Monday, February 20, 2017

Bobby Unser Born In Colorado Springs, Colorado - February 20, 1934

February 20, 1934
Bobby Unser
(Photo: Bobby Unser - Goodwood Festival of Speed 2011 via photopin (license))
Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.
Unser was raised in Denver Colorado for his childhood. When he turned 21 he moved to Albuquerque New Mexico and joined the military in the 1950s. He is the brother of Al Unser, Jerry Unser and Louis Unser, the father of Robby Unser, and the uncle of Al Unser, Jr. and Johnny Unser. He is one of ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times, and one of only two to have won the 500 in three different decades (1968, 75, 81). Bobby has also been a spokesman and advocate of many commercial products.

He won numerous racing championships throughout his career. He debuted in 1955 at Pike's Peak, dubbed "Unser's Peak" because of his family's history of success at the hill climb. He finished fifth that year, behind his two brothers. A year later he won his first of a record 13 championships at Pike's Peak. He won six straight titles from 1958 to 1963. His streak ended in 1964 when his younger brother Al won the race.
(Photo: Bobby Unser via photopin (license))
Bobby Unser, 1963 Pikes Peak winner

Unser raced in his first Indianapolis 500 in 1963. He crashed early and placed thirty-third. His first Indy-car win came in 1967 at Mosport, Ontario. A year later won his first Indianapolis 500, setting the record as the first driver to race over 170 miles per hour at Indianapolis. In 1969 Unser won his first USAC National Driving Championship.

In 1972, Unser set another Indianapolis 500 record for the fastest qualifying time at 195.94 miles per hour. In 1974, he won his second USAC National Driving Championship and a year later he won his second Indianapolis 500 and the 1975 IROC championship. In the late 1970s, Unser won several races in the CART series. In 1980 he became the first driver to win the California 500 four times.

Late in his racing career he joined Team Penske and won 3 races driving for Penske in 1980 and 1981, including the the controversial 1981 Indianapolis 500. Unser won the pole in the #3 Roger Penske-owned car and led the most laps. On lap 149, during a caution period, Bobby and Mario Andretti made their pit stop and headed back to the race. Bobby passed eight cars during the caution, while Mario passed two cars. Unser won the race, but was stripped of it the following morning in favor of second place finisher Mario Andretti. After a 5-month lawsuit and protest by Penske, Bobby Unser was re-awarded the win in October 1981. But the controversy and financial impact caused a bitter Unser to retire from racing at the end of the year. Unser once estimated that the commercial endorsements he lost because of the delayed result cost him $1 million.
(Photo: #3 1981 Penske PC-98 Indy Car via photopin (license))
1981 Penske PC-98 Indy Car
Unser became a television commentator for Indycar races after his retirement working for the ABC, ESPN and the NBC. He also broadcast several NASCAR events between 1986–1994 alongside Ned Jarrett and Bob Jenkins.

He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1994, and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1997.

1 comment:

  1. .....a great open wheel champion and my favorite race car driver !