Motorsports icon Al Unser has died at age 82
The driver known as “Big Al” was one of only four in history to win the famed Indy 500, four times. He still holds the record for the most Indy 500 laps led at 644. In 1987, he became the oldest driver to ever win the race at age 47.
The New Mexico native began his racing career in 1957. By 1965, he ran his first Indy 500. In 1970, he went to Indianapolis 500 victory lane for the first time.
Alfred Unser ran 322 Champ Car races over a span of 30 years. He ran his last race in 1993, ending his career with 39 wins.
Unser is survived by wife, Susan, and son, Al Jr.
Roger Penske comments
“We have lost a true racing legend and a champion on and off the track. Al was the quiet leader of the Unser family, a tremendous competitor and one of the greatest drivers to ever race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Roger Penske stated.
“From carrying on his family’s winning tradition at Pikes Peak to racing in NASCAR, sports cars, earning championships in INDYCAR and IROC and, of course, becoming just the second driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, Al had an amazing career that spanned nearly 30 years.”
“He produced two championships and three wins for our race team, including his memorable victory in the 1987 Indy 500 when he famously qualified and won with a car that was on display in a hotel lobby just a few days before. We were honored to help Al earn a place in history with his fourth Indy victory that day, and he will always be a big part of our Team.”
Penske added, “Our thoughts are with the Unser family as they mourn the loss of a man that was beloved across the racing world and beyond.”
J. Douglas Boles comments
“In the 112 years of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Al Unser’s career stands out among the others,” stated J. Douglas Boles, President, Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“His four Indianapolis 500 wins and most laps led in the ‘500’ (644) solidify him as one of the greatest of all time. Al achieved his successes competing against many of the best our sport has ever seen, which makes his accomplishments even more impressive.”
“In addition, his quiet and humble approach outside of the car, combined with his fierce competitive spirit and fearless talent behind the wheel, made Al a fan favorite. He will be remembered as one of the best to ever race at Indianapolis, and we will all miss his smile, sense of humor and his warm, approachable personality.”
Boles added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Susan Unser, the entire Unser family and all Al’s friends and fans.”
Unser was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hall of fame in 1986.