Al Unser Sr. Remembered
May 29, 1939 - Dec 9, 2021
"Big Al made us proud to be called 'The Racers’ Concours'"
Bill Warner (left) and Al Unser Sr. at The Amelia Concours in 2017. Photo courtesy of The Amelia Concours d'Elegance/Deremer Studios LLC.
The Amelia would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of racing superstar Al Unser Sr, The Amelia’s 2017 Honoree. According to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Unser Sr. died last Thursday at his home in Chama, New Mexico, his wife Susan by his side.
“When we started to think about an honoree for 2017 Big Al seemed like the perfect choice," said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Amelia Concours d’Elegance. “He proved us right, accepting our invitation with the modesty that has practically become his trademark. He always had time for his fans and was never too busy to stop and talk and sign as many autographs as necessary to keep his fans happy. He was a pure racer day or night, regardless of the venue or the weather. Big Al made us proud to be called ‘The Racers’ Concours’.”
Al Unser Sr.'s life was always intertwined with racing, especially the Memorial Day Indy 500 that he won four times. Unser’s Indianapolis 500 stats alone are as extraordinary as his remarkable versatility. Three decades ago he became one of just three racers to win the "500" four times and is the only Indy winner to have both a brother and a son who are "500" winners. “Big Al” led the most Indy 500 laps in history.
In 1970, the year of his first Indy 500 victory, Unser won a record ten times to capture the United States Auto Club’s National Championship. In 1978 he became the only racer to win all three national championship 500 mile races in a single season.
An accomplished road racer, Unser won the 1985 Rolex 24 at Daytona with AJ Foyt, Bob Wollek and Thierry Boutsen. Naturally he shares the Unser family’s genetic predisposition for winning multiple Pikes Peak Hill climbs (1964 & ’65). He had to beat brother Bobby for his first Pike’s Peak win in 1964 and he set a record in the process.
From superspeedways to dirt tracks, road courses to hill climbs, racing sprinters, prototypes, Indy Cars, sports cars, Formula 5000, Can-Am, even NASCAR stockers, “Big Al” was fast and very much at home. His versatility and skill were so highly regarded that offers from Williams and McLaren to try Formula 1 came his way.
"With Unser Sr's passing, the racing community lost a hero and the world lost a true gentlemen," said McKeel Hagerty, Chairman of The Amelia and Hagerty CEO. "His inspirational prowess on the track and generous spirit towards his fans remind us that while we love great race cars, they need a gifted driver to become iconic."
Al Unser Sr. drives on the showfield at the 2017 Amelia Concours. Photo courtesy of The Amelia Concours d'Elegance/Deremer Studios LLC.
About The Amelia Concours d’Elegance
Now in its 27th year, The Amelia is a multiple award-winning motoring event held March 3-6, 2022 at The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Luxury shopping, auctions, new vehicle reveals & experiential drives, exclusive gatherings and entertaining seminars surround Saturday’s Cars & Community and Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance. Each year The Amelia honors a racing legend and attracts celebrities from across the automotive landscape. The Amelia Concours d'Elegance has donated over $4 million to deserving charities.
About Hagerty
Hagerty is a specialty insurance provider focused on the global automotive enthusiast market and an automotive enthusiast brand offering integrated membership products and programs. Hagerty is home to Hagerty Drivers Club, Hagerty DriveShare, Hagerty Valuation Tools, Hagerty Media, Hagerty Drivers Club magazine, MotorsportReg, Hagerty Garage + Social, The Amelia Concours d’Elegance, the Concours d’Elegance of America, the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, the California Mille, Motorworks Revival and more. For more information, visit
Hagerty Event Communications