Our next Centennial Interview Series feature is the first to involve an Unser as we spoke with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. Al started by telling us about watching his father race at IMS and the love for the Speedway embedded in him at a young age by that experience. He then spoke about his memories of his rookie year in 1983 and addressed the controversy surrounding whether he was blocking Tom Sneva in an attempt to help his dad win that event. He also talked in great detail about his race-ending contact with Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989 and what was going through his mind as he walked up to the track to show Emmo his thumbs-up. Al went on to describe his first winning year in 1992 and shared what his car was doing and what he was thinking as he approached the line to take the closest win in Indianapolis 500 history. He also spoke about Penske’s dominance in his second winning year in 1994 and contrasted that with the difficult emotions he faced by not making the race in 1995. He also shared his feelings about being absent from the Speedway for the first few years of the split and how he felt when he returned in 2000. He described working for Roger Penske during the Month of May, what’s changed at Indianapolis since his early career, and what he tells young drivers today while coaching them through the Rookie Orientation Program. Finally, after pinpointing a favorite memory and a greatest disappointment from his career at the Speedway, Al does his best to describe exactly how much The Greatest Spectacle in Racing means to him (though his tone says far more than his words).
To listen, use the player below or search for More Front Wing on iTunes.