“In my jalopy days,” Parnelli says, “we had 200 cars show up; they only took 16 for the main event, 16 for the semi, then the rest for the Hooligan race (Hooligan was for new and non-qualified drivers). You learned to hustle and kick every aspect, every possible opportunity you could possibly take. When I went into other kinds of racing I didn’t have that kind of competition. I knew how to maximize everything out of the car but it wasn’t always in the best interest of me finishing a race.” Parnelli knew in the open-wheel, open-cockpit race car days, which took so many promising race drivers lives back then, that it was just a matter of time before his number came up. His brother Paul was involved in two significant crashes in Sprint Cars so when Parnelli met his future wife, Judy, he declined to drive those types of cars because he wanted to raise a family. That didn’t stop him from extending his kick-butt style of driving when he got into caged cars however.