This week begins with some sad news as three-time Indianapolis 500 winning driver Bobby Unser passed away late Sunday night after a lengthy illness at the age of 87.
Upon reflecting on the life of this Indy 500 legend (who is also a 10-time Pikes Peak Hill Climb champion), a line from Dr. Seuss comes to mind: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Not only was Unser one of IndyCar racing’s most legendary drivers, he was also one of its greatest personalities. He was fast and fearless on the track, and talkative and controversial outside of the car.
He won 37 IndyCar Series races in both the United States Auto Club (USAC) and CART. He also won 52 poles in his career. His Indy 500 wins came in 1968, 1975 and 1981.
Once his racing career was over, Unser became part of ABC’s television crew that telecast the Indianapolis 500 and other IndyCar races on TV. His personality and bombastic style made him a fan favorite.
The episode of Pit Pass Indy is entirely devoted to Unser as host Bruce Martin gives his highly personal reflections on a driver who was a hero as a youngster and became a close friend in life.
Racing legend and 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti, a friend with Unser for most of his career and one of his fiercest rivals, gives his thoughts on Unser. Also, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears pays tribute to his former teammate at Penske Racing.
Instead of recapping the doubleheader action at Texas Motor Speedway this past weekend, those interviews will be part of next week’s show on Pit Pass Indy.