He had a much-publicized relapse into alcohol the fall after his episodes in 2010 had run. So, he later agreed to talk with me again on the telephone, in which we delved into the reasons for his addiction. As it turns out, growing up famous has its burden as well as privileges.
Unser always appeared to be the fresh-faced, naïve, good-hearted kid, straight out of the Fifties. Opie Taylor, right? But this is real life. The fact he and Rick Mears both battled alcoholism proves the sneaky nature of that illness, if you want to call it that. Both seemed as calm and collected as any driver at the track, and about the last guys you would suspect of having a drinking problem.
People have different reasons for lapsing into alcoholism, and Unser gives insight into his in this conversation. It was the first time he had spoken on it publicly and after some hesitation he came as close to baring his soul as he had ever done before.
First aired 2013
Tagged with: Al Unser Jr., drunken driving arrest, Indianapolis 500 winner