Former IndyCar driver Al Unser Jr. has been arrested in New Mexico and charged with drunken and reckless driving after being clocked speeding at over 100mph outside of Albuquerque, where he lives.
The two-time Indianapolis 500 was arrested at around 3am on Thursday morning. According to the local sheriff's report, Unser smelled of alcohol and was slurring his speech; a blood test confirmed that his blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit of 0.08. Reports add that as well as driving while intoxicated, Unser had also become involved in drag-racing another car.
Unser has since been released on his own recognizance.
49-year-old Unser won the Indy 500 in 1992 and 1994, and two CART series championships in 1990 and 1994. Although he retired from racing after the 2007 Indianapolis 500, he has been driving the IZOD IndyCar Series two-seater car for celebrities and winners of the Honda "fastest seat in motor sport" promotion before some of the races this season, alternating with Mario Andretti.
He has also been serving on the IZOD IndyCar Series race control panel alongside race director Brian Barnhard and Tony Cotman. In his role as driver representative, he had been involved in several of the controversial officiating calls made by race control this season such as New Hampshire and Toronto.
"IndyCar is aware of the charges and will not be commenting at this time," said a statement from the series organising body after the news story broke on Thursday. However, IndyCar went on to confirm: "Al Unser Jr. has been suspended indefinitely and relieved of his duties in Race Control, pending further investigation."
It is not Unser's first run-in with the law, as he pleaded no contest to a driving under the influence after a crash on a Nevada freeway in January 2007 while three times over the limit. As part of a plea deal, Unser lost his driving license for 90 days, received a $1,000 fine, and had to attend a drunken driving school, a victim-impact panel and undergo alcohol abuse evaluation.
Before that, Unser avoided formal charges in 2002 following allegations from his girlfriend that he had assaulted her while drunk. Unser underwent treatment for alcohol abuse after the incident.
Unser is the son of Indy 500 racing legend Al Unser and the nephew of three-time Indy winner Bobby Unser.