Allan Brewer, IndyCar Correspondent
Al Unser, Jr. charged with drunken driving and suspended by IndyCar
Former race car driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion (1992, 1994) Al Unser, Jr. was charged with aggravated Driving While Intoxicated driving in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico on Thursday morning, According to police reports Unser registered an illegal alcohol level while racing another car. He had the odor of alcohol on when he was stopped for questioning. Unser was also charged with reckless driving and racing upon a highway.
Unser has been released on his own recognizance. Unser did stop for the authorities, but at this time the other car and its driver has not been found. Both were reported going over 100 miles per hour in a 60 mph zone.
"Little Al", as the scion of the famous racing family is known around the world, has had his ups and downs with the law before. Four years ago he was party to a two-car accident that left him without a driver's license for 90 days. He subsequently entered Alcoholics Anonymous and performed community service to promote abstinence and safe-driving causes.
A 2002 incident in Indianapolis also led to an embarrassing moment when during a drunken moment when it was reported he had assaulted a lady friend but no civil or criminal charges of abuse were filed by the prosecutors. However, Unser did undergo alcohol abuse treatment.
Currently at the age of 49, Unser is an IZOD IndyCar official and has the duties of driving the two-seater pole car. A terse statement from the governing body put the implications into blunt context late Thursday afternoon, reading, "IndyCar is aware of the charges and will not be commenting at this time. Al Unser Jr. has been suspended indefinitely and relieved of his duties in Race Control, pending further investigation."