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3-time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser dies at age 87

Indy 500 1968
Posted at 11:59 AM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 22:43:38-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser died Sunday at his New Mexico home at the age of 87, officials with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Monday.

Unser, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1968, 1975 and 1981, is one of 10 drivers to win the race at least three times. Only Unser and Rick Mears took the checkered flag in three different decades.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chairman Roger Penske called Unser a "true racer who raised the performance of everyone around him."

“There simply was no one quite like Bobby Unser," Penske said in a statement. "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. Bobby brought so much to Team Penske during his time with our team, including a memorable victory in the 1981 Indianapolis 500."

Unser finished his career with 35 IndyCar victories and two championships before he moved to the television and radio booths where he worked alongside Paul Page and Sam Posey.

One of six members of his family to race in the Indy 500, Unser was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 1990.

"Over the last several years, I have seen the true Bobby Unser — the man who loved our sport, loved the Indianapolis 500 and loved to be with the fans," IMS President Doug Boles said in a statement. "He would go out of his way to do whatever he could to be here in May to help us keep motorsports growing. He was always available to give speeches, to sign autographs or to just tell stories. His driving record speaks for itself. His lifelong passion for promoting auto racing and his enthusiastic, no sugar-coated opinions that continued after he hung up his helmet had such a meaningful impact."

Unser is survived by his wife, Lisa; sons Bobby Jr. and Robby; and daughters Cindy and Jeri.