Bobby Unser

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Bobby Unser
Nationality United States American
Born (1934-02-20) February 20, 1934 (age 80)
Related to Al Unser, Sr. (brother)
Jerry Unser (brother)
Louis Unser (brother)
Robby Unser (son)
Al Unser, Jr. (nephew)
Johnny Unser (nephew)
Championship Car
Years active 1955-1982
Starts 258
Wins 35
Poles 52
Best finish 1st in 1968 & 1974
Championship titles
1968 & 1974
1975
USAC National Champion
International Race of Champions
Awards
1981 Indianapolis 500 winner
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 1968
Teams BRM
Races 2 (1 start)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1968 Italian Grand Prix
Last race 1968 United States Grand Prix
Bobby Unser's 1979 Penske Cosworth Champ Car

Robert William "Bobby" Unser (born February 20, 1934 in Colorado Springs, Colorado) is a retired U.S. automobile racer. He is 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. He is one of ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times, and one of only two to have won the 500 in three different decades (1968, 75, 81). Bobby has also been a spokesman and advocate of many commercial products.

1981 Indianapolis 500[edit]

Bobby was part of one of the most controversial finishes in Indy 500 history at the 1981 Indianapolis 500. 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 favor of second place finisher Mario Andretti. Unser was awarded the win in October 1981, but the controversy and financial impact (Unser once estimated that the commercial endorsements he lost because of the delayed result cost him $1 million) caused him to retire from racing at the end of the year.

Other achievements[edit]

Was the first driver to average more than 190 MPH at the Indianapolis 500.

Was the 1975 IROC champion.

Won the USAC Indy car championships in 1968 and 1974. He was also entered in the 1968 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International, driving for the BRM team. He withdrew after a massive accident in practice.

Challenged Dan Gurney to improve the performance of his 1971 USAC car, leading to the development of the Gurney flap.

Drove in three NASCAR Grand National races from 1969 to 1973 with a best finish of fourth.

Won the 1993 Fastmasters championship.

Leads winners of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with 13 wins.

Broadcaster[edit]

Unser became a television commentator for Indycar races after his retirement working for the ABC, ESPN and the NBC.

Awards[edit]

Federal criminal charges[edit]

In 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, and Mr Unser had vomited blood during this time.[1]

Mr Unser was later convicted of a Federal misdemeanor, "unlawful operation of a snowmobile within a National Forest Wilderness Area" (16 U.S.C. 551, 36 C.F.R. 261.16(a)), and was fined $75. Maximum penalties could have been up to six months in jail and up to $5,000.00 in fines. Unser appealed it, claiming to have been lost before the accident, but the court ruled that maps were widely available and it was a public welfare offense, thus intent was not necessary.[2] Mr Unser appealed this decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but his writ of certiorari was denied.[3]

Racing record[edit]

American Open-Wheel racing results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

USAC[edit]

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Rank Points
1975 All American Racers United States
ONT1
United States
ONT2
10
United States
ONT3
2
United States
PHX
United States
TRE
United States
INDY
1
United States
MIL
2
United States
POC
22
United States
MIS
5
United States
MIL2
3rd 2480
Jerry O'Connell Racing United States
MIS2
3
United States
TRE2
United States
PHX2
1976 Fletcher Racing United States
PHX
1
United States
TRE
DNQ
United States
INDY
10
United States
MIL
3
United States
POC
32
United States
MIS
United States
TWS
United States
TRE2
United States
MIL2
4
United States
ONT
1
United States
MIS2
4
United States
TWS2
17
United States
PHX2
21
6th 2080
1977 Fletcher Racing United States
ONT
15
United States
PHX
17
United States
TWS
United States
TRE
WD
United States
INDY
18
United States
MIL
16
United States
POC
19
Canada
MOS
United States
MIS
21
United States
TWS2
15
United States
MIL2
17
United States
ONT2
30
United States
MIS2
United States
PHX2
8
35th 75
1978 All American Racers United States
PHX
18
United States
ONT
16
United States
TWS
13
United States
TRE
20
United States
INDY
6
Canada
MOS
19
United States
MIL
17
United States
POC
20
United States
MIS
5
United States
ATL
3
United States
TWS2
8
United States
MIL2
20
United States
ONT2
13
United States
MIS2
United States
TRE2
United Kingdom
SIL
8
United Kingdom
BRH
13
United States
PHX2
11
12th 1122

CART[edit]

