Monday, May 28, 2007

Unser's Performance Painful To Watch

Do you remember him, the chip off the old block who carried the torch for American drivers along with Michael Andretti? Recall the guy who provided us with then the greatest finish ever at Indy in 1992 driving that dog of a Galmer, and total domination of the series in 1994 like nobody ever had and probably ever will? That same fellow was at Indy yesterday driving for another legend in AJ Foyt, but you certainly would not of recognized him without a program if you were looking for the aforementioned. Now 45 years old and saddled with personal demons, Al Unser Jr. hopefully has driven his last IndyCar race. I say that because I selfishly prefer to remember the fast as hell kid from 25 years ago that burst on to the scene and quickly showed he was the most talented one of the Unser clan. I would rather relive his days in the PC23 Marlboro car in which he toyed with the field in 1994 and set what is still the standard for a single season performance. Always friendly and never one to make excuses, a messy divorce and tragic circumstances involving a child no doubt led to a lack of discipline in his personal life that has cost this hall of famer several years of competitive racing. Unable to attract the level of sponsorship that would yield him a quality ride, he has spent the last years of his storied career laboring behind the wheel of back marker rides and has made more headlines in the newspapers with his personal life than on the racetrack. Still, he remains one of the most honest and sincere drivers at IMS this year and answers every question about his troubles with the same enthusiasm he mentions his race car with. There can be no question this man has suffered from his actions as well as the hand that father time has dealt him, but it is still difficult for me to think of him as someone who must now hang it up. I wish Unser Jr. all the best in his life ahead and I hope he can remain in racing, just as long as he is not driving. I want to keep those old memories alive and well in my mind and I need this former talented champion to quit driving so I can do just that. Danny Bridges

1 comment:

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