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Al Unser Dead at 82

Dec 9 - The Unser family has more wins at the Indy Motor
Speedway than any other.  Today,
Al Unser died at his
home in Chama, New Mexico, after a 17-year battle with
cancer. He was 82.  

His older brother
Bobby died last May.  While Bobby won
the Indianapolis 500 an amazing three times, Al surpassed
him, winning the race four times. (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987)

Al Unser Sr won the national championship three times -
1970, 1983 and 1985.

His son, 'Little Al' went on to win the Indy 500 two times,
making 'Big Al' the only 500 champion who's brother and
son also won the race.
1971 Indianapolis 500 Winner
1970 Indianapolis 500 Winner
1987- Al Unser Becomes 4-Time Winner!
1978 Indy 500 Win
“In the 112 years of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Al Unser’s career
stands out among the others. His four Indianapolis 500 wins and most laps led in the
‘500’ (644) solidify him as one of the greatest of all time. Al achieved his successes
competing against many of the best our sport has ever seen, which makes his
accomplishments even more impressive."
– J. Douglas Boles, President, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Dec 15 - Jimmie Johnson has decided to race the full IndyCar season next year.  He did not race
on the oval tracks during his rookie season this year for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Dec 15 - 2021 Indy Lights runner-up, David Malukas, has signed with Daley Coyne Racing, with
HMD Motorsports, to contest the 2022 IndyCar season in the No. 18 Honda entry.
Competitive F1 Season Ends

Dec 12 - For the first time in a decade, the Mercedes F1
team received some major competition, in a season many
are hailing as the most exciting ever.  

While it has been obvious that
Max Verstappen would
pose a threat to 7-time World Driving Champion
, it has taken seven years for his Red Bull team to
finally give him a car that could compete with Mercedes.

Hamilton won 6 of his championships with Mercedes over
the previous 7 seasons (his teammate Niko Rosberg won it
in 2016.)  Meanwhile, Verstappen has only been able to
capture a couple of wins each season.

This year Verstappen entered this final race of the season
with 9 wins.  Hamilton had 8 and they had the exact same
number of points - 369.5.  Which ever driver finished ahead
of the other would become the 2021 Drivers Champion.

The race was held at Abu Dhabi.  The course had changed
from previous years.  Several chicanes were removed
creating a faster flowing track, in hopes that it would
increase passing zones.

Verstappen started from pole, but was passed by Hamilton
before the first turn.  

During the race, the Mercedes showed it was a little faster
than the Red Bull, as Hamilton slowly extended his lead
over 2nd place Verstappen.

Verstappen and Hamilton pit, on laps 14 and 15, which
gave the lead to Verstappen's teammate,
Sergio Perez.  
Perez tried his best to slow Hamilton down.  Verstappen
closed the gap to Hamilton from 10 down to 1.2 seconds
before Hamilton got by Perez.

On lap 36 of 58, there was a caution under a virtual safety
car.  Verstappen pit and came out on new hard-compound
tires while Hamilton stayed out on tires that had 23 laps on
them. When the race restarted, Verstappen was 18-seconds
behind Hamilton.  While he slowly gained on Hamilton, it
was not fast enough to catch him.  Verstappen would need
a miracle.
By lap 51, Verstappen had only reduced Hamilton's lead to
14 seconds. And then, Nicholas Latifi hit the wall and there
was another caution.  Verstappen pitted and got a set of
fresh soft tires.  Hamilton again stayed out.

Five lapped cars stood between Verstappen and Hamilton
and there would only be one race lap left when the race
restarted.  Those cars would be required to let Verstappen

At the last moment, race officials suddenly told the lapped
cars they could pass the safety car and get out of
Verstappen's way!  Suddenly, Verstappen was right on the
back of Hamilton when the race went green.

He passed Hamilton and Hamilton made a valiant effort to
get back around him, but DRS is disabled for the first two
laps and he failed with his old tires.

Verstappen finally won his first championship.

Mercedes argued how the race ended and filed several
appeals after the race, bu they were turned down.

This race marked the last for
Kimi Raikonnen, who's lone
championship was in 2007, which was also the last time
Ferrari won a championship.
Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton
Dec 20 - IndyCar will have marshals pushing buttons for yellow and blue flag situations that will
instantly notify race control and will activate bright 20" LED panels placed around race tracks to
notify the drivers.  The bright lights should be more apparent to the drivers, though flags may also
still be used.  The system is made by
EM Mortorsport.
Dec 21 - Instead of the new 2022 Nascar Cup cars having 550 h.p. and 5" rear spoilers as planned,
Nascar has decided they will run 670 h.p.engines with 4" rear spoilers at all tracks except super
1. Helio Wins Indy 500, joining the Four-timer Club
2021 Top Stories From the Speedway
4. Allmendinger Scores Shock Win In Crazy, Historic Brickyard Race
2. Race Fans Return for the Indy 500
3. IMS Helps Vaccinate over 100,000
5. Brickyard Weekend Brings Nascar, IndyCar Tripleheader to Fans for First Time
6. Four-Time Indy 500 Winners Gather for Historic Photo
7. Veekay, Grosjean Shine In GMR Grand Prix
Helio Castroneves made history by becoming the fourth four-time winner in 105 races.
It was an exceptionally fast race with an exciting conclusion as the lead was swapped back and forth
between Castroneves and Alex Palou over the last few laps.

