Al Unser, Jr.


Al Unser, Jr.

Infobox racing driver
name = Alfred Unser, Jr.



pixels =
caption = Unser before the 2007 Indy 500
nationality = USA
date of birth = birth date and age|1962|4|19
place of birth = Albuquerque, New Mexico
date of death =
retired =
related to = Al Unser (father)
Al Unser III (son)
Bobby Unser (uncle)
Jerry Unser (uncle)
Robby Unser (cousin)
Johnny Unser (cousin)
current series = IRL IndyCar Series
first year = 2000
current team =
car number =
former teams = Galles Racing
Kelley Racing
Patrick Racing
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
A. J. Foyt Enterprises
starts = 56
wins = 3
poles = 0
fastest laps =
best finish = 1st
year =2000, 2001, 2003
prev series = Can-Am
CART
prev series years = 1982
1982-1999
titles = Can-Am Championship
International Race of Champions
CART Championship
title years = 1982
1986, 1988
1990, 1994
awards = Indianapolis 500 winner
ABC Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year
award years = 1992, 1994
1994

Alfred Unser, Jr. (born April 19, 1962 in Albuquerque, New Mexico), nicknamed "Little Al", "Al Junior" or simply "Junior" is an American race car driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner.

History

Early career

Al Unser, Jr. was born into a racing family. He is the son of Al Unser and the nephew of Bobby Unser, who both won the Indianapolis 500 themselves. By the age of 11, Al Junior was racing sprint cars. After high school, he was already in the World of Outlaws series of sprint car racing. He soon moved into road racing, winning the Super Vee title in 1981 and the Can Am title in 1982.

Rising CART star

In 1982, Unser made his debut on the CART circuit. A year later, he competed in his first Indianapolis 500, finishing tenth. Unser continued racing on the CART circuit, becoming one of the series' rising stars. He finished second in the CART championship point standings in 1985, losing to his father by just one point. He began competing in the IROC championship in 1986, winning that championship with two victories in four races. At the age of 24, Unser was the youngest IROC champion ever. Unser won the 1988 and 1986 IROC championships. Unser won the 24 Hours of Daytona, also at age 24.

Unser continued to improve on the CART circuit, finishing fourth in the points standings in 1986, third in 1987, second in 1988 and finally winning the series for the first time in 1990. In 1989, Unser was on the verge of winning his first Indianapolis 500, but while battling with Emerson Fittipaldi for the lead, the two touched wheels and Unser spun out, hitting the wall and ending his chances. Unser would have his day at Indy in 1992, however, defeating Scott Goodyear by 0.043 of a second, the closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history (as of 2007). During the off-season he drove in the 1993 Daytona 500 for Hendrick Motorsports finishing 36th in what would be his only NASCAR start. He ran well in the race. Running with the lead pack all day, until a late race crash.

Penske years

for the 2000 campaign. Unser won a total of 31 races during his 17 seasons in CART.

Indy Racing League

He won his first IRL race that same season at Las Vegas. Unser would go on to win a total of three races in his IRL career, but after breaking his pelvis in an all-terrain vehicle accident in October of 2003, Unser had difficulty securing a ride for the 2004 season. He finally signed with Patrick Racing three races into the season, but after a 22nd-place finish in Richmond, Al Unser, Jr. finally announced his retirement from racing on June 30, 2004. Unser continued to remain involved in racing, however, outside of a racing capacity. He served as an adviser for Patrick Racing and worked as a mentor for his son, Alfred Unser, who is currently working his way through the lower ranks in open-wheel racing.

Post-retirement racing and personal issues

In 2006 Unser announced that he would come back to racing again and he would run the 2006 Indianapolis 500, teamed with fellow former winner Buddy Lazier for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. This came just days after Michael Andretti also came out of retirement to run the 500. Unser qualified 27th in the 33-car field, and consistently ran in the upper half until a crash ended his day.

In late August, Unser took part in an A1 Grand Prix test session at Silverstone.

On 25 January 2007, Unser was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, misdemeanor hit and run, failure to render aid in an accident and failure to report an accident near Henderson, Nevada, USA.

On 2 May 2007, it was announced that Unser would drive a car for racing legend AJ Foyt in the 2007 Indianapolis 500, carrying the No. 50 on his car in recognition of A.J. Foyt's 50 years at the storied race. Unser qualified in the 25th starting position after being bumped from the lineup on the second day of qualifying.

On 18 May 2007, Unser spoke publicly for the first time about his battle with alcoholism when he joined forces with "LIVE outside the Bottle" [http://www.LiveOutsideTheBottle.com] , a national educational campaign to help the public understand the need for addressing and treating alcoholism.

CART career results

ee also

*Al Unser Jr.'s Turbo Racing, a 1990 NES game featuring Unser.
*Al Unser Jr. Arcade Racing, a 1995 computer game featuring Unser. [http://www.mobygames.com/game/al-unser-jr-arcade-racing]

External links

* [http://www.a1teamusatv.com/al_unser_jr.htm Unser Profile on Official A1 TEAM USA Site]
* [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/racing/01/26/unser.ap/index.html?cnn=yes DUI]
* [http://www.LiveOutsideTheBottle.com LIVE Outside The Bottle Official Site]


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