4/7/1918 - 8/9/1984
Midget racer who went on to drive in 10 consecutive Indy 500's, finishing second in 1949 and winning in 1950. Johnnie Parsons died 38 years ago, he was 66
Johnnie began racing in open wheel cars in races run by the United Midget Association on the West Coast after World War II. In 1942 he won the abbreviated UMA Championship on the strength of 18 feature wins.
In 1948 he won the third feature of the “Night Before the 500” midget program at the famous 16th Street Speedway.
The following year, after starting 12th in his first Indianapolis 500, he finished 2nd behind Bill Holland and went on to win the National Driving Championship.
In 1950 he was back at Indy, this time winning the rain-shortened race. He became a crowd favorite and competed in eight more 500's before retiring in 1958.
He served as Chief Steward for the USAC Midget Division on the West Coast in the early 1970s.
At 66 years old and underwent quintuple bypass surgery and died in 1984 before receiving notification of his selection for the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
Parsons has the dubious distinction of being the only Indianapolis 500 winner to have his name misspelled on the Borg-Warner Trophy. Silversmiths carved "Johnny" instead of "Johnnie." The error was corrected posthumously when the trophy was restored in 1991. Ironically, his son was named Johnny and though he ran at Indy 12 times, he never won the race.