Thursday, September 7, 2023

1970 – Al Unser Breezes in Ted Horn Race

Al Unser

Du Quoin, Ill. (September 7, 1970) – Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser gunned his Johnny Lightning Special to a seven-second win over his brother Bobby Sunday in the Ted Horn Memorial 100 at the Du Quoin State Fair.

Unser, the Albuquerque, N.M., hot shot, was never in seriously challenged in the final 50 laps of the race after A.J. Foyt lost control of his car and sailed over the wall In turn three.

Foyt was brought back to the pit area in the ambulance but got out and limped around as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. A bruised foot was the extent of his injuries.

Before the accident, Foyt and Unser had dueled wheel-to-wheel.

Unser, sitting on the pole position, led the first 12 laps before Foyt passed him on the 13th go-round. Larry Dickson of Marietta, Ohio, was running third.

After 25 of the 100 laps, the event was still close as only half lap separated six cars – Foyt, Unser, Dickson, Johnny Rutherford, Gary Bettenhausen, and Bobby Unser.

Foyt began lapping slower cars on lap 28 with only 11 of the 18 starters left in the lineup.

Unser regained the lead on lap 36 and steadily began pulling away from Foyt until the Houston, Tex., driver hit the wall at the halfway point.

After the green flag dropped to restart the race, Dickson dropped into second behind Unser, while Bobby Unser settled into third.

While Al pulled away, a tight race developed between Dickson and Bobby Unser.

With only 18 laps remaining, Unser got around Dickson and Bobby held onto the position to finish second after starting 16th.

Dickson settled for third while George Snider was fourth and Ralph Liguori was fifth.

The winner’s share of the $25,000 purse was worth $6,250.

Unser’s winning time was 1 hour, 1 minute and 7.66 seconds, a new race record. The old record, set by A.J. Foyt in 1964, was 1 hour, 1 minute and 21 seconds.

Fans were disappointed that Mario Andretti wasn’t a contender. Andretti, who lined up next to Unser on the front row, but locked wheels with another car in the first turn on the first lap and was forced out of the race before completing a mile.

Results –

1. Al Unser
2. Bobby Unser
3. Larry Dickson
4. George Snider
5. Ralph Liguori
6. Bob Harkey
7. Tom Bigelow
8. Dick Tobias
9. Gary Bettenhausen
10.A.J. Foyt
11.Johnny Rutherford
12.Johnny Parsons
13.Larry Cannon
14.Bruce Walkup
15.Greg Weld
16.Bud Tingelstad
17.Mario Andretti
18.Mike Mosley

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