INDIANAPOLIS -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. proved Saturday that his five-year absence from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hasn?t diminished his ability to go fast.
Unser posted the top speed in the opening day of practice for the 84th Indianapolis 500 with a lap of 217.223 mph.
"Today was a special day for me being back at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway," Unser said. "We went out on the track today with a plan to just
shake the cars down and get used to the track. Not everyone was out on the
track today, like Juan (Montoya) and Jimmy (Vasser), so there will
definitely be some tough competition in the days ahead.
"It felt really neat to get the response I did from the fans, and I can't tell you how much it means to be back here.
"What we are going to concentrate the most on for the next six days is
getting into the show. Once we do that then we will start thinking about
The last time that Unser participated in official Indianapolis 500 practice was 1995, when he drove for Penske Racing. Penske entered cars for Unser and teammate Emerson Fittipaldi that year, but neither driver qualified for the race.
After Penske and Unser parted ways at the end of 1999, Unser signed with car
owner Rick Galles to drive in the Northern Light Series full-time. Galles was
Unser?s car owner for his first Indianapolis 500 victory in 1992. He won
again in 1994 with Penske.