Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. returning to the Brickyard for vintage race

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Back in February, Indianapolis Motor Speedway confirmed that it would play host to a vintage race that would feature everything from Indy 500 and Formula One challengers to NASCAR stock cars.

Now, a major figure in “500” lore is suiting up to take part.

Al Unser Jr., who won the “500” in 1992 and 1994, will race in an “Indy Legends Pro-Am” feature that will be part of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s Brickyard Invitational weekend on June 6-8 at the Speedway.

The 40-minute Pro-Am itself will take place on June 8 at the Speedway’s newly reconfigured road course.

Several other “500” veterans will join Unser in the feature, including nine-time Indy starter Lyn St. James, Indy Racing League stalwart Mark Dismore, and Willy T. Ribbs, the first African-American driver to ever qualify for the “500.”

The Pro-Am will be contested with Chevrolet Corvettes, Chevrolet Camaros, and Ford Mustangs that are from 1967-1972 and have an engine displacement limit of 355 cubic inches.

The “500” vets will be paired with amateur drivers, with each taking a 20-minute stint. Five minutes will be allowed for driver changes.

“I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to really racing again at Indy,” said ‘Little Al’ in a statement. “Vintage racing is emerging on a whole new level as a wonderful sport and it’s the real deal when you are going up against the likes of Lyn, Willy T. and Diz. I can’t wait to see the fans – they’re the greatest in the world.”

“It just doesn’t get any better for vintage racing than to have a superstar Hall of Fame driver like Al Unser Jr. race in an SVRA race,” said SVRA president/CEO Tony Parella. “I am overwhelmed by the interest of Indy race fans as well as the drivers. We will be making some additional exciting announcements soon.”

In addition to the road course, the Speedway’s famous oval will be used for exhibition runs by several groups of cars, including some of the 1950s-era roadsters that have endured as a symbol of the race.

Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.