On Saturday, June 8, the Vukovich family, motorsport royalty with Central Valley roots, was honored at Fresno City Hall with a plaque marker.
The event paid tribute to three generations of the Vukovich family: Bill Vukovich Sr., a two-time winner of the Indy 500, his son Bill Jr., and his grandson Billy III.
Bill Sr. was slated to win the Indy 500 in 1952, but a broken pin prevented this feat. He came back and won the major automobile race in 1953 and 1954.
Bill Jr. had 12 starts at Indy with six top-10 finishes. His best finish was second place in 1973.
Bill Vukovich III started three Indy 500s and was an emerging open-wheel racing star. Unfortunately, Bill III was killed in a crash at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield in Nov. 1990. He was 27 years old.
Clovis Roundup spoke briefly with Winona Caves, the daughter of former racecar driver Johnny Boyd. “My dad raced with Bill Sr., and I grew up with Bill Jr. This memorial to the Vukovich family is a well-deserved honor,” she said.
Fresno mayor Lee Brand declared June 8 as Vukovich Day.
The marker was presented by the American Racing Memorial Association. The marker will be moved next to the Bill Vukovich Sr. monument in front of Selland Arena.