Al Jr., 52, who retired from competitive racing in 2007, had had one of the most distinguished careers in the history of American open wheel racing. In over a quarter of a century at the highest level of competition he started 329 races earning 34 career wins (sixth on the all-time list) including victories at the Indianapolis 500 in 1992 and 1994 and national championships in 1990 and 1994. The native of Albuquerque, New Mexico was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.
"I am very pleased to announce that Al Jr. will be working with the team during the month of May as a driver coach," said KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser. "Obviously, Al brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to the team and will be a huge asset. You don't win the Indianapolis 500 twice and come from a family that has won it nine times without figuring out a few things that the other guys haven't."
Commenting on his role with the team Al Jr., who made his first IndyCar start in 1982 and drove for such legendary owners as Roger Penske, Rick Galles, Doug Shierson, U. E. "Pat" Patrick, Gerald Forsythe, and A. J. Foyt, said, "First and foremost I want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and Steve Moore for this opportunity. I think everyone knows how I feel about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to be able to come back with the defending champions and try and help them repeat means a lot to me. I am just very thankful for this chance to work with the team's drivers and hopefully I can contribute in a meaningful way."
Al Jr. comes from one of motorsports greatest racing families. It includes his father Al Unser, a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Uncles Bobby Unser, a three-time Indy 500 winner and Jerry Unser, plus cousins Robby and Johnny Unser. Al Jr.'s career began in sprint cars in 1978. After three years (two in the World of Outlaw series), he graduated to Super Vee racing, driving for Albuquerque auto dealer and family friend, Rick Galles. The duo teamed-up to win the 1981 Sports Car Club of America Super Vee title and then captured the 1982 Can-Am championship. In addition, to the Super Vee, Can-Am and IndyCar titles, Al Jr. won the International Race of Champions (IROC) title in 1986 (at age 24 the youngest IROC champion ever) and 1988. He was also the ABC Wide World of Sports "Athlete of the Year" in 1994.
The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be held May 9-10, on the new road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. (ET). The 2014 Indianapolis 500 will be the 98th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing". It has been held every year since the first race in 1911 except the war years of 1917-1918 and 1942-1945. The race will take place May 25, 2014 and will be broadcast live on ABC beginning at 11 a.m. (ET). Both races can also be heard live on IMS Radio Network affiliates, XM Channel 209, Sirius Channel 213, IndyCar.com, IndyCarradio.com or via the Verizon IndyCar14 app