Louis Unser

Full Name:
Louis Unser jr
Born:
16th March 1896
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Died:
18th October 1979 (Aged 83)
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Nationality:
American
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

The last two of "Uncle Louie" Unser’s nine victories in the Pikes Peak hillclimb were officially rounds of what is now the IndyCar Series. And his success prompted one of American open-wheel racing’s most enduring dynasties.

Although he had no children of his own, his nephews (Al Sr and Bobby Unser) shared seven Indianapolis 500 victories between them and "Little Al" continued that tradition into a third generation.

Louie Unser was the oldest of three brothers born to Swiss immigrants. The family settled in Colorado Springs and the siblings were interested in all things automobile from an early age. They rode a motorcycle to the summit of the nearby Pikes Peak mountain in 1915 – an ascent previously thought unassailable by vehicle.

However, his younger brother Joe was killed in 1929 when testing a racing car on the open road between Denver and Colorado Springs while preparing to race at Indianapolis for the first time.

That did not deter Louie, a machinist by profession, from competing at Pikes Peak on 37 occasions. His victories spanned three decades (1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1941, 1946, 1947 and 1953) and if you beat Unser on the 12.42-mile climb in the years immediately after World War II, you were almost sure of victory. He scored six top-three finishes from 1947 to 1953.

By the time the 71-year-old finally retired in 1967, he was undisputedly the "Old Man of the Mountain". And a new generation of Unsers was ready to take over.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1965 USAC National Championship
Don McCormack
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
57th 5
1955 AAA National Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
50th 20
1954 AAA National Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1953 AAA National Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 1 1
100% win rate
25th 200
1952 AAA National Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
25th 160
1951 AAA National Championship
Federal Engineering
1 1 1 0
0% win rate
33rd 140
1950 AAA National Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
29th 140
1949 AAA National Championship
Federal Engineering
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
27th 160
1948 AAA National Championship 1 0 0 0
0% win rate
39th 60
1947 AAA National Championship 1 0 1 1
100% win rate
23rd 200