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Unser Reportedly Done as Driver

June 30, 2004|From Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Al Unser Jr. appears ready to end his driving career.

The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but Al Unser Sr. said his son was considering retirement after more than 21 seasons driving Indy cars.

"I know he was unhappy with the race car when I talked to him Monday night," Unser Sr. said. "I'm just not sure what he is going to do."

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway had a news conference planned for today, but did not give details other than to say it would involve a "superstar." Unser's ex-wife, Shelley Unser, said their 21-year-old son, Al, also would be participating in a conference call.

The Indianapolis Star reported on its website that Unser would retire from Indy-car racing. Spokesman Kevin Diamond of Patrick Racing, Unser's team, rebutted the story.

Unser won CART championships in 1990 and 1994.

If Unser, 42, does quit, the Indy Racing League would have lost two of its best-known drivers since May 2003. Michael Andretti retired at age 40 after last year's Indianapolis 500 to focus his attention on ownership in the Andretti-Green team.

Unser grew up in a racing family, much like Andretti, whose father, Mario, won the 1969 Indianapolis 500. The two were once considered the future stars of open-wheel racing.

"I've always had a ton of respect for him. He's a great guy," Michael Andretti said in a written statement.

"I'm proud to have raced against him for as many years as I did."

Said the eldest Unser: "I know he's not been happy. If he's not happy, he should get out."

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