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Al Unser Sr. (1939–2021), four-time Indy 500 winner

by Linnea Crowther

Al Unser Sr. was a racing driver who became one of only four people to win the Indianapolis 500 four times.

Racing family

Unser came from a family of auto racers, known for their wins at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb as well as at the Indianapolis 500. His brother, Bobby Unser (1934–2021), was the first in the family to win the Indy 500, but Unser followed him two years later with his first win in 1970. He would go on to win at Indy in 1971, 1978, and 1987, becoming the oldest winner at 47 in 1987. He was the fourth driver to win two consecutive Indy 500s, and the second to win four times. His son, Al Unser Jr., is also a racing driver, with two Indy 500 wins. Unser holds a record for leading 644 laps over the course of his Indy 500 career. Unser also raced in NASCAR and IROC, coming in fourth at the 1968 Daytona 500 and winning the 1978 IROC championship. Unser and his family owned and operated the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Unser on his first Indy win

“The easiest (Indy) race I won was that year. Regardless of what decision I made that day it worked out.” —from a 2020 interview for the Albuquerque Journal

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Tributes to Al Unser Sr.

Full obituary: The New York Times

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