Vukovich Family honored with memorial plaque at Fresno City Hall

Bill Jr. and Joyce Vukovich were in attendance for the tribute. (Donna Melchor/CLOVIS ROUNDUP)

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.

Championship Midget Racer driven by legendary Billy Vukovich. (Donna Melchor/CLOVIS ROUNDUP)

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.