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Rank Points
1979 Team Penske United States
PHX
5
United States
ATL1
7
United States
ATL2
4
United States
INDY
5
United States
TRE1
1
United States
TRE2
1
United States
MIS1
Ret
United States
MIS2
1
United States
WGL
1
United States
TRE3
2
United States
ONT
1
United States
MIS3
1
United States
ATL3
3
United States
PHX2
2
2nd 3820
1980 Team Penske United States
ONT1
Ret
United States
INDY
Ret
United States
MIL1
1
United States
POC
1
United States
MDO
Ret
United States
MIS1
2
United States
WGL
1
United States
MIL2
3
United States
ONT2
1
United States
MIS2
2
Mexico
MEX
2
United States
PHX
DNS
    2nd 3714
1981 Team Penske United States
PHX1
2
United States
MIL1
Ret
United States
ATL1
13
United States
ATL2
6
United States
MIS1
Ret
United States
RIV
9
United States
MIL2
3
United States
MIS2
7
United States
WGL
Ret
Mexico
MEX
Ret
United States
PHX2
2
      7th 99

Indy 500 results[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish
1963 Kurtis 500K Novi 16th 33rd
1964 Ferguson P104 Novi 22nd 32nd
1965 Ferguson P104 Novi 8th 19th
1966 Huffaker 66 Offy 28th 8th
1967 Eagle 67 Ford 8th 9th
1968 Eagle 68 Offy 3rd 1st
1969 Lola T152 Offy 3rd 3rd
1970 Eagle 67 Ford 7th 11th
1971 Eagle 71 Offy 3rd 12th
1972 Eagle 72 Offy 1st 30th
1973 Eagle 73 Offy 2nd 13th
1974 Eagle 74 Offy 7th 2nd
1975 Eagle 74 Offy 3rd 1st
1976 Eagle 74-76 Offy 12th 10th
1977 Lightning Mk1/77 Offy 2nd 18th
1978 Eagle 78 Ford Cosworth DFX 19th 6th
1979 Penske PC-7 Ford Cosworth DFX 4th 5th
1980 Penske PC-9 Ford Cosworth DFX 3rd 19th
1981 Penske PC-9B Ford Cosworth DFX 1st 1st

Indy 500 Qualifying Results[edit]

Year Att # Date Time Qual
Day
Car # Laps Qual
Time
Qual
Speed
Rank Start Comment
1967 4 05-13 4 1 6 4 164.752 9 8  
1968 6 05-18 6 1 3 4 169.507 3 3  
1969 12 05-24 12 2 1 4 3:32.1600 169.683 3 3  
1970 24 05-16 24 1 3 4 3:33.6400 168.508 8 7  
1971 17 05-15 17 1 2 4 3:24.7600 175.816 3 3  
1972 13 05-14 16:49 1 6 4 3:03.7300 195.940 1 1  
1973 19 05-12 13:28 1 8 0  
1973 29 05-12 17:20 1 8 4 3:01.6500 198.183 2 2  
1974 14 05-11 11:40 1 48 4 3:14.4100 185.176 8 7  
1975 16 05-10 13:14 1 48 4 3:08.4100 191.073 3 3  
1976 1 05-15 14:36 1 3 1 PULLED OFF
1976 34 05-16 13:15 2 3 4 3:11.9800 187.520 5 12  
1977 6 05-14 11:44 1 6 1 PULLED OFF
1977 32 05-14 16:48 1 6 4 3:02.0700 197.726 2 2  
1978 30 05-20 17:07 2 48 4 3:04.9400 194.658 10 20  
1979 17 05-13 14:08 1 12 4 3:09.5600 189.913 4 4  
1980 23 05-10 14:16 1 11 4 3:09.4800 189.994 3 3  
1981 19 05-16 11:36 1 3 4 2:59.5100 200.546 2 1  

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

Unser participated in 2 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix.
(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 WDC Points
1968 Owen Racing Organisation BRM P138 BRM V12 RSA
ESP
MON
BEL
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
ITA
DNS
CAN
USA
Ret
MEX
NC 0

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mark Donohue
IROC Champion
IROC II (1975)
Succeeded by
A.J. Foyt
Preceded by
A. J. Foyt
Indianapolis 500 Winner
1968
Succeeded by
Mario Andretti
Preceded by
Johnny Rutherford
Indianapolis 500 Winner
1975
Succeeded by
Johnny Rutherford
Preceded by
Johnny Rutherford
Indianapolis 500 Winner
1981
Succeeded by
Gordon Johncock