As spotlighted in the Jerry’s Drive e-newsletter, the race car that won the Indianapolis 500 for Al Unser Jr. in 1992 is traveling from Sugar Grove, IL, to Indianapolis to be part of “The Amazing Unsers,” a “once-in-a-lifetime exhibit” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
You can find it on display at the IMS Museum from now until Oct. 28.
How the race car got from Indianapolis to here and back again is a fascinating story, to say the least.
In 1992, Unser Jr. won the race over Scott Goodyear in the closest finish in the prestigious race’s history. The official race-winning margin was 0.043 seconds, but the United States Auto Club actually calculated the true margin of victory to be an astonishing 0.0331 seconds. After the race, the winning Galmer chassis ended up in the hands of Maury Kraines, founder of Kraco Enterprises. Kraco was a part of Galles-Kraco Racing, Al Unser Jr.’s racing team.
Enter Jerry Rich, entrepreneur-philanthropist, classic car collector and owner of Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove.
“I met Maury through Paul Lemke, the former head golf professional at Butterfield Country Club, where I was a member,” Rich wrote. “Paul moved on from that position in 1991 to The Vintage Club in California, where Maury was a member, and he connected the two of us.
“We became good friends, so, upon the completion of my Pavilion in 1994, I asked Maury if he would be willing to lend me a car to display in my Car Museum. I was shocked when he sent me his crown jewel: the Galmer chassis. To this day, it remains one of the few Indianapolis 500 winners located outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.”
After Murray died in 2006, Rich contacted his two sons about the return of their father’s racecar, but they offered to sell it to him instead. Rich jumped at the chance.
Not only is the car a memento of an old friend, but it is a piece of racing history. Besides its first place finish at the 1992 Indianapolis 500, the Galmer chassis raced in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (fourth place), the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by the Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers (seventh place), the Honda Indy Toronto (seventhth place), and the Kohler Grand Prix (second place).
In 2013, Rich displayed the race car at the Geneva Concours d’Elegance, where a curious attendee posