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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Unser's win three Indy 500's in 11-year span
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

May 24, 1981

Bobby Unser crosses the finish line first, but is penalized a lap by track stewards and Mario Andretti is named the winner. However, Unser and car-owner Roger Penske will appeal the decision to the U.S. Auto Club, and four months later they win their case. It is Unser's third Indy 500 victory.

May 24, 1987

Al Unser Sr., driving in a year-old car he had to beg to drive, wins his fourth Indy 500, tying A.J. Foyt's record. At 47, Unser is the oldest to win the race. Quite a feat, considering the only reason he was even competing is that Danny Ongais crashed during a practice run and wasn't healthy enough to race. Unser's victory margin is 4.496 seconds over runner-up Roberto Guerrero and his average speed is 162.175 mph.

"It means everything to Dad," says Al Unser Jr., who finishes fourth. "They called him retired and washed up and all that. He's far from that. I've got goose bumps. I'm ecstatic for Dad."

May 24, 1992

Today, Al Sr. is ecstastic for his son. Al Jr. maintains the family tradition as he beats Canadian Scott Goodyear by .043 seconds in the closest finish in the 76 runnings of the Indy 500. After taking his victory lap, Little Al and his father hug at the end of the pit lane. "We both had tears in our eyes," Little Al says.

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