Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser, Jr., a member of racing's fastest family, was raised in the rugged West.
Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser, Jr., a member of racing’s fastest family, was raised in the rugged West. An avid snowmobiler and outdoorsman, Al grew up watching his father, Al, Sr., a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and his Uncle Bobby, a three-time Indy winner. Between them, the Unsers have won the Indianapolis 500 a remarkable nine times.
Known in the racing world as “Little Al” in deference to the career achievements of his legendary father, Al says, “he’s taught me everything I know, but he hasn’t taught me everything he knows.”
In addition to Al’s two Indy 500 wins, he is a two-time CART champion (1990, 1994), two-time Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona winner (1986, 1987), and two-time IROC champion (1986, 1988). Al has also competed in NASCAR events, including the Daytona 500.
Al made his CART debut in 1982 and competed full-time in 1983. He recorded his first Series win in 1984 on Father’s Day.
The 1985 campaign was a storybook season when he finished second in the Series standings to his father, by one point. In 1990, Al, Jr. was named “Driver of the Year” and became the first second-generation Series champion, behind his father. In 1992 he won his first Indy 500, by history’s closest margin of 0.043 seconds, again following in his father’s Indy-winning footsteps.
In 1994, Al won both the Indy 500 and the Series championship a second time. He was named “1994 Athlete of the Year” by ABC Sports and in the same year received the ESPY Award for Auto Racing Performer of the Year. It was 1994 through the 1999 season that Al, Jr. drove for Team Penske, during which time he compiled one CART Championship, one Indy 500 victory and a total of twelve race wins.
The 2000 season saw Al, Jr. move to the Indy Racing League (IRL) with team owner Rick Galles, a trusted friend and fellow Albuquerque native. Jr.’s move to the IRL was largely governed by his feverish passion to compete again in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Serving the IRL Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as spokesman, Al, Jr. was truly in his element as the vast majority of IRL races are held on ovals, which is where his true expertise lies. The 2000 winner of the IRL’s “Most Popular Driver Award”, Al, Jr. is truly an All-American.
For the 2002 and 2003 IRL seasons, Al, Jr. found a new home at front-running Kelley Racing. A team with a storied history in IRL competition, Al fit in immediately with the team and finished in the top ten in championship points.
Al Unser, Jr. has accomplished in one season what many drivers dream of achieving over their entire career. He embodies racing’s super competitive spirit.
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