For our inaugural Photo of the Week installation, we take a moment to remember Bobby Unser. Come back here every week for a snapshot of the most important happenings of the previous week, as illustrated in photos.
Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti had a rough-and-tumble relationship at times on the racetrack, but they also had a great friendship for decades, widely documented in photographs like this. This shot captures the pair—Andretti driving for Lotus and Unser for BRM—casually hanging out during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix in 1968.
Their friendship endured even after one of the most controversial finishes in Indy 500 history—one that took more than four months to decide a winner.
Unser won the 1981 500 by a commanding 5.18 seconds over Andretti. However, USAC officials assessed Unser a one-position penalty for what they called an illegal pass on pit lane during a caution three-quarters of the way through the race.
Andretti was subsequently awarded the win, but Unser appealed. After a lengthy and at times contentious back-and-forth battle, USAC officials reversed themselves and awarded Unser the victory on Oct. 9, 1981. While Andretti was admittedly angry at being denied a second 500 career win—and the way it happened—he says their friendship remained intact.