Bobby Unser Bio, Age, Family, Racing Career, Indy 500, Awards And Death
This article will answer every question you have about Bobby Unser. Below are some of the frequently asked questions about him.
- What does Bobby Unser do for a living?
- Who are Bobby Unser’s parents and siblings?
- What are Bobby Unser’s interests and hobbies?
- Is Bobby Unser married or does he have a girlfriend?
- Does Bobby Unser have any children?
- Where is Bobby Unser now?
- How tall is Bobby Unser?
- How much money does Bobby Unser earn?
- What is Bobby Unser’s net worth?
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Who is Bobby Unser?
Bobby Unser was an American automobile racer. He was the brother of Al Unser, Jerry Unser and Louis Unser, the father of Robby Unser and the uncle of Al Unser Jr. and Johnny Unser. The Unser family has won the Indy 500 a record nine times. He was one of ten drivers to have won the Indianapolis 500 three or more times and one of only two to have won the 500 in three decades (1968, 1975, 1981).
Bobby Unser’s Career
Unser came from a family of racecar drivers. Actually, He won numerous racing championships throughout his career, including three Indianapolis 500 titles. Unser debuted in 1955 at Pike’s Peak, dubbed “Unser’s Peak” because of his family’s history of success at the hill climb. He finished fifth that year, behind his two brothers. A year later he won his first of a record 13 championships at Pike’s Peak. He won six straight titles from 1958 to 1963. His streak ended in 1964 when his younger brother Al won the race.
Unser raced in his first Indianapolis 500 in 1963. He crashed early and placed thirty-third. His first Indy-car win came in 1967 at Mosport, in Ontario. A year later, Unser won his first Indianapolis 500, setting the record as the first driver to race over 170 miles per hour at Indianapolis. In 1969 Unser won his first USAC National Driving Championship.
Later in 1972 Unser set another Indianapolis 500 record for the fastest qualifying time at 195.94 miles per hour. In 1974, he won his second USAC National Driving Championship and a year later he won his second Indianapolis 500 in a race that was rain-shortened on lap 174. From 1979 to 1981 Unser raced in the CART series for Team Penske winning ten races. In 1980 he became the first driver to win the California 500 four times. His career ended in 1981 following a controversial win at Indianapolis.
1981 Indianapolis 500 controversy
Bobby was the centre of one of the most controversial finishes in Indy 500 history at the 1981 Indianapolis 500. Unser won the pole in the #3 Roger Penske-owned car and led the most laps (89 laps). On lap 149, during a caution period, Bobby and Mario Andretti made their pit stop and headed back to the race. Bobby passed eight cars during the caution, while Mario passed two cars. Unser won the race but was stripped of it the following morning in favour of second-place finisher Mario Andretti. After a 5-month lawsuit and protest by Penske, Bobby Unser was re-awarded the win in October 1981. For his infraction, Unser was instead fined $40,000 ($112,000 in today’s money).
In his autobiography Winners are Driven, Unser expressed his beliefs that the debacle was politically motivated and that USAC disqualified him (and benefited Andretti), hoping to start a falling-out between Pat Patrick, Mario’s car owner and owner of Patrick Racing, and Roger Penske (owner of Unser’s car), in order to destroy CART. He claimed that Patrick’s team did not protest the finish and that Patrick was on Unser’s side in the controversy. For years, Unser and Andretti did not speak to each other willingly until early-2017 when Unser announced on his YouTube channel that Andretti reached out to wish him the best after Unser got extremely sick.
Unser was the 1975 IROC champion and won the 1993 Fast Masters championship. Unser challenged Dan Gurney to improve the performance of his 1971 USAC car, leading to the development of the Gurney flap. In 1993, Unser set a new Bonneville Salt Flats record at Bonneville Speedway of 223.709 in a D/Gas Modified Roadster that stood for 18 years. He leads the all-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb champion’s list with 10 overall wins, having set a new track record nine times.
After retiring from Indycar driving in 1982, Unser did developmental work for Audi, lapping one at 206.8 MPH. In 1986, after a 12-year absence from the Pikes Peak race, he won the event for the tenth time driving an Audi Quattro, breaking the tie he had with his Uncle Louis Unser for nine overall victories each. The 1986 win brought Unser’s total number of Pikes Peak victories to 13, including two stock car class victories (1969 and 1974) and a single sports car class win (1963). In 2003, he published a book, Winners are Driven: A Champion’s Guide to Success in Business and Life.
Unser became a television commentator for Indy car races after his retirement working for NBC, ABC, and ESPN. Unser also worked as an analyst for the IMS Radio Network in 1986. In 1989 and 1990, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded ABC’s telecast of the Indianapolis 500 the Sports Emmy Award for “Outstanding Live Sports Special”. Unser received announcer honours with Paul Page, Sam Posey, and others. Unser also broadcast several NASCAR events between 1986–1992 alongside Page and Benny Parsons. The most famous NASCAR race Unser broadcast was the 1989 The Winston in which Rusty Wallace won by wrecking Darrell Waltrip with 2 laps to go; Unser was the first broadcaster of the broadcasting team to spot the post-race fist-fight between Wallace and Waltrip’s pit crews.
- Unser was selected as one of Sports Illustrated’s “Top Five Athletes” in the popular magazine’s first twenty years, along with the Martini & Rossi and Olsonite “Driver of the Year” awards in 1974.
- He was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 1990.
- Unser was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990.
- He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1997.
- Unser was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
- He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1994.
- Unser was presented with the Indy 500 Front Row Award in 1999, for being a 9-time front row qualifier (1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981).
- He was selected fourth in The Greatest 33 list of Indianapolis 500 drivers in 2011.
Federal criminal charges
On 20 December 1996, in Colorado, Unser and a friend became lost while snowmobiling near Unser’s New Mexico ranch. They abandoned one stuck snowmobile before a storm blinded them both. When the second snowmobile stopped working, they spent two days and nights in subzero weather before finding a barn where they were found. Both men were suffering badly, his friend was suffering from hypothermia, and Unser had vomited blood during this time. Unser was later convicted of a Federal misdemeanour, “unlawful operation of a snowmobile within a National Forest Wilderness Area” and was fined $75.
Bobby Unser died on May 2, 2021, at the age of 87 at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
How Old was Bobby Unser at Death?
Unser was born on February 20, 1934, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the U.S. He died at the age of 87.
Bobby Unser‘s Family
Who are Bobby Unser’s parents?
Unser was born to Mary Catherine (Craven) and Jerome Henry Unser.
Does Bobby Unser have siblings?
Unser’s siblings were Ai Unser and Jerry Unser Jr.
Bobby Unser‘s Education
Unser dropped out of high school, raced at night while serving in the Air Force and debuted at Pikes Peak in 1955, winning his first championship there the next year.
Bobby Unser‘s wife
Unser’s wife was named Lisa Unser.
Bobby Unser‘s Children – Kids
Unser was the father of two sons, Bobby Jr. and Robby, and two daughters, Cindy and Jeri.
Bobby Unser’s Net Worth
Unser had an estimated net worth of $20 million.
Unser stood at a height of 5 ft 7 in tall.