Four-Time Indy 500 Champ Al Unser Named Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival Grand Marshal
Legendary race car driver Al Unser will serve as grand marshal for this weekend's Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Sonoma Raceway, June 1-3. The event is one of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association's Gold Medallion events, which certifies cars for their authenticity and historical significance.
Unser, one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, is also a three-time Indy car champion (1970, '83, '85). He was among the rare breed of racers who could drive any type of car at any venue, including sports cars, stock cars, modifieds and dirt cars. A four-time Hoosier Hundred victor, he drove and won in sprints, midgets, Formula 5000 and stock cars to name a few. Race fans can meet Unser throughout the weekend and take part in an autograph session on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the vendor midway.
"All of us at the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque appreciate history and the outstanding and important cars of our past," Unser said. "The cars that show up at this event are exceptional and I look forward to roaming the paddock. I never fail to see old friends and great fans at SVRA events."
The Hall of Famer was USAC stock car rookie of the year in 1967 and IROC champion in 1978. In his final Indianapolis 500 win (1987) he broke Ralph DePalma's 67-year-old record for most career laps led in the historic race. He has a career total 39 Indy car race victories. Unser competed in the first IndyCar race at Sonoma in 1970, finishing third to create a Hall of Fame podium with Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti.
In addition to more than 300 vintage race cars across a variety of classes, the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival will mark the first of three appearances by the Pre-1920 Exhibition Series as well as an incredible collection from this year's featured group, the Trans Am Series. In addition, SVRA sponsors Jaguar and Land Rover will also be on hand to present arrive and drive experiences. Anyone with a valid driver's license and closed-toe shoes can drive the cars.
On-track action begins at 8:10 a.m., Friday through Sunday. The weekend will feature practice, qualifying and races in each of the 12 race groups, as well as the pre-war exhibition laps during the lunch break each day. Tickets to the Sonoma Historics are $15 on Friday and $40 on Saturday or Sunday. A full-weekend ticket is $60 and parking is free. Children 12 years and under are admitted free all weekend. Trackside camping for the weekend is also available. For tickets and more information on the Sonoma Historics, visit SonomaRaceway.com/Historics or call 800-870-7223.