Bobby Unser, an American motorsports icon known for his moniker "Uncle Bobby," died on May 2, 2021. He died at 87 at the time of his passing.
Bobby Unser Dies at 87
Unser was a beloved three-time Indianapolis 500 winner. He was part of the only pair of brothers to gain a victory from "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." He passed away at his Albuquerque home in New Mexico due to natural causes, according to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday.
Uncle Bobby was the winner of 1968, 1975, and 1981 Indianapolis 500s. Indianapolis Motor Speedway declared his death in a news release on Monday.
Al, his younger brother, is one of the mere three four-time Indy 500 winners in car racing history. Al Unser took home the titles in 1970, 1971, 1978, and 1987, reported CBS News.
Unser was reportedly regarded as one of the greatest racers in the history of racing. According to Dario Franchitti, another three-time Indy 500 winner, he is part of the Mount Rushmore of Indy.
Unser would practically do everything to promote the Indianapolis 500. It is how he found himself at a show-and-tell at an elementary school in Indiana a few years ago. He had the precious Indy 500 winners' Borg-Warner Trophy with him and proudly showed the students his legacy, reported CBC.
He grew up in Albuquerque along Route 66. Raised with racing in his blood, his father and uncles were all drivers.
He was also regarded as a larger-than-life, colorful character in racing. He would talk to any person in any place about "the greatest sport in the world."
Unser was an IROC champion, a two-time USAC national champion, and won the Pikes Peak Hill Climb 13 times. Louis Unser, his uncle, won the Pikes Peak Hillclimb nine times. The Unser family pride stretched to Al Unser's son, Al Unser Jr. The latter took home the Indy 500 title in 1992 and 1994. He is survived by his wife Lisa, sons Robby and Bobby Jr., and daughters Jeri and Cindy.
According to Roger Penske, the current speedway owner but the team owner for Unser's winning car at the 1981 Indy 500, "Bobby was a ferocious competitor on the track, and his larger-than-life personality made him one of the most beloved and unique racers we have ever seen. Beyond his many wins and accomplishments, Bobby was a true racer that raised the performance of everyone around him. He was also one of the most colorful characters in motorsports," reported NBC News.
Unser is one of 10 race car drivers to bring home the bacon during the prestigious Indy 500 at least three times. He was also the first driver to win the race in three varying decades, a victory later matched by Rick Mears.
Six members of the Unser lineage in total have raced in the Indianapolis 500. Unser was featured in numerous motorsports Halls of Fame. These include the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.