IRL: Al Unser named Michigan Grand Marshall

BROOKLYN, Mich. --Al Unser had many special moments during his 33-year driving career. Additionally, he's one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times. One of those special moments occurred in September of 1974 at Michigan ...

BROOKLYN, Mich. --Al Unser had many special moments during his 33-year driving career. Additionally, he's one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times. One of those special moments occurred in September of 1974 at Michigan International Speedway. That day, Unser was a part of history as he was the last driver to win on Firestone tires before its initial exit from racing at the end of the 1974 season and Unser's only open-wheel win at MIS. Since its return to open-wheel racing in 1995, Firestone has won every open-wheel race at MIS. Firestone is also the only tire to compete in all 80 IRL IndyCar Series races since the series' inception in 1995.

Unser will return to the site of the historical win this weekend, as he will serve as the Grand Marshall for the Firestone Indy 400 on July 27 at MIS. Phil Pacsi, Executive Director of Firestone Brand Marketing, will serve as the Firestone Indy 400 Honorary Starter and drop the green flag to start the 400-mile race.

"Since we are celebrating our 35th anniversary in 2003, it's only appropriate that one of open wheel racing's legendary drivers will give the command to start engines," said MIS President Brett Shelton. "Al Unser has given MIS race fans so many great memories over the years, we're excited that he could be a part of our July event weekend."

Unser, who retired from racing in 1994 with 39 open-wheel wins, is currently a driver coach and consultant with the Indy Racing League. He is also a member of one of racing's most famous families. His brother Bobby is a three-time Indianapolis 500 and MIS winner. His son, Al, is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and record-holder for the fastest 500-mile race win at MIS. Al Unser Jr. is currently an IRL IndyCar Series competitor that is scheduled to race in Sunday's Firestone Indy 400.

Along with the Firestone Indy 400 this weekend at MIS, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will run the Sears 200 on Saturday July 26. Jim Fleming of Perrysburg, Ohio, Automotive District Manager for Sears, will serve as the event's Grand Marshall and give the command to bring the 36 trucks to life. Tom Coy, a 39-year veteran of Sears, is the Operations Manager for Sears in Ann Arbor and will serve as the events Honorary Starter.

Tickets are still available for Sunday's Firestone Indy 400 and Saturday's Sears 200. All seats for the Firestone Indy 400 are just $40, or fans can purchase a combination ticket for both Saturday and Sunday for just $50. The combo ticket includes the Saturday, July 26 Sears 200 along with the IRL IndyCar Series Firestone Indy 400 and the Infiniti Pro Series races on Sunday July 27. Children 12 and under are free all weekend. For ticket information, visit MIS' official website, www.MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS ticket hotline at (800) 354-1010.

-mis-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Al Unser