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R.I.P Llyod Ruby 1928 - 2009


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Racing legend Lloyd Ruby dies

Times Record News

Originally published 08:52 a.m., March 24, 2009

Updated 08:52 a.m., March 24, 2009

 

 

Photo by Jason Palmer/Times Record News

 

Indianapolis 500 legend Lloyd Ruby (Jason Palmer/Times Record News)

 

Courtesy Photo Wichita Falls racing legend Lloyd Ruby. Ruby raced in 18 Indianapolis 500 races. His best Indy finish was 3rd in 1964.

 

Times Record News File Photo Racing legend Lloyd Ruby holds a copy of the new Wichita Falls Hometown Directory, which features several pictures of Ruby.

 

 

Racing legend Lloyd Ruby, a lifelong resident of Wichita Falls, passed away Monday night in Wichita Falls. He was 81.

 

Services are pending at Lunn’s Colonial Funeral Home.

 

Ruby won seven times on the USAC Championship Car Series in his career and also had endurance racing victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the United States Grand Prix.

 

But he is best known for the race he didn’t win.

 

Ruby raced in 18 straight Indianapolis 500s from 1960-77, led in five of them and was out front for 126 laps. But he never won open wheel racing’s most prestigious prize.

 

His biography, written by Ted Buss in 2000, was titled: "Lloyd Ruby: The Greatest Driver Never to Win the Indy 500."

 

Ruby’s best finish at Indianapolis was third in 1964. His only top five finish at the 500 came in 1968. Five other times he placed in the top 10.

 

In 1991, he was inducted into the Indianapolis 500 Hall of Fame.

 

"He is so respected by the other drivers he ran against back then. Everybody knows and loves him. He is one of the greatest guys there has ever been," Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson said.

 

Davidson joined racing greats Johnny Rutherford, Parnelli Jones and Al and Bobby Unser in Wichita Falls when the Lloyd Ruby Overpass was named in honor of their racing friend. Rutherford, Jones and the Unser brothers represent 11 Indy 500 victories.

 

"When I was coming up through the ranks of racing, Lloyd Ruby was my hero, said Al Unser, a four-time 500 winner."He was honest and a hard racer. He didn’t pull bad things on you. You could run wheel to wheel with him and you didn’t have to worry about Lloyd. He made the race car talk.

 

"He was just as good as anybody. He was never secondary. Look at the record book. He should have won it (Indy) five or six times. Things just seem to happen. You wonder why people with the ability of Lloyd were not able to win. But he won everything else."

 

Ruby teamed with Ken Miles for his endurance wins at Daytona and Sebring in 1966 and also the World Sportscar Championship in 1966 and 1968.

 

"If I could drive like him just once, I’d be happy," said Wichitan Eddie Hill, a one-time NHRA Top Fuel national champion on the drag racing circuit. "They’re aren’t many people whose names immediately evoke a smile, but Lloyd Ruby will always hold that distinguished honor in the Hill house. We love him."

 

Ruby’s racing career was honored with the Bruton Smith Legends Award at the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame in Fort Worth in 2005.

 

Last year he was inducted into the Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Tulsa and also named co-recipient of the Louis Meyer Award along with Helio Castroneves at the Auto Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony and special recognition dinner in Indianapolis.

 

From the Times Record News in Wichita Falls, Texas

www.trnonline.com

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It has been announced in other sections and on many other forums around the country. But it really warrants mention on this, the primary section of this forum. Lloyd Ruby, one of my heros passed away last night.

 

In the words of Tom Taylor ............ "Back when the Indianapolis 500 really meant something." Thats when Lloyd Ruby raced in it. Back when I was a kid growing up, people would eagerly await the annual radio broadcast of the "Greatest Specticle In Racing," the Indianapolis 500. All of us around here knew those four great Texans would be racing that day, and we always hoped the winner would be one of those four great Texas drivers ............ Ruby, Foyt, McElreath or Rutherford.

 

You will truly be missed. Rest in Peace Mr. Ruby.

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Lloyd Ruby

 

I met and knew Lloyd Ruby from the days when USAC regularly came to Texas World Speedway in College Station for Indy Champ car races.

 

I knew Lloyd Ruby when I attended the 24 Hours of Daytona and watched him co-drive his first sports car race in a Ford Mark VII powered by a 427 cid engine. He was smooth and fast.

 

I knew Lloyd Ruby whose most memorable trait was that he was not only a racer's-racer, but that he was a gentleman from Wichita Falls, Texas.

 

When his funeral date and time is announced, it would not be a surprise to hear that the "whose-who" from USAC champ car racing attend in his honor.

 

Lloyd Ruby - RIP

 

 

Neil Upchurch

Former Race Director

Texas World Speedway

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