THE EDITOR DIffEREn T kInDs Of HEROEs
Contact Nick Iademarco at
Wrights Media. Tel: (281) 419-5725
“Racing heroes aren’t just
made by their extraordinary
deeds in a car, but by
their personalities, too”
…which is how we ended up at the Unser Racing Museum,
surrounded by greatness and the ephemera to prove it. We
thank Bobby, Al and Al Jr. for their time and spirit, and Steve
Shunck for oiling the wheels on the complex logistics. Magic!
“Would you be free
for a one-day shoot
in Albuquerque?” is
the message we left
on Libero “Tony” Di
Zinno’s voicemail. He
guessed why – and
said yes – right away…
s a RACER reader, chances are that at
least one of the guys on our front cover this
issue is a hero of yours, yet it hardly matters:
they all transcended personal tastes to
become heroes of motorsports, period.
Racing heroes aren’t just made by their
extraordinary deeds in a car, but by their
personalities, too. Bobby Unser and Alex
Zanardi (RIGHT) brought swashbuckling
verve to the race track and overt
enthusiasm to every interview. They were
loved by race fans for their inability to
settle for anything less than P1, but also
their willingness to bare their souls to
anyone and everyone.
Then there were the two Al Unsers,
father and son, who drove like they speak
– having thought things through. They had
the same fire in their hearts as an Uncle
Bobby or Zanardi, but it was controlled,
could be turned on at will, and rarely flared
out of the cockpit. They also always kept
one eye on the long game. It was rare that
either Al Unser made a mistake, because
maneuvers were planned in advance, then
executed with a precision that made their
rivals look heavy-handed and lead-footed.
After a race, they’d play down their
achievements in a manner that defined
the difference between pride and ego.
Ayrton Senna is a fascinating blend of
heroic qualities, a man for whom driving at
100 percent came naturally, but with a raw
desire that pushed him beyond and into
realms that spooked most of his rivals, and
sometimes even himself. Yet he’d go from
full throttle to Aristotle in the time it took to
end a session and reach the press room.
There’s been no driver like him, and this
singularity adds to his vast appeal .
Al Holbert was probably too modest –
and too darn busy! – to ever realize that
people looked on him as a hero. But how
could we not? He excelled in several roles
and several categories of racing, and the
quality of his work echoed his qualities as
a man. If he wasn’t a hero to you before,
he will be after you read his story.
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