Wednesday, July 6, 2016

500 Facts About the Indy 500-- Part 14: "The Thumbs-Up" and Eighty Feet of Wall

Well, there won't actually be 500 facts, just the ones that are interest to me.


In 1989, Emerson Fittipaldi and Al Unser, Jr. were battling it out.  Unser was able to pass with three laps to go.

With two laps to go, Unser approached slower traffic.  Fittipaldi closed in, and on the backstretch, pulled inside Unser.  Running side-by-side in turn three, Fittipaldi drifted slightly high and the cars touched wheels.  Unser spun around into the wall.

As the yellow flag came out for the last lap, Unser stepped out of his car unhurt and walked to the edge of the track to give Fittipaldi a thumbs-up as the pace car escorted Emerson to his first Indy 500 win.

When IMS replaed the walls, Unser asked if he could have a piece.  They offered better than that.  He got 80 feet of the track's historic wall -- including the section in Turn Three that he plowed into after touching wheels with Fittipaldi.

The wall now stands at the entrance to the Unser Racing museum in Albuquerque, a great reminder of the legacy of the Unser racing family.

Not Sure If I'd Have Given Him a Thumbs-Up.  --RoadDog

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