Race legend Al Unser Sr. to make pit stop in Wellington
Three-time national champion and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Sr. will be in Wellington on Tuesday at the Challenger Learning Center for a meet-and-greet session.
The event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. and is co-sponsored by Federal Tire Corporation and Wheatland Karting Association.
Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jill Clark said Unser's trip through Wellington is because of a business relationship with Rick Hamlin and his family.
"Rick and I were talking about race cars and he told me about Unser," Clark said. "And, I thought, 'Wow, that would be great person for racing fans in the area to see.'
"He won't be speaking or anything like that," Clark said. "It just gives racing fans in the area a chance to see and talk to Uncer in person."
Racing fans no doubt recognize the Unser name as one of auto racing's biggest legends. He is a second-generation Unser to race cars and holds the distinction of having won races on paved ovals, road courses and dirt tracks in a single season with only two other Indy drivers. Unser managed that latter feat three years in a row — 1968-1970.
Retired since 1994 to his native state New Mexico, Unser in recent years has been working to build an automobile museum on family land in Albuquerque.
Unser was born in 1939 and began racing in 1957 competing in modified roadsters, sprint cars and midgets. In 1965, he raced in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time and finished ninth. He won the Indy 500 in 1970, leading in all but 10 of the 200 laps and averaging 155.749 miles per hour. His quick pit stops were a factor in the victory, according to his biography on the Unser Racing Museum.
In 1971, he became only the fourth driver ever to achieve back-to-back wins of the Indy 500, something that has not been repeated since. In 1978, Uncer became the first and only driver to win the Triple Crown of 500-milers - Indianapolis, Pocono and Ontario — in a single year.
In 1985, he won his third national championship after taking over the injured Rick Mears' car and beating his son Al Jr. by one point.
In 1987, he surprised the world, including himself, by winning his fourth Indy race while driving a backup car owned by Roger Penske, who had asked Uncer to step in for the injured Danny Ongais in early May. Originally, he wasn't even planning to drive in the race.
Unser retired in 1994 with eight 500-mile victories, 39 career wins and is ranked third on the all-time Indy car victory list. Since retirement he has served as a driver coach and consultant for the Indy Racing League.
Wellington Daily News