Q: What’s the name of the former race car driver from Coffeyville, Kan., who won the Indianapolis 500 three times?
A: Johnny Rutherford
Retired race car driver Johnny Rutherford was born John Sherman Rutherford III on March 12, 1938, in Coffeyville, Kan. Also known as "Lone Star JR," he’s best known for being one of the few drivers to win the prestigious Indianapolis 500 mile race at least three times. Rutherford won the Indy 500 in 1974, 1976 and 1980. In addition to Indy car racing, Rutherford also participated in stock car racing, making 35 NASCAR Winston Cup starts from 1963 to 1988. Even before he officially retired from racing in 1994, Rutherford had become an analyst for racing events on radio and TV. He’s also worked as a driver coach and racing consultant.
Fun Factoid: Two other native Kansans have won the Indy 500 more than once. Rodger Ward (born in Beloit) won the Indy 500 twice. And Rick Mears (born in Wichita) won the so-called “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” FOUR times!
2nd Fun Factoid: Kansas is tied with the state of Indiana for having the most Indy 500 wins. Each state can boast nine victories. Kansas did it with just three, Kansas-born drivers (Ward, Rutherford and Mears). Indiana has also won the big race nine times, but did so with seven different drivers.