Great Racer, John Hollansworth Has Passed Away

July 26, 2023

John Hollansworth
Longtime Great Racer John Hollansworth has passed away at age 92 at his home in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. John was best know for piloting the 1917 Peerless Green Dragon for more than 20 years on the Great Race. He helped get Hagerty involved in the event decades ago with their sponsorship of his car, which holds the distinction of being in more Great Races and having covered more miles than any other vehicle. John had a collection in Arkansas which included cars from all eras, including his son’s Indianapolis 500 entry from the 1990s. He was a great competitor and loved all forms of motorsports. He raced Midgets and IndyCars in the mid-60s with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Parnelli Jones. He competed in the Motorcycle Cannonball with a pre-World War I bike at age 80. A Celebration of Life is planned for July 31, and additional information can be found here:

4 comments about “Great Racer, John Hollansworth Has Passed Away”

  • John is a Great Race legend. It was my great honor to navigate for him in his 1940 Cadillac in the 2013 Great Race. He was kind and generous and we made some great memories that year (including getting back in our minute after starting 30 minutes late after having to buy new tires that morning!). He was a tremendous competitor and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

  • The tributes for John Hollansworth sounds like he was a treasure for the racing sport. I’ve enjoyed seeing the Great Race several times when it stopped here in Springfield, MO. I have a 1986 Poster of the race that I purchased when they stopped here at the Springfield Zoo. It has been hanging in my garages since that time. Bring the Great Race back through Springfield anytime–but make it soon because I am now 90.

  • A good story about a good guy, here Is another:

    On all my 11 Great American Races I would self address stamped envelopes to me and write on the back in a red flare HELP, PLEASE SEND ME A COPY OF THAT PICTURE YOU JUST TOO OF CAR # 37. Inside with our Press Release/Story, Race information, Stickers & Sponsor coupons, I explained this way I’ll have a picture for our when we get home. I do have a lot of great Scap books too!
    One year we were driving along on the Green River in front of the Palisades in Wyoming. When we got home there was a 16 X 20″ printed on canvas, with note, “As Requested”.

    People are great, Pay It Forward.

  • John introduced me to the “Cabbage Heads” when I bought my 68 E type off Bob Simak, one of the retired eclectic group that John put together in Hot Springs Village to restore old vehicles. I was fortunate enough to visit many times. When I met John picking the car up to drive to California he invited me to the Salt Flats that summer for the 100th anniversary which he was to run a recreation they had made of the Ab Jenkins special. We became part of the pit crew in an event I will never forget. John was a happy generous soul who loved anything auto, surrounded himself with like minded fellows and was loved and admired by many. I will remember him fondly and miss him dearly.

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