Skip to content

Al Unser reflects on the Triple Crown, now that it’s back in IndyCar

Jul 5, 2013, 10:00 AM EST

Photo courtesy Pocono Raceway, via the IndyCar archives. Photo courtesy Pocono Raceway, via the IndyCar archives.

Within IZOD IndyCar Series circles, chances are you’ve heard the legend “Big Al” Unser’s name more than normal the last several weeks.

Unser is the first – and thus far only – driver to have claimed IndyCar’s “Triple Crown.” He did so 35 years ago, and the focus is on his legacy and Tony Kanaan, in his quest to emulate Unser’s feat if he can win the second leg of the Fuzzy’s Vodka Triple Crown at Pocono Raceway this weekend.

Unser reflected on his record-setting season in a Fuzzy’s advance ahead of this weekend’s Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco.

“Winning them all was a great gift,” Unser said. “We thought we accomplished the world when we won all three. Jim Hall was really happy and the whole team was, too. In each one of those races I didn’t think I had a chance of winning. We figured we had a chance of competing up front. You know, winning, oh man. We were not happy with that Lola. Then all of all of a sudden, like at Indy, I looked up at the board and we were in the race. Ontario was the same way.

“I didn’t think we’d be all that competitive even though we won Indy and Pocono,” he added. “And we pulled it off between Jim (Hall), Huey (Absalom), Franz (Weis) and the whole team. At Pocono, we gambled by not changing tires. We took a big chance and it paid off. You never know for sure until that dang checkered flag falls who’s going to win. And we just did it the right thing time times that year. I got a ring that said I was a Triple Crown winner and USAC gave the team $10,000. I know for sure we didn’t get a million dollars.”

Unser can’t – but Kanaan can if he wins all three. Unser expanded on what it meant for IndyCar to bring back the Triple Crown for 2013.

“I give INDYCAR credit for bringing back the Triple Crown,” Unser said. “You know it used to be three 500-mile races and over the years the tracks and track distances changed. In the beginning it was three 2½-mile tracks. Then we lost Ontario and raced at Michigan that was 2 miles so we had to run 250 laps. I am glad it’s back and maybe in the future they can make Pocono 500 miles to keep it all 500-mile races across the board. This is a start, a positive start.”

  1. Matthew - Jul 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Reblogged this on The Open Wheel and commented:
    I agree with Big Al’s sentiments at the end of the article. For all the crap thrown at IndyCar over the past few years, at least give them credit for reviving the Triple Crown and for bringing Pocono back to the schedule; one of the hallmarks of Indycar racing has, for all but a few years, been the diversity of racetracks visited and Pocono once again will add a challenge to the drivers…

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Video from NASCAR America

NASCAR America's 2014 blooper reel
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Vickers (1935)
  2. K. Busch (1926)
  3. C. Coughlin (1831)
  4. D. Armstrong (1587)
  5. L. Cassill (1414)
  1. A. Self (1412)
  2. R. Black Jr. (1326)
  3. B. Kennedy (1181)
  4. D. Suarez (1152)
  5. M. Tifft (1101)