Al Unser appear at Indy last year in a vintage Lotus. (LAT photo)
A tip of the helmet to four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, who is 73 today.
The second of the three drivers to have won Indy four times, im 1970, '71, '78 and '87, he also is one of only five to have won it in consecutive years, and is also a three-time IndyCar champion (1970, '83, and '85). Al has both a broher (Bobby) and son (Al Jr.) as fellow Indy 500 winners, while his nephews Johnny and Robby Unser have also competed in the Memorial Day weekend classic.
"Big Al" has led the most laps of any driver in the history of the Indianapolis 500, at 644. Unser broke Ralph DePalma's longstanding record of 612 laps led on the last lap of his fourth victory in 1987, which came in a year-old Penske March that had started out that Month of May as a showcar. Al also holds the record of being the oldest driver to ever win the 500 at 47 years old.
Although best known for his IndyCar exploits, Unser demonstrated his versatility by winning the 1978 IROC title – in the same year that he claimed the only ever winner of the USAC IndyCar Triple Crown by claiming three 500-mile races in the same year. He also competed in the 1968 Daytona 500 and four other NASCAR Winston Cup & Grand National races, all held on road courses with a best finish of fourth (twice).