matter of fact, I am
The new Parnelli Jones book by Bones Bourcier (As a matter of fact “I am Parnelli Jones” is the title) just came out and it’s fantastic.
–Robin Miller, Miller’s Mailbag, posted 12/21/12
The Way It Is/ The Parnelli Jones storyby Gordon Kirby
At long last, the definitive biography of Parnelli Jones' life and epic racing career has arrived. Published last month by Coastal 181, 'As a matter of fact, I am Parnelli Jones' was written by veteran racing writer Bones Bourcier who's done a superb job of telling Parnelli's story.
Bourcier introduces each chapter and then stands aside to let Parnelli do the talking. Speaking in his quietly direct and very wise voice, Parnelli draws you in with his enthusiasm, pragmatism and warmth as the book evolves into the story of a smart businessman and loving family man who contrasts sharply with the legendary tough guy image of Parnelli in his heydays during the nineteen-sixties.
If anyone defined the American race car driver of the sixties it was Parnelli Jones. Parnelli stands at the pinnacle of the American pantheon with legends from one of the sport's greatest eras like A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney and Mark Donohue.
Full, extensive review at www.gordonkirby.com HERE
Sunday, February 03, 2013
Review by Michael Knight - spindoctor500blog.blogspot.com
Let me just say it straight: As a Matter of Fact, I am Parnelli Jones is one of the two or three
best motorsports' books of the last decade.
And that's no surprise. I've admired writer Bones Bourcier's work for years and it's impossible for me to think anyone could have done a better job telling Parnelli's iconic story. Bourcier is one of those blessed souls who has a knack for something and has been able to be successful at it -- as Jones was.
Talk about the right man for the job: That's Bones Bourcier writing about Parnelli Jones.
Bourcier's "trick" for this effort is to include an "eyewitness" account after every chapter, adding a nice perspective and context, from the likes of A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Tony Stewart and others. (Mario Andretti penned the foreword and afterword.) Almost every book I read has pages or chapters which fail to keep me engaged. Not this one. Of course, credit for that rightly goes to Parnelli -- he's one of those rare people everyone knows simply by a first name -- whose road to becoming one of racing's all-time greats is a classic American success story. Grit, determination, talent, teaming up with the right people, and a little luck made him a winner in everything he raced. In a remarkably brief career -- which, thankfully, was his own choice.
One amazing fact I was reminded of in the book: Jones never spent a night in a hospital as a result of a racing accident. He came close after his car caught fire in the 1964 Indy 500 and he famously bailed-out on pit road. But, think about that, in racing's most dangerous era, Parnelli -- as tough a racer as there ever was -- avoided tragedy that got others, as recounted hard cover in a bit under 300 pages with marvelous photos from Jones' own collection. And, remember, Parnelli was doing this in risky sprinters and midgets, as well as Indy, NASCAR and USAC stockers and sports cars. And even in off-road competition.
Like most people, I guess, I best remember Parnelli at the Indy 500 -- especially his 1963 win (happy 50th anniversary!), 1964 bail-out, and near-miss in 1967 in the STP turbine. It's incredible to think he only ran Indy seven times and, no doubt, left a lot of great winning opportunities on the table there. He ran at the front in roadsters, rear-engine cars, and the turbine. But I also recall his heroic drives in sprint cars, on the dirt, in the Trans-Am series (still love those Grabber Orange Ford Mustangs!) when that was probably the best series in the country, as an Indy and championship-winning team owner, and his try to field a Formula One entry for Andretti. I respect Parnelli as one of the early drivers-as-media-celebrities, remembering him on Johnny Carson, magazine covers, in print ads and TV commercials. He not only could drive -- he could sell.
Here's one of my favorite quotes, especially considering Parnelli's aggressiveness behind the wheel:
"Sometimes it seems like A.J. is still in the middle of his old rivalries with Mario, Bobby Unser, and probably a few more guys. Foyt's a friend of mine, and I wish he'd see that life is a lot more enjoyable once you just let those things go.
"I've seen guys hurt, seen guys killed, seen some terrible things. We all have. And to me, once you've passed through that dangerous phase of a race driver's life, I think you ought to love life more. When you've survived the stuff we did, you ought to smell the roses every day and enjoy yourself."
A proper telling of racing history needed -- demanded -- Parnelli's bio.
Cars & Competition
March 28, 2013, by Kay Presto
Reading Parnelli Jones’ newest book, "As a matter of fact, I am Parnelli Jones," will hold you spellbound for hours as you weave through this incredible life story of the famed Rufus Parnell Jones. During his remarkable racing career, Parnelli conquered every form of racing in which he competed – beginning with the half-mile dirt tracks all the way to the highest ranks of Victory Lane in the Indianapolis 500, winning races and garnering championships in an impressive list of the most hard-fought, hard-driven forms of motorsports competition.
Full Review Here