Some New Indy 500 Records:
· Fastest Indy 500 in history: 190.690 mph average
· Time between first and most-recent victory: 20 years, Castroneves (2001-2021)
· Fewest caution periods: Two
· Fewest caution laps: 18
· Most cars running at finish: 30
· Most cars on lead lap: 22
· Most laps completed, field: 6,308
· Most times running at finish, career: 19, Castroneves (broke tie with Foyt and Unser)
For the first time in two years, race fans returned to the stands for the Indy 500.
Not since 2019 had race fans in any capacity attended the Indy 500 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
which prevented race fans from attending the 104th Running that was postponed to August 2020.

On Memorial Day weekend in 2021, eyes from around the world were on Indianapolis as the Racing
Capital of the World “reopened America” in what was the largest gathering in the world since the
COVID-19 pandemic began.

There was still a limitation on the crowd size.  135,000 fans, or about 40% on normal capacity,
were allowed to
Beginning in early March, IMS began hosting mass vaccination clinics.  Locals could drive in and get
vaccinated without getting out of their cars, then drove down the pit lane to exit.

The speedway has continued holding these services and has helped vaccinate over 100,000 local
local citizens for free.
After 26 years of the Brickyard 400 NASCAR transitioned from the 2.5-mile oval track to the 14-turn,
2.4-mile road course for the inaugural Verizon 200 at the Brickyard.

Eventual NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson paced the field for most of the race, leading 28 of
95 laps.  Denny Hamlin, his key antagonist for the season, was right on his tail, leading 27 laps.

With six laps remaining when Hamlin, Chase Briscoe and Kurt Busch raced three-wide for the lead heading
into Turn 1 on a restart.  One lap later, a 10-car pileup occurred in Turns 5 & 6 after hitting a curb.

The dramatic incident changed the complexity of the race entirely. Once the red flag was lifted, the race
went into two overtimes as Hamlin and Briscoe battled for the lead.

Heading into Turn 10 with two laps to go, the two made contact and Hamlin went spinning into the grass
while Briscoe continued as the leader. Briscoe was black flagged for going off track and had to give up his

That allowed second place driver Allmendinger to inherit the lead coming to the white flag, and he scored
his first NASCAR Cup Series win since 2014 in his part-time No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

As a former INDYCAR SERIES driver and Indianapolis 500 competitor, it was a lifetime achievement for
the California native.
A revamped Brickyard Weekend welcomed race fans to the Racing Capital of the World for three days of
road course action Aug. 13-15, with three of the most popular racing series on the same track on the same
weekend, an opportunity not available to fans anywhere else in the world.

Will Power won the IndyCar event early Saturday afternoon, while Austin Cindric sang “Back Home Again
in Indiana” on his radio while taking the checkered flag for the Nascar Xfinity Series race late Saturday

Sunday’s main event featured the Nascar Cup Series on the IMS road course for the first time ever.

Just days later, USAC took to The Dirt Track inside the Indy oval for a National Midget Championship
event. The drew a spirited crowd for two nights of grassroots racing action as USAC champions and
Nascar and IndyCar drivers got down and dirty.  Kyle Larson won the Feature.

It was a rousing success for drivers and fans alike, and it set the blueprint for an exciting future for
Brickyard Weekend in 2022 and beyond.
On May 30, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears welcomed Helio Castroneves to the historic four-time
Indy 500 winners club. On July 21, the four legends gathered for one of the most significant moments in
Indianapolis Motor Speedway history for a photo shoot that will be remembered forever.  

While some thought to take the photo at the following Indy 500, luckily they did not wait, as Unser
passed away Dec. 9. at age 82.  (His brother Bobby Unser, another Indy 500 legend, passed away earlier
in May.)
A.J. Foyt, Jr. (86), Al Unser Sr (82), Rick Mears (70), Helio Castroneves (46)
The 2021 Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway got off to an good start with the GMR Grand
Prix on the IMS road course, setting the tone for what would be not only a thrilling Indianapolis 500, but a
memorable IndyCar season.

Romain Grosjean retired from a 10-year Formula 1 career last year and became an IndyCar rookie
this year.  Even with those credentials, fans were not prepared for the speed he would display in his first season
of IndyCar.  Planning to skip the oval races, the GMR GP was just his third IndyCar race - and he grabbed the

Grosjean easily led the first half of the race, but would finish 2nd to 20 y/o Dutchman
Rinus VeeKay, one of
several new and young IndyCar drivers who showed lots of potential this season.  This was the Ed Carpenter
Racing driver's first IndyCar win.
Romain Grosjean & Rinus VeeKay on Podium