Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28, 1978: Al Unser Sr. Wins The Indy 500

On May 28, 1978, Al Unser Sr. went to the Winners Circle at the Indy 500, it was the third time he took the checker at the Brickyard. Even with the fact that Unser qualified fifth, he was considered a bit of a long shot by the talking heads, but that wasn't going to keep him from making a hard charge to the front of the pack. He took his first lead of the day on lap 75 and would get into a back and forth duel with his teammate Danny Ongais over the next 75 laps. Engine failure ended Ongais' day on lap 145, then Unser started to run away with it. At one point he held a 35 second lead over the second place driver and it looked like it might just be a cakewalk to victory lane, then came the final pit stop. During the pit stop the wing on his Lola chassis was bent in the process of changing the tires, it had a major impact on the handling and Unser had to do everything he could to hold onto it as Tom Sneva was making a run at him. Unser got the job done in an impressive manner, he took the checker by 9 seconds over Sneva and victory lane was reserved for him. It was quite the season for Al Unser, he would win the Pocono 500 and the California 500 to complete the Indy Car Triple Crown, he is the only driver to win all three races in the same season. In 1987, Unser won the Indy 500 for the fourth time, he along with A. J. Foyt and Rick Mears are the only drivers to win the famous race 4 times.

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