P.J. Jones passes down the front stretch of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Bump Day for the 2007 Indianapolis 500. Unable to attain enough speed, Jones elected not to make a qualification attempt and was unable to make the field of 33 starters.
Many of the cars that don’t “make the show” can be rather non-descript, but I get the sense that years from now, people will be saying “Hey, you remember that car that was painted to look like one of the old turbine cars?”
Parnelli Jones in the STP Oil Treatment Special
(Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photo)
The car above, fielded by Team Leader Motorsports and driven by P.J. Jones, was painted to look like the one at right, the Pratt & Whitney turbine-powered STP Oil Treatment Special entered by Andy Granatelli and driven by P.J.’s father Parnelli Jones in the 1967 Indianapolis 500. In that race, Parnelli started 6th, set the fastest lap speed on lap number 6, and despite leading 171 laps, finished 6th after completing 196 laps, dropping out due to a bearing failure. (I’m not especially superstitious or whatever, but something tells me there are too many sixes in there for anything other than bad luck to occur)
At any rate, it really would have been fun to see the new car qualify and run in this year’s race. But at Indy, they don’t start the 33 coolest cars or the 33 with the best story behind them, they start the 33 fastest cars. And even though it can be tempting to want to make exceptions from time to time, that’s exactly how it should be.
Photo by Paul Woods, May 20, 2007.
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