Al Unser, Jr.

Racing Champion, Indy 500 Winner

You wanted to beat whoever was in front of you in order to win the race, whether it was your father, or your friend, or your cousin.
Al Unser, Jr.

About the Innovator

Given his family background, it would have been more unusual if Al Unser, Jr., hadn’t pursued a career in motorsport. His grandfather and great uncles were fixtures at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in the 1930s and 1940s. His father and uncle won multiple times at Pikes Peak and in the Indianapolis 500. For the Unsers of Albuquerque, racing was the family business.

Little Al – the nickname that distinguished him from his father, Al Unser, Sr. – was a veteran sprint car driver at an age when most kids don’t even have a learner’s permit. He won his first major championship while racing sports cars in the Can-Am series in 1982. Unser competed in the International Race of Champions (IROC)– motorsport’s version of an all-star game – starting in 1986. When he earned the series championship that year, at age 24, he was IROC’s youngest title winner. Unser won a second IROC championship in 1988. For good measure, he also took the checkered flag at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1986 and 1987.

Unser followed his family into Indy car racing in 1982. He finished second – to his father – in series point standings in 1985, and he won his first Indy car series championship in 1990. Another championship came in 1994. In between, Unser won his first Indianapolis 500 in 1992. When he earned his second Indy 500 win in 1994, it was the ninth time an Unser made the trip to Victory Lane at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Al Unser, Jr., retired from competitive driving in 2004.

Why He Innovates

Throughout his career, Al Unser, Jr., appreciated the speed at which American auto racing moves. The cars are fast, but new ideas and innovations spread even faster. Unser worked with the best teams and the best cars to keep his competitive edge.