Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Q&A With Al Unser Jr.

By: Tony Donohue

Recently, I had the privilege to conduct a phone interview with two time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. I was fortunate enough that Al took time out of his busy lifestyle, and job with the Indy Car Series to answer some questions for 16th And Georgetown . Al as thirty four career wins, including his first Indy Racing League win in 2000 at Las Vegas. It was a great experience for me to interview one of my favorite drivers growing up, so I hope everyone will enjoy this Q and A.

Tony: What do you think of the Push to Pass?

Al Jr.: It doesn’t help too much, fuel makes power, so unless there running lean, you won’t see a difference, its mostly for P.R. for the drivers

Tony: What do you think of the 2010 schedule? Do you prefer ovals or road courses?

Al Jr.: It is a shame that Milwaukee and Richmond went away, Indy Car tries to keep a balance of ovals and road courses, hopefully they can keep that (balance).

Tony: What does it mean to have Toronto back on the Indy Car schedule?

Al Jr.: I love it! One of the premium road races for CART, it was a great success. Good to see the cars that run the Indy 500 back at Toronto.

Tony: With 34 wins in your career, including the two Indy 500 victories, besides the two wins at Indy, what other wins stand out in your career for you?

Al Jr.: Long Beach and Toronto

Tony: You have had your struggles in and out of the cockpit, I believe you have been sober for 2 and half years, how has that changed Al Jr.? When did you say to yourself, I need to do something more? I need to change and seek help?

Al Jr.: I have completely changed in those 2 and a half years, I am not even the same man. I am not even the same guy I was in my teens or twenties. God is in my life in a big way now. He was able to do more for me then my friends and family could do, god accomplished more for me to quit drinking. I am truly blessed with being an alcoholic, having the disease, if not, God wouldn’t be in my life today. He has blessed me with my position as Indy Car driver coach, and an assistant to Brian Barnhardt in race control. My life now is all about service, servicing my fellow man, helping others, not just myself. I hit my rock bottom when I got the DUI on January 25, 2007. It crushed me. It was my final straw.

Tony: Tell me about Force for Earth?

Al Jr.: It is an all natural product. A fuel and engine conditioner. Put it in your car, cleans carbons out of the exhaust pipes, lowers admissions, and will give you 7-19% better fuel mileage. Go to http://www.unserrobey.com/ for more.

Tony: Tell me about your museum. What will you see their and where did the idea generate from?

Al Jr.: It tells the story of the Unser’s. How they made it from Pikes Peak to Indianapolis. It also shows the revolution of the automobile from the beginning to present day. Anything from tires to exhausts. Firestone has a great display in there with tires from 1911.

Tony: Who is your pick to win the 2009 Indy Car Championship?

Al Jr.: It just keeps going back and forth between Briscoe and Dixon. I think the luck is falling Briscoe’s way. Just like my championship in 1994, the ball is bouncing his way. When your hot, your hot, in 1994 I was hot, and right now Briscoe is hot.

I'd like to wrap up the Q&A by conragtulating Al Jr. on being inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. It was long overdue

(Photos courtesy of IMS & Gene Marderness)



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