IRL: Pike's Peak Robby Unser Preview

UNIQUE HEALING PLAN HELPS ROBBY UNSER GET READY FOR PIKES PEAK FOUNTAIN, Colo., Aug. 10, 1998 -- Robby Unser rolls these words -- "Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique" -- off his tongue as easily as if they were running down a ...


FOUNTAIN, Colo., Aug. 10, 1998 -- Robby Unser rolls these words -- "Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique" -- off his tongue as easily as if they were running down a mountain. Most of Robby Unser's auto racing life has been about running up a mountain -- the magnificent Pikes Peak outside of Colorado Springs. He is part of the Unser clan that has set records there since great uncle Louie raced his automobile up the 14,110-foot "Hill" in 1926. Robby Unser returns to this central Colorado landmark to race again Aug. 16. But instead of dashing around 156 turns up Pikes Peak, he will be negotiating four left turns hopefully 200 times at the nearby Pikes Peak International Raceway in the Radisson 200 Pep Boys Indy Racing League race. So what does all of this have to do with those big words that rolled off Unser's tongue? Well, if it wasn't for B.E.S.T., Unser might not be racing this weekend. He suffered a broken foot in a crash during the Pep Boys 400K on July 19 at Dover, Del., and was forced to miss the VisionAire 500 on July 25 at Charlotte, N.C. B.E.S.T. is a healing system administered by chiropractor Sue Morler in Indianapolis. "She's a different type of chiropractor," said Unser, son of three-time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser. "She doesn't just pop bones. She does a lot of work with the nervous system and diet. I'm taking some supplemental pills that I don't normally take." Morler's program has the fancy name. She worked with the Indiana Pacers during the NBA playoffs last spring. "I'm walking around a lot better than I thought I would," Unser said. Actually, the program wasn't new to him. Dr. David Fletcher, his doctor in his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., subscribes to the same healing philosophies. Fletcher came to Indy in May to be with Unser while he drove a car owned by Eddie Cheever Jr. in the Indy 500. Cheever won the race, while Unser added to the lore of his family at the Brickyard by qualifying 21st and finishing a solid fifth. It was the second-best finish by a rookie, as Steve Knapp finished third. On the high-banked Dover Downs track July 19, Unser ran well and stayed out of trouble, just like his three previous races driving The Children's Beverage Group-Team Cheever G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. Then on Turn 4 of Lap 184 the car suddenly lost traction and spun into the wall. Oddly, two-time Indy 500 champion Arie Luyendyk's machine later did the same thing in the same place. "Arie and I have talked about it," Unser said. "We both were scratching our heads." Unser hasn't been in a car since his injury.

"I'm just going to go there and see what I can do," he said. He should do fairly well, because this injury is minor compared to the broken right leg he suffered in a USAC Silver Crown race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds earlier in his career. He had to wear a full-length cast on the leg for two years, but still managed to continue racing. Colorado Springs is Bobby Unser's birthplace, and Robby once lived there for two years. He likes the town, the area and the people. "And I really love being up on the mountain," he said. Robby can't remember exactly the first time he went up the mountain, but he says it was with his brother Bobby Jr. He was the "gopher" for his brother's race car. He barely had his driver's license before he began racing up Pikes Peak. In 1987 at age 21, Robby Unser joined the A-Rally Division and won. He added an open-wheel record the next year. Then in 1989 he drove a Peugeot 405 Turbo to victory in the Unlimited Division. In 1995 and 1996, he added a pair of truck titles. In all, he won eight times. His father won 13 times. Unser says there is no way a driver can compare the vehicles he drives up the mountain and the one he will drive at PPIR. In the past, he drove a sprint car at Erie Speedway in Denver when it was dirt. He and 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier, from Vail, Colo., also drove ARS cars there on pavement. "I just enjoy driving my cars," he said. He loves driving for Cheever. Unser said Cheever treats him well and gives him top equipment. As far as coming to PPIR, he said he just wants to continue his smooth, smart driving style and contend for a victory. "But I'm most anxious to do well and not make any mistakes," he said. That means doing his "B.E.S.T."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Arie Luyendyk , Bobby Unser , Steve Knapp , Robby Unser , David Fletcher