Bobby is one of only 10 drivers to have won the Indy 500 three or more times

By Katie Campione
May 03, 2021 05:39 PM
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Bobby Unser
Credit: Bobby Unser

Bobby Unser, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, died Sunday at his New Mexico home. He was 87.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced the news in a statement Monday, though no cause of death was given.

"There was no one else like him," the speedway posted on Twitter, along with a video tribute to the racing legend.

Bobby won the Indy 500 in 1968, 1975 and 1981. He is one of only 10 drivers to have won the race three or more times.

Bobby Unser
Credit: Bob D'Olivo/The Enthusiast Network via Getty

In a statement Monday, Roger Penske — the current owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the team owner for Unser's 1981 race-winning car — shared his condolences with the family.

"There simply was no one quite like Bobby Unser. Bobby was a ferocious competitor on the track and his larger-than-life personality made him one of the most beloved and unique racers we have ever seen," Penske said.

He added that Bobby was "one of the most colorful characters in motorsports. Throughout his time as a driver, a commentator, and an ambassador of our sport, Bobby's stories and his passion for racing were legendary."

Mario Andretti, another legendary former race car driver, also paid tribute to his friend on Monday.

"I join the racing world mourning the passing of Bobby Unser," he wrote in a statement on social media. "The best of times..... when a fierce competitor can also be a very very very good friend. RIP my friend. Thanks for the memories"

The Unser family has won the Indy 500 a record nine times collectively. Bobby's brother Al Unser is one of three people to have ever won the race four times.

After a storied driving career, Bobby transitioned to broadcasting, providing play-by-play commentary for INDYCAR telecasts and on IMS Radio Network.

Bobby Unser
Credit: Robert Laberge/Allsport/ Getty

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As a broadcaster, Bobby was able to call the finish for two of his family's Indy 500 wins — the first in 1987 when his younger brother Al earned his fourth Indy 500 victory and again in 1992 when his nephew, Al Unser Jr., won the race for the first time.

After his broadcast career ended, Bobby continued to pour his energy into racing as a driving coach and race strategist at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Unser is survived by his wife, Lisa, his sons Bobby Jr. and Robby, and his daughters Cindy and Jeri.