'Just Al' Unser To Run Toyota Atlantic Events at Road America and Montreal with Brooks Associates Racing INDIANAPOLIS (August 3, 2004) -- Brooks Associates Racing announced today that Al Unser, son of legendary racer Al Unser Jr. and grandson...
'Just Al' Unser To Run Toyota Atlantic Events at Road America and Montreal with Brooks Associates Racing
INDIANAPOLIS (August 3, 2004) -- Brooks Associates Racing announced today that Al Unser, son of legendary racer Al Unser Jr. and grandson of racing icon Al Unser, will compete for the team at two upcoming races in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama.
Unser, who's come to be known as "Just Al," will test for the Brooks squad on Wednesday, August 4 at the 4.048-mile Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The 21-year-old native of Albuquerque, New Mexico will then pilot the #10 car during this weekend's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Road America, Round 9 of 12 on the 2004 Atlantic schedule. Unser will also drive for the Brooks team later this month at the Molson Indy Montreal Toyota Atlantic race, August 27-29, at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve road course.
Unser, who made his Toyota Atlantic debut in the season-opening race at Long Beach this year, will join teammate Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK ind./TMI/Redline Oil) on the Brooks Associates Racing team this weekend as Kasemets returns to the track for his first action since Cleveland in July.
"Having an unexpected seat open mid-season, the discussions with Al and his family have just continued and it's really been more about balancing his schedule than 'when' he'd come on board. This move simply lets Al gain some experience in another formula," said team owner, John Brooks. "Clearly, this Road America deal is last minute, so our goals for Al will be a bit different. Learning the track, making the transition back into Atlantic and a solid run in preparation for Montreal is our focus. I need to recognize my team also for their incredible patience -- we've missed a couple races and it's been a bit hard on everyone and I appreciate their continued support and first class effort."
Unser has never competed on the legendary Road America track, but he remembers many of his father's Champ Car races on the circuit and he knows what he's in for.
"It's one of the toughest road courses around and it will be a brutal test for me," said Unser. "I'm looking forward to (running an Atlantic car). At my level of experience, I think this will help me grow immensely as a driver. I'm a racer and I want to race anything I can."
In 2002, Unser earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Skip Barber Western Racing Series and he also finished seventh in the Formula Dodge National Championship that year. He competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series last season and earned four top-10 results as he finished 12th in the series championship. In his first try in an Atlantic car, he became involved in a Lap 1 accident that resulted in a finish of 21st for P-1 Racing at Long Beach this season. Unser has also run in four Infinity Pro Series events this year and has produced three third-place efforts and a pole position last weekend at Michigan.
"While Al is in the early stages of his career, we wanted to be sure to give him every opportunity in motorsports," said Shelly Unser, who is helping manage her son's career. "He ran in Atlantic at Long Beach, did some NASCAR minor series races, and is currently competing well in the Infiniti Pro Series. We've been talking to John Brooks for some time about putting Al back into an Atlantic car. The combination of running road course events and competing with a seasoned group of drivers in the Toyota Atlantic series will be a great experience for Al."