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INDY 500: Unser, Jr.-Another Indy 500 Victory?

26 May 2000

By David Treffer
Contributing Editor, The Auto Channel
Can Al Unser, Jr. add another Indy 500 victory to his extensive resume? If the race at Las Vegas, which was won by "Little Al", was a precursor to the most famous oval race in the world then you would have to say that his chances are very good.

The reunification of Unser,Jr.and Team Owner Rick Galles was the first step toward achieving the goal of winning this year's Indy 500. The second step was to develop a dependable car. The third and final step toward victory was to build a team that knows what it takes to win this special race. Rick Galles has put all of the pieces together. During the preliminary practices and long-distance runs prior to qualifying Unser,Jr. was always in the top ten. Unser, Jr.s qualifying effort was neither the strongest nor the fastest. In fact the entire qualifying of last Saturday and Sunday was a bizarre mix of changing weather conditions. Being the first qualifier of the day, Unser, Jr. admitted to having a case of "the butterflies." Who could blame him? A four-year hiatus from one of the racetracks that his family name is synonymous with was a large hurdle to overcome. Not one to look for excuses, Unser,Jr. did acknowledge that a qualifying attempt later in the afternoon might have provided a quicker time. None the less the important business at hand was to make the show.

So what will happen on Sunday? Two things are certainly in his favor. Experience and Desire. Al Unser, Jr. will bring year's of experience and knowledge of implementing a race strategy. Who can forget that incredible finish in 1992 when Unser, Jr. just pipped Scott Goodyear by 43/1000th of a second. It is and probably will remain the closest finish ever in the Indy 500. A desire to succeed at the Indy 500 is every driver's motivation otherwise they would not be attending. However, there is a tone in his voice that indicates the desire to add a third Indy 500 Borg-Warner Trophy to the showroom. We will all find out on Sunday.

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