The NTT INDYCAR SERIES continues revisiting special Indy 500 races this month, where 50 years ago, a Speedway legend pilots a legendary paint scheme to his 2nd consecutive "500" victory.
Al Unser was already establishing his legendary career. He set the world on fire in 1970, claiming his first USAC Championship with 10 total victories, highlighted by his first Indianapolis 500 victory.
As the defending champion, he ensured he would be a threat to win Indianapolis again. Starting from the middle of the second row, he deftly kept in touch with Mark Donohue for the first quarter of the race. What followed was a classic duel between Unser and Joe Leonard until the Johnny Lightning Special became extremely special. Unser led the final 83 laps to win his second consecutive “500,” and the first driver to defend his title since Bill Vukovich in 1954.
One nugget of note from 1971: Al Unser’s win made him the first and only driver to date to win the Indianapolis 500 on his birthday (May 29th).
It is our extreme honor to recognize Al Unser and the 1971 Indianapolis 500 as our Classic Rewind. It may have been 50 years ago, but for many of us, it will always be a legendary race, won by a legend of our sport, in a legendary car. Enjoy!