Bobby Unser, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and part of the only pair of brothers to win “the greatest spectacle in racing”, has died. He was 87.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway died Monday at its home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, natural causes. Unser won the Indy 500 in 1968, 1975 and 1981.
His younger brother, Al, is one of only three four-time Indy 500 winners in race history. Al Unser won races in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987. The tradition of the Unser family reached Al Unser’s son, Al Unser Jr., who won the Indy 500 in 1992 and 1994.
“Bobby was a ferocious competitor on the track, and his grown-up personality made him one of the most loved and unique racers we’ve ever seen,” said Roger Penske, the current owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the team’s Unser’s 1981 Indy 500 winning car for the owner.
“Beyond his many wins and achievements, Bobby was a true racer who enhanced the performances of everyone around him. He was one of the most colorful characters in motorsports. “
Bobby Unser was born in Colorado, Colorado on February 20, 1934 and moved to New Mexico with his family as a child. His father owned a garage along Route 66 and his brother roamed the old water falls before he began his racing career at Roswell New Mexico Speedway in 1949.
After two years in the US Air Force from 1953 to 1955 – a stint for which he was always proud – Ansar turned to full-time racing and became one of the greatest racers in the history of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He was one of only 10 drivers to win the 500 at least three times and Unser and Rick Mears are the only drivers to win the 500 in three different decades. Unser was one of six members of the Unser family to race in the Indianapolis 500.
His final Indy 500 victory in 1981 came in Penske’s entry in one of the most controversial results. Unser won the pole and defeated Mario Andretti by 5.18 seconds, but officials saw Unser illegally pass the cars while exiting the pit lane under caution – drawing a penalty, which earned him a spot And made Andretti the winner.
Penske and Unseer appealed and the penalty was revoked in October of that year after a lengthy process. It was the 35th and final win of Anseer’s career.
In Indianapolis, Anseer produced 10 top-10 finishes in 19 career starts. He led 10 races for a total of 440 laps, ranking 10th on the all-time list to date. He won two polls in 1972 and 1981, and had nine front row starts.
“Bobby Unser was a legend when you refer to the icon in racing and in particular at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Doug Bowles, president of Speedway. “He can drive in any type of car and any type of track and win. And that was magical in Indy. “
After his driving career, Unser went on to broadcast and won an Emmy Award for coverage of the 1989 Indianapolis 500 as part of the ABC Sports broadcast team for “Outstanding Live Sports Special.”
Unser is survived by his wife, Lisa; Sons Bobby Jr. and Robbie; And daughters Cindy and Jerry.