With a name like Unser, you’re pretty much destined to race automobiles for a living. Two-time Indianapolis 500-winner (1992 and 1994) Al Unser Jr. is one of a long line of Unsers (including father Al, uncle Bobby, and cousins Johnny and Robby) who have chosen to grip the wheel and take the high road at 200 miles per hour. It’s paid off; the Unser clan has nine Indy wins among them — for now.
American Way: Will you approach this year’s Indy differently from those in the past?
Al Unser Jr.: I will not do anything different in this year’s Indianapolis 500 than I have done before. When I race in the Indy 500, my goal is to be the first one over the finish line when that checkered flag drops. Nothing else in the race matters if you aren’t there at the finish.
AW: What’s still missing from your trophy shelf?
AUJ: The only thing I am missing in my career is a third Indianapolis 500 win and a third national championship title. I am going after both this year.
AW: Are you fearless?
AUJ: I am not fearless, and racecar drivers in general are not fearless. I go out there to race because I have fun doing it, but I also do everything in my power to ensure my safety. After that point, I just focus on winning.
AW: If you weren’t racing cars, what would you be doing?
AUJ: I would be an engine builder in racing. It fascinates me.
AW: How and what do you drive when you are home?
AUJ: I drive a Chevrolet Suburban, and I drive as fast as they will let me.