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Indy Racing League

Wednesday, December 19
Unser meeting with Treadway-Hubbard
By Jack Arute

Unser Jr.
Unser Jr.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Al Unser Jr. is without a ride for the upcoming Indy Racing League season, scheduled to start March 2 at Miami-Homestead Speedway.

The 38-year-old second-generation driver from Albuquerque, N.M., joined the IRL in 2000 and has been part of Galles Racing. Since then, Unser has competed in 22 races and scored two wins.

Sponsor woes have put Galles' future plans on hiatus and Unser was given permission to contact other IRL teams about driving possibilities.

One of his first stops was Treadway-Hubbard Racing, which campaigned Brazilian Felipe Giaffone to the IRL Rookie of the Year title last season.

"We did get a phone call from Al's agent informing us of his availability," said Treadway-Hubbard General Manager Scott Cronk. "Neither I or Fred (Treadway) have spoken personally to Al, but he certainly would attractive to us as a driver."

At present, Treadway's plans center on a limited schedule for Indy 500 champion Arie Luyendyk who will once again return to the Indianapolis 500 as well as at least one more event and possibly three others.

But, Cronk says the news regarding Unser's availability has his team's interest.

"Al brings a great background with him and given the right set of circumstances, yes, absolutely," he said.

Treadway has already approached several potential sponsors about a possible Unser package.

"We've made two sponsors that we are in active negotiations with aware that he is available," Cronk said. "Their response has been very favorable. He's a very favorable name from a sponsor perspective."

Any teaming of Unser with Luyendyk would mark the first time in IRL history that two Indy 500 champions raced out of the same garage.

"Unfortunately with the holidays, I expect that we are in a two-week holding pattern," Cronk said. "Things shut down for most companies tomorrow and you're done until January 8 or 9.

"We should be able to have some stuff wrapped up by the middle of January. The worst case is that you'll see us with Arie in two to four races."

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