© Dan Carroll 2018
Al Unser Up close with Helmut on at the Ontario Motor Speedway 1977
I was studying art photography and journalism. I knew the main drivers at the Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario California. Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, Al Unser. I had met Andretti at the Winners Circle Restaurant a few months earlier and we struck up a brief friendship. On this day in 1977 I asked Andretti how I could get a day pass to hang out in the garages. Andretti came back with info from the USAC officials, I would need a sponsor and he was already sponsoring a kid. But as luck would have it, Al Unser stepped up to the plate and took me under his wing. Unser won the 1977 California 500 that day and in 1978 won the prestigious Triple Crown of Ontario Raceway, Indianapolis and Pocono.