA NC 0
1954 Belond Equa-Flow / Calif. Muffler Kurtis Kraft 500C Offenhauser L4 ARG 500
Ret
BEL FRA GBR GER SUI ITA ESP NC 0
1955 Trio Brass Foundry / Anderson Kurtis Kraft 500C Offenhauser L4 ARG MON 500
Ret
BEL NED GBR ITA NC 0
1956 J.C. Agajanian Kuzma Indy Roadster Offenhauser L4 ARG MON 500
4
BEL FRA GBR GER ITA 18th 3
1957 Sumar/Chapman Root Kurtis Kraft 500G Offenhauser L4 ARG MON 500
16
FRA GBR GER PES ITA NC 0
1958 Fred Gerhardt Kurtis Kraft 500G Offenhauser L4 ARG MON NED 500
12
BEL FRA GBR GER POR ITA MOR NC 0

References[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Bill Holland
Indianapolis 500 winner
1950
Succeeded by
Lee Wallard
Records
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
38 years, 331 days
(1950 Monaco GP)
Youngest Grand Prix
race winner

31 years, 330 days
(1950 Indianapolis 500)
Succeeded by
José Froilán González
28 years, 282 days
(1951 British GP)
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
38 years, 331 days
(1950 Monaco GP)
Youngest driver to set
fastest lap in Formula One

31 years, 330 days
(1950 Indianapolis 500)
Succeeded by
José Froilán González
29 years, 338 days
(1952 Italian GP)
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Fangio
38 years, 323 days
(1950 British GP)
Youngest race leader,
for at least one lap in Formula One

31 years, 330 days
(1950 Indianapolis 500)
Succeeded by
Jimmy Davies
21 years, 285 days
(1951 Indianapolis 500)