1980sABCAuto RacingHighlightsIndy 500InterviewsJim Lampley

Auto Racing – 1987 – Indy 500 – The Race – With ABCs Jim Lampley + Sam Posey + Bobby Unser

The 71st Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, on Sunday May 24, 1987….when after dominating practice….qualifying….and most of the race….driving leader Mario Andretti slowed with mechanical problems with only 23 laps to go…..and a mere five laps later….Al Unser Sr. assumed the lead….and won his record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory. 

During the month of May, an unusually high 25 crashes occurred during practice and qualifying….with one driver in particular, Jim Crawford, suffering serious leg injuries.

Al Unser’s victory is considered one of the biggest upsets in Indianapolis 500 history….when Unser ….whose driving career was beginning to wind down….had dropped down to part-time status a year earlier….when he entered the 1987 month of May without a ride and without sponsorship money….which left him on the sidelines for the first week of practice….but after Danny Ongais suffered a concussion in a practice crash….Unser Sr. was hired by Penske to fill the vacant seat…..and Big Al proceeded to win the race with a year-old March chassis….and the venerable Cosworth DFX….as it became the power plant’s tenth consecutive Indy victory….Al Unser Sr’s car was originally entered as a back-up….and had been sitting in a hotel lobby in Reading, Pennsylvania as a show car just weeks prior.

The race was sanctioned by USAC….and was included as part of the 1987 CART PPG Indy Car World Series….and of notable statistics….the 1987 Indy 500 was the first such where the entry list did not include a single car built in the United States….plus during the race….a spectator was killed when an errant tire was hit into the grandstand….which was the first spectator fatality at the event in a race related incident since 1938.



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