Unser Jr., Foyt to team up
Al Unser Jr. will tote six Indianapolis 500 driving victories and a lot more history when the No. 50 ABC Supply Co. entry makes its qualifications attempt for the 91st Indianapolis 500.
Unser, a two-time winner of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," is joining forces with A.J. Foyt Racing and its full-time IndyCar Series driver, Darren Manning, for the Month of May. Their Honda-powered Dallaras will take the track for the first time May 8. The run for the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award is May 12.
The No. 50 car is in recognition of Foyt's 50th anniversary in Indy car racing. The 91st Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 27, will be Foyt's 50th in a row as a participant. He won in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977 as a driver and in 1999 as a team owner.
Unser will be the 50th driver - and second Unser -- to run for Foyt since he began owning race cars in 1965.
Al Unser made his 500-Mile Race debut in a Foyt car in '65, qualifying 32nd on Bump Day and finishing ninth. The last of his four victories came in 1987, tying Foyt's record.
"It's a real honor to be driving for A.J., especially during his 50th anniversary season and especially at Indy," said Al Unser Jr., who turned 45 on April 19. "A.J. has so much history at the Speedway, and the Unsers are a part of that history. A.J. played a big role in getting my dad started at Indy in '65, so when A.J. called me to drive for him, I felt honored and very proud."
Unser will seek to make his 19th Indy 500 start. Unser has recorded seven top-five finishes since his rookie year in 1983, including victories in 1992 with Galles Racing and 1994 with Team Penske.
His first victory came by just .0043 of a second over Scott Goodyear in the closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history. He also became part of Indy lore when he finished second in 1989. Unser and eventual winner Emerson Fittipaldi banged wheels while dueling for the lead with less than two laps remaining, sending Unser into the outside wall in Turn 3.
"Al Jr. is a really talented driver whose experience will bring a lot of good things to our team this month," said Foyt, who won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack. "I'm looking forward to working with him at Indy.
"We've stepped up our IndyCar Series program overall this year in a lot of ways. Hiring a veteran like Al Jr., who has won at the Speedway and knows it so well, will help our regular driver, Darren, because it's been a couple years since he's run there. I think this is our best chance at Indy since we won it in '99."
Unser is the third driver named to an Indianapolis 500 seat this week. Playa Del Racing announced veteran Jaques Lazier and rookie Phil Giebler as its drivers May 1.