We Lose Another Great One - Lloyd Ruby Passes

Racing legend Lloyd Ruby, a lifelong resident of Wichita Falls, passed away Monday night in Wichita Falls. He was 81. Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Wichita Falls MPEC, Exhibit Hall A. Visitation will be from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday at Lunn’s Colonial Funeral Home. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery. 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.