Three-time Indy 500 champ Bobby Unser dies at 87

5/3/2021 2:42:44 PM EST

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser died Sunday at his home in New Mexico at age 87.

Officials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he won "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in 1968, 1975 and 1981, announced his death on Monday.

Unser was part of the first family of the Indianapolis 500. His brother, Al, won the race four times, making them the only set of brothers to drink the post-race milk reserved for the winner. In all, six members of the Unser family have driven in the Indy 500, with Al Unser Jr. continuing the family legacy with two wins.

Bobby Unser Jr. was born Feb. 20, 1934, in Colorado Springs, Colo., but his family moved to Albuquerque when he was a toddler. As a teenager, he drove modified stock cars before serving in the military as he and two of his brothers gravitated toward racing.

His older brother, Jerry, was killed at age 26 in an accident in 1959 at a practice run before the Indianapolis 500.

Bobby Unser made his Indy 500 debut in 1963 and is one of two drivers to win the race -- Rick Mears is the other -- in three different decades.

He was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 1990 and was an Indy Car television analyst after retiring from driving in 1981 following his controversial Indy 500 win.

That year, Unser won the race, then was stripped of the title because of an infraction and Mario Andretti was elevated to the top finisher. After a lawsuit, Unser was named the winner again.

The two drivers didn't speak for many years, but they mended fences a few years ago.

"I join the racing world mourning the passing of Bobby Unser," Andretti wrote on Twitter. "The best of times..... when a fierce competitor can also be a very very very good friend. RIP my friend. Thanks for the memories."

Unser finished his career with 35 career Indy Car victories and two championships among his eight top-three finishes in the season points standing.

In the Indy 500, he had 10 finishes in the top 10 in 19 career starts, and he remains in 10th place all-time for laps led with 440.

He was remembered throughout the racing community on Monday, including by Roger Penske, whom he raced for during the latter part of his career.

"There simply was no one quite like Bobby Unser," Penske said. "Bobby was a ferocious competitor on the track and his larger-than-life personality made him of one of the most beloved and unique racers we have ever seen. Bobby brought so much to Team Penske during his time with our team ... Beyond his many wins and accomplishments, Bobby was a true racer that raised the performance of everyone around him."

Unser is survived by his wife, Lisa; sons Bobby Jr. and Robby; and daughters Cindy and Jeri.

--Field Level Media


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 03:13:50 EST Tom Brady takes aim at 600th TD pass as Bucs face Bears
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 21:14:12 EST Jared Goff returns to L.A. to face Matt Stafford-led Rams
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 20:31:09 EST Falcons eye .500 against beleaguered Dolphins
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 20:10:18 EST Thriving Carson Wentz leads Colts into San Francisco
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 20:39:24 EST Still missing Kliff Kingsbury, 6-0 Cardinals prep for sinking Texans
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 19:57:20 EST Packers look to light up Washington’s NFL-worst defense
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 19:14:39 EST Seahawks claim former UW QB Jacob Eason off waivers
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 19:35:18 EST Raiders set sights on road-happy Eagles
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:53:44 EST Uneven Chiefs have to contend with Derrick Henry, Titans
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:37:14 EST Jimmy Garoppolo on track to start for 49ers, Trey Lance unlikely


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 02:21:25 EST Braves eye World Series trip in Game 5 at L.A.
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 00:37:01 EST Dodgers 3B Justin Turner (hamstring) likely out for postseason
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 01:33:11 EST Deja vu: Braves take 3-1 NLCS lead on Dodgers
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 22:26:08 EST Astros bash Red Sox again, head home up 3-2 in ALCS
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 19:18:15 EST Braves scratch RH Huascar Ynoa for Game 4, replace him on NLCS roster
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 16:39:33 EST Brewers fire hitting coach Andy Haines
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 14:59:44 EST Dodgers favored to even NLCS with Braves in Game 4
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 14:53:40 EST Red Sox heavily backed to beat Astros in another slugfest
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 14:36:37 EST Mets RHP Carlos Carrasco recovering from elbow surgery
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 03:14:02 EST Astros carry momentum from late rally into Game 5 at Boston


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 02:09:56 EST NBA roundup: Knicks edge Celtics in double OT
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 01:54:30 EST Harrison Barnes scores career-high 36 as Kings beat Blazers
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 00:44:40 EST Nuggets open season with impressive road win over Suns
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 01:30:26 EST Rudy Gobert notches double-double as Jazz top Thunder
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 01:21:21 EST Vassell, Walker come off bench to lead Spurs over Magic
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 01:07:23 EST Timberwolves race past Rockets in high-scoring opener
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 00:12:46 EST 76ers take down Pelicans in season opener without Ben Simmons
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 23:48:47 EST Ja Morant scores 37 as Grizzlies down Cavaliers
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 00:16:00 EST Bradley Beal, Wizards spoil Raptors' return to Canada
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 23:30:09 EST Knicks outlast Celtics in double OT thriller


Thu, 21 Oct 2021 01:02:37 EST Jordan Binnington, Blues cap 3-0-0 trip with win at Vegas
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 22:23:17 EST Cam Atkinson's two goals highlight Flyers' win over Bruins
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 21:11:40 EST Oilers, off to perfect start, open first trip vs. Coyotes
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 19:59:44 EST GM Marc Bergevin says Canadiens must 'fight through' struggles
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 19:23:16 EST Canucks, Blackhawks strive for complete efforts
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:05:16 EST Rangers, Predators find their footing ahead of matchup
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 17:14:55 EST Lucas Raymond, upstart Red Wings take on winless Flames
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:00:08 EST With 'dirty play' in mind, Ducks face Jets again
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 17:15:29 EST Panthers look to continue surge against slumping Avalanche
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 16:45:35 EST Canadiens hope to halt 0-4 slide against stellar Hurricanes