The Indianapolis Motor Speedway confirmed on Monday that Bill Vukovich II, the 1968 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year and the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bill Vukovich, died at the age of 79.

California native Vukovich made 12 starts in the “500” between 1968-80, with six top-10 finishes. His best result was second in the rain-shortened race in 1973, driving the No. 2 Sugaripe Prune Eagle/Offy fielded by Jerry O’Connell.

That result started a three-year stretch of excellence at the Speedway for Vukovich, who finished third in 1974 and sixth in 1975. His best qualifying effort also came in 1975, when he started eighth in the No. 6 Cobre Tire Eagle/Offy fielded by Fletcher Racing.

Vukovich competed in INDYCAR from 1965-82, making 185 starts with 85 top-ten finishes with his sole career victory came at Michigan International Raceway on September 16, 1973.

Motorsports brought Vukovich much acclaim, but the sport also took a tragic toll on his family. His father, Bill Vukovich, died from injuries suffered in an accident while leading the 1955 Indianapolis 500 as he was trying to win the race for an unprecedented third consecutive year. Bill Vukovich II’s son, 1988 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Billy Vukovich III, also suffered fatal injuries during practice for a sprint car race in November 1990 at Bakersfield, California.



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