Bobby Rahal and Al Unser, Jr to be Inducted into Motorsports Walk of Fame
2009-04-16 · By Editor
The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach will honor racing legends Bobby Rahal and Al Unser, Jr. at the fourth annual Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame induction ceremony. The event will take place on Thursday, April 16, 2009 during the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach week.
“These are two more racing legends that we are adding to our Motorsports Walk of Fame,” said Mayor Bob Foster, who will be presenting the medallions to the honorees. “Unser practically owned our Grand Prix for awhile, and Rahal is one of the few winning drivers at Indy who also won it as an owner.”
Also attending this year’s induction ceremony are Brian Redman, who won the first Long Beach Grand Prix in 1975 and was inducted in to the Motorsports Walk of Fame in 2006, and Parnelli Jones, who was inducted last year in to the Motorsports Walk of Fame. Both racing legends will join Rayal and Unser at a special autograph session at the ceremony.
The ceremony begins at 11:00 am at the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame on South Pine Avenue in front of the Convention Center, along the route of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
“This year’s inductees represent not only great drivers, but individuals that have contributed much to the success of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach over the years,” said Jim Michaelian, CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. ”That’s why ‘Little Al’ is known as the ‘King of the Beach’ and Bobby has achieved great success at Long Beach not only on the track but also as an owner.”
Al Unser, Jr. followed in the footsteps of his father and an uncle (Bobby) to become repeat champion at Indianapolis, winning the ‘500’ in 1992 and 1994. Champion of the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series in 1990 and 1994, Unser won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach an incredible six times: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1995, and overall, took the checkered flag in 31 events between 1984 and 1995. Unser won the
24-hours of Daytona at age 24, is a two-time IROC champion and the youngest IROC champion ever. In 1994 he dominated the CART open-wheel racing season winning eight of 16 races and was named ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year. Unser will be competing in this year’s Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, Saturday, April 18, having won the world-famous event in 1985.
Bobby Rahal is one of the select group of individuals who have won the Indianapolis 500 both as a driver (1986) and as an owner (2004). Between 1982 and 1992, Rahal won 24 National Championship races and captured the Championship Auto Racing Team’s (CART) seasonal title in 1986, 1987 and 1992. He won on ovals, road courses and competed in Formula 1 and NASCAR events. Rahal won championships driving sports cars, winning several SCCA titles and shared the winning car in the 24-Hours of Daytona (1981) and the 12-Hours of Sebring (1987). He made 15 starts at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, finishing second four times. In 1996 he formed Rahal Letterman Racing, with David Letterman as a minority owner.
The Walk of Fame medallions include renditions of the racers’ cars and their major achievements in motorsports. Additional information about the inductees’ illustrious careers will be available at the event or at www.lbmotorsportswalkoffame.com.