Champion race car driver
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One on one with Johnny Rutherford
So says the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion, who retired from Indy Car racing in 1994.
During more than three decades of competitive driving, he wound up in the Victory Circle at every major track in the nation, leaving few career goals unaccomplished. Yet Rutherford–who in 59 500-mile starts logged five victories, six second places, and 25 Top-10 finishes–admits it was hard to call it quits. “It’s not easy to get out of the cockpit and stand around and watch the other guys having a good time.”
Not that speaker Johnny Rutherford, has left racing altogether. He works for the Indy Racing League as a special-events director, which includes driving the pace cars at all of the events. He also works in an advisory capacity for Pennzoil, the company that sponsored his third Indy 500 victory in 1980. “And I’m trying to help my son get a sponsorship to continue his career.”
Rutherford’s 30-year-old son John ran his first full season last year in Formula Atlantic cars. Rutherford and his wife of 36 years, Betty, also have a daughter, Angela, 28, and two grandsons.