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Worth the Wait: Unser Receives Retro ‘Baby Borg’ for 1970 Victory
Worth the Wait: Unser Receives Retro ‘Baby Borg’ for 1970 Victory

The legendary Al Unser had to wait a year, but he received his smaller replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy – the “Baby Borg” – during a special dinner Saturday night in Indianapolis, honoring the first of his four Indianapolis 500 victories, in 1970.

Unser, who celebrated his 82nd birthday May 29, was supposed to receive the trophy last year at the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the 50th anniversary of his victory. But travel and attendance restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic forced the delay of the presentation.

Michelle Collins, BorgWarner global director of marketing and public relations, presented Unser with the beautiful sterling silver trophy in downtown Indianapolis at a special dinner for Unser, his wife, Susan, son and two-time Indy 500 winner, Al Jr., and BorgWarner guests. Two-time and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato made a surprise visit.

“It's an honor and a privilege to receive this special Baby Borg,” Al Unser said. “I truly appreciate what BorgWarner has done for me, and I can't tell you how much this means to me. Indianapolis is truly a special place that has given me so many special moments and memories – tonight that continues. Thank you very much. This is such a beautiful trophy, and I can't wait to get it back to New Mexico."

Said Collins: "We're proud and honored to be able to present Al Unser with a retro Baby Borg for his Indianapolis 500 win in 1970. It just took us awhile to get it to him. So, you could say this is for the win in 1971, too. Al is truly one of the all-time Indy greats, and we're so happy BorgWarner was able to do this for him.”

Unser is one of just three four-time winners of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” winning in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987. His first two wins came in the iconic Johnny Lightning Special, one of the most beloved cars in Indy 500 history. Unser also is the all-time lap leader of the race, with 644 career laps led.

"I was told Al Unser was getting a Baby Borg for his 1970 Indianapolis 500 win, and I just wanted to come here to night to pay my respect to him,” Sato said. “It's amazing to think he won here 50 years ago and won back-to-back races, something I'd sure like to do Sunday. I completely respect Al and the drivers from his era for their driving skills and the cars they drove – we still talk about them today when it comes to greatness.”

Another driver will earn the right to see their face placed on the Borg-Warner Trophy after the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 30. Live coverage starts at 11 a.m. (ET) on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

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