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Johnny Rutherford to be honored by RRDC in Long Beach


Contact: Judy Stropus, 203-438-0501; cell 203-243-2438;
Johnny Rutherford to be honored by RRDC in Long Beach
Firestone returns as presenting sponsor for ninth consecutive year
LEWIS CENTER, Ohio (March 7, 2018) - Three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford
will be honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club at the "RRDC Evening with Johnny
 Rutherford Presented by Firestone" in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday, April 12.
This is the RRDC's 10th consecutive annual banquet honoring auto racing's most influential
leaders and icons, and will be held prior to the 44th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of
Long Beach.
Previous honorees were Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian
 Redman, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, George Follmer and Emerson Fittipaldi. These
"RRDC Evenings" are acknowledged as one of the highlights of the auto-racing social
calendar, drawing fans and luminaries from all forms of motorsports.
The Firestone brand will return as presenting sponsor of the RRDC banquet for the
ninth consecutive year.
"It's an honor to have Firestone support the RRDC's Long Beach dinner for the ninth
time," said RRDC President Bobby Rahal. "Firestone has been such an iconic brand
 in all forms of motorsports since as far back as 1911. We salute Firestone for 
its success and contributions to the sport."
The dinner's proceeds will help support the RRDC's young driver initiatives, including
its groundbreaking program and the Team USA Scholarship, which the
RRDC has backed since 1997 and has been providing opportunities for talented young
American race-car drivers since 1990. The Mark Donohue Foundation, a 501(C)(3) tax
exempt organization, was recently formed to further support the initiative.
Information about the Foundation can be found on the RRDC's website
Born in Coffeyville, Kan., in 1938, Rutherford is best known as a driver in what
 is considered IndyCar's golden era, competing against the likes of A.J. Foyt, Mario
Andretti, Parnelli Jones, Rick Mears and the Unsers.
Dubbed "Lone Star JR" due to his Texas heritage (his dad moved the family to Texas
in the early '50s), Rutherford is one of only nine drivers to have won the Indianapolis
500 three times or more. His victories came in 1974, '76 and '80.
However, his career actually began racing modified stock cars in 1959, and he won
his first NASCAR-sanctioned race in 1963, capturing one of the twin 125-mile qualifying
races for the Daytona 500, driving for the legendary Smokey Yunick. That victory
 made him the youngest-ever NASCAR winner at that stage. At the same time, Rutherford
was marking himself as a driver to watch on the open-wheel ranks, especially on 
the dirt.
Two years later, he won the USAC Sprint Car Championship. And the next year he broke
both arms when his car flipped over the fence and out of Eldora Speedway.
Rutherford's breakthrough at Indy came in the mid-1970s when he drove for McLaren
and delivered two Indy 500 wins and a second place over three consecutive years.
 In 1980 he raced Jim Hall's "Yellow Submarine" Chaparral, winning the series championship
and dominating on the ovals.
He was an accomplished road racer as well, piloting a Porsche 935 to second in the
1978 Daytona 24 Hours.
"Johnny has always been a tough, accomplished racer on the track and an absolute
 gentleman off the track," added Rahal. "He always has time to sign an autograph
 or pose for a selfie. He's been the ultimate ambassador for our sport and the RRDC
is privileged to honor him in Long Beach."
The RRDC Evening with Johnny Rutherford Presented by Firestone will be held on Thursday,
April 12, at the Hilton Hotel, 701 West Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, Calif., with cocktails
at 6 p.m., and dinner at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $200 per person ($175 for RRDC members)
if purchased by April 1, and space is limited. Sponsor packages are also available.
All are welcome, but this event is expected to sell out, so early reservations are
recommended. Please contact Jeremy Shaw at
About Firestone Racing:
Firestone Racing is an extension of the Firestone brand that designs and supplies
tires for the Verizon IndyCar® Series. Firestone tires have carried drivers to victory
in world-class motorsports events for more than a century, beginning with the inaugural
Indianapolis 500® in 1911. Firestone was named the official tire of the Verizon 
IndyCar® Series in 2002, and the brand has more Indy 500 wins than all other tire
manufacturers combined. The Firestone brand's on-track success translates to durable,
dependable performance and uncompromising quality of Firestone passenger tires used
on the open road.
About the RRDC:
The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers
a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve
the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional
levels. The Club's membership includes leading industry professionals, race officials
and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.
In 2011, the RRDC launched a free on-line training seminar - - featuring
RRDC members and other industry experts in high-quality videos covering subjects
 from physical and mental preparation to driving techniques, driver safety to car
setup and sponsorship. The videos are updated regularly. Each week, a professional
from the world of motor racing answers readers' questions on the site in a feature
called "Ask a Pro." To date, more than 550,000 racers in 171 countries have viewed
nearly three million video tutorials in 70 languages.
In 2017 The Mark Donohue Foundation, a 501(C)(3) organization, was formed to support
the SAFE is Fast program and to help ensure its operations. Contributions to the
 Foundation are tax deductible.
Bobby Rahal is President, John Fergus is Vice President/Treasurer, and Tom Davey
 is Secretary.
The RRDC presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award, the Mark Donohue Award,
and the Bob Akin Award, and supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting
young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990. The RRDC also honors
icons of the sport at its annual dinner at the Long Beach (Calif.) Grand Prix. Honorees
have been Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Brian Redman, Mario
Andretti, Bobby Unser, George Follmer and Emerson Fittipaldi.
Membership in the RRDC is by invitation only. For more information, visit


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