Racing Legend Al Unser, Jr. Needs an Alcohol Awareness Class

by: Mike Miller

One of the greatest racers of all time, Al Unser, Jr. has been arrested for two driving under the influence (DUI) violations. One is a sign of a possible problem. Two DUIs means there is definitely a problem with alcohol.

The 49-year-old was flying through the desolate New Mexico highways when he was arrested for his second DUI in five years. According to the LA Times, the judge may have gone too lightly on the legendary racer. How will help him get his life back on track (pun intended)?

Adding fuel to the charges is the fact that in addition to being drunk, Unser was also drag racing at the time he was caught.

He was sentenced to three months behind bars, but a judge reduced the penalty to a year of supervised probation.

What was the racer driving? If you guessed a white 2011 Chevrolet Suburban you would be correct. The drunken Unser was racing another car about 3 a.m., both vehicles exceeding speeds of 100 MPH.

In 2007, Unser pleaded no contest to DUI charges following a crash on a New Mexico freeway. In that incident, his blood-alcohol content was three times the legal limit and he failed field sobriety tests.

In the most recent DUI incident, Unser and an unidentified driver in a black sedan were traveling so fast as they weaved across lanes that other cars were forced to slam on their brakes.

Police stopped Unser while the other car got away. Unser smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred and his blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit of 0.08.

How does he not get jail time for this?

At his peak, Unser won at Indianapolis in 1992 and 1994. His father, Al Unser Sr., won back-to-back wins at the Indianapolis 500 in 1970 and 1971. He also took the checkered flag at Indy in 1978 and 1987. Unser’s uncle Bobby won at Indianapolis in 1968, 1975 and 1981.

It is obvious to me that Unser has a serious drinking problem. The latest charges involve such dangerous driving that he should be put on a final warning that any further DUI or other reckless driving behavior will result in a permanent revocation of his driving privileges. He certainly needs a California DUI class.