An Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) statement said, “We are deeply saddened to share the news that automotive racing legend Al Unser Sr. passed away peacefully at his home today.”
Unser Sr. was 82. The statement goes on to say that he started racing motorcycles in 1950 and began a pro racing career in 1961, going on to win the Indianapolis 500 three times, the IRL’s season championship in 1972 and the Indy 500 twice.
“Unser embodied the long-sought objective of modern racing, that of producing a Hall of Fame-caliber sportsman who spent most of his life driving a racing car,” the statement reads. “Even on his deathbed, he was serene in his thought and spirit and proud of what he’d accomplished in racing.”
An electrician by trade, Unser Sr. joined the family business and began racing as a teenager. His legendary four wins between 1971 and 1977 included his ’75 victory and the fourth and fifth IRL championships.
After retiring from competition, Unser Sr. continued racing in open-wheel racing in IndyCar and in years following.
Following Unser Sr.’s death, IMS CEO Tony George offered condolences.
In 1986, Unser Sr. ran his last IRL race and was honored with several honors, including being inducted into the IMS Hall of Fame and NASCAR Hall of Fame. Unser’s wife of more than 50 years, Teresa, died in 2014.
In 2007, Unser Sr. authored a book, I Remember When, that detailed his racing career.