Race Weekend Central

3-Time Indy 500 Champion Bobby Unser Dead at 87

NTT IndyCar Series legend Bobby Unser has passed away at the age of 87 in his New Mexico home, Indianapolis Motor Speedway confirmed on May 3.

Unser won the iconic Indianapolis 500 three times in 1968, 1975 and 1981. He won 35 races in his career, with his last win coming in the 1981 Indianapolis 500 after a controversial finish.

Race officials ruled that Unser had passed cars illegally while exiting pit road. The win was given to Mario Andretti, relegating Unser back to second. Team owner Roger Penske and Unser appealed the penalty, which was eventually overturned in October 1981.

Unser won two championships in CART along with eight top-three points finishes.

Unser also won two USAC National Championships in 1968 and 1974. He competed in USAC Sprint Car, Midget and Stock races as well.

Unser came from a rich family history. His brother, Al Unser, won the Indianapolis 500 four times, one of only three drivers to do so. Al Unser Jr. followed suit en route to two Indy 500 victories. Bobby Unser was one of six drivers from the Unser family to compete in the event.

Unser also served in the U.S. Air Force from 1953 to 1955. After his racing career came to a close, Unser shifted over to the broadcast booth, where he served in the booth for ABC Sports, NBC, ESPN and the IMS Radio Network.

The Colorado Springs, Colo., native is one of only 10 drivers to win three Indy 500 trophies. In 19 career Indy 500 starts, Unser had 10 top 10 results and led 440 laps, good for 10th on the all-time list.

He is survived by his wife Lisa, two sons (Robby and Bobby Jr.) and daughters (Cindy and Jeri).

About the author


Luken Glover joined the Frontstretch team in 2020 as a contributor, furthering a love for racing that traces back to his earliest memories. Glover inherited his passion for racing from his grandfather, who used to help former NASCAR team owner Junie Donlavey in his Richmond, Va. garage. A 2023 graduate from the University of the Cumberlands, Glover is the author of "The Underdog House," contributes to commentary pieces, and does occasional at-track reporting. Additionally, Glover enjoys working in ministry, coaching basketball, playing sports, and karting.

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We of a certain age have lost another legend.

May 1, 1994
October 24, 1985
April 7. 1968

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