SPARTA, Ky. -- Al Unser, Jr., driver of the Corteco/Bryant No. 7 car for Kelley Racing, announced today that he has successfully completed an inpatient treatment program at a world-class substance-abuse center, and has received approval from his...
SPARTA, Ky. -- Al Unser, Jr., driver of the Corteco/Bryant No. 7 car for Kelley Racing, announced today that he has successfully completed an inpatient treatment program at a world-class substance-abuse center, and has received approval from his doctors to race this weekend at The Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., and to begin adjusting to the new alcohol-free lifestyle he learned while at the facility.
Unser made the decision to seek treatment and Corteco made arrangements for him to enter the facility on July 18. Earlier this week, his doctors authorized his release and he was cleared to drive by Dr. Henry Bock, Medical Director for the Indy Racing League
"Today we welcome back Al Unser, Jr.," said Kelley Racing owner Tom Kelley at a news conference held Kentucky Speedway. "I'm sure I can speak for everyone by saying that we are all glad to see him in good health. Our thoughts and prayers have been with Al since he entered a substance-abuse center last month. We admired his honesty in recognizing his problem with alcohol, and his determination to do something about it.
"The physicians treating Al were very pleased with his progress at the treatment center and felt he was ready to resume his regular routine. I know he can't wait to get back into the Corteco/Bryant car," said Kelley.
Unser, Jr. Said, "My recovery program didn't end earlier this week. No, that's just the beginning. I have a program that I'm following today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and the rest of my life. I was told by the doctors that once you're considered medically healthy and are taught how to better manage your lifestyle, the next phase of the recovery is getting back on track with your life.
"I am really thrilled about returning to racing this weekend, and I'm prepared for the challenge of managing my life without alcohol. I know I need to take every day one day at a time, and I can do that with the support and help of others," Unser said.
Unser is considered one of the most popular drivers in the Indy Racing League.
He currently stands 9th in championship points, which includes 2nd place in the closest finish in IRL history (at Boomtown 500 in Texas in June). His racing accomplishments include two Indianapolis 500 wins (1992 and 1994), two CART championships (1990 and 1994), 31 career CART and two IRL victories.
Corteco has sponsored Unser and his Kelley Racing entry since the beginning of the 2002 IRL season. The company specializes in automotive aftermarket sealing and vibration control products.
Al Unser Jr press conference