A CHECKERED PAST

AS TOLD TO JADE GURSS

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 Al Unser Jr: A Checkered Past is legendary racing driver Al Unser Jr’s story, a tale of extraordinary success but also depths of failure, as told to best-selling author Jade Gurss, with a foreword by Roger Penske.

Winning came naturally to Al Unser Jr. Born into one of the most prominent families in the history of auto racing, he had a natural talent for going fast and winning races. Following the example set by his father, Al, and his uncle, Bobby, “Little Al” won a number of championships on his way up the ladder to the top echelons of open-wheel racing. 

Unser Jr. isn’t only a winning driver — he also possesses a boisterous and lovable personality. The fans and the media adored him. Many still recall his victories in the Indianapolis 500 and multiple IndyCar national championships. He also won championships in the International Race of Champions (IROC) and multiple victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona. In 2007 he was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2009.
 

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Al Unser Jr: A Checkered Past covers these winning tales but it doesn’t stop there. Unser shares deeply personal stories about his life away from the race track and his struggles with mental health. He tells how the demons of drug and alcohol addiction fueled the destruction of his personal life even as his career flourished. With spiraling substance abuse, his marriage turned volatile. When he retired as a driver, his troubles amplified. A domestic violence arrest. Multiple DUIs. Visits to a variety of rehab centers. Divorce. He made millions in his career, but fell into financial ruin. His life became pure darkness and depression and the isolation and despair led to a suicide attempt.

Al Unser Jr: A Checkered Past is an unblinking look at how even our most celebrated sports heroes struggle with human frailty. Al Unser Jr. has survived, and is striving for redemption as his life and faith takes new paths. His battle to climb out of the darkness is one of the great stories in motorsports. 

Author

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jade gurss

Best-selling author Jade Gurss has written a series of motorsports books (Racer, Beast, In the Red, Driver #8) that capture the behind-the-scenes drama and intrigue of racing at the highest levels. His award-winning and immensely popular work has included chronicling driver’s stories including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Darrel Waltrip, and John Andretti. Gurss is the owner of fingerprint inc. and has done extensive work in marketing and publicity for Ilmor Engineering, Mercedes-Benz, and Mazda. He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.

al unser jr.

Alfred Unser Jr. (born April 19, 1962) nicknamed "Little Al" is a retired American race car driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. Al started racing go-karts at the age of nine, and by the age of sixteen he was already racing sprint cars. Soon after high school he moved into road racing, winning the Super Vee title in 1981 and the Can-Am title in 1982. He was a key member of many notable teams throughout his career and made a name for himself while driving for Galles Racing, Doug Shierson Racing, Team Penske, and others. In 2007 he was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame and, shortly after in 2009, was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

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Foreword by Roger Penske. Former race car driver Roger Penske is the founder, chairman, and CEO of publicly-traded car and truck dealer Penske Automotive Group. After retiring from driving, he created one of the most successful teams in IndyCar Series and NASCAR racing, and he is the most successful owner in the Indianapolis 500 with 18 victories.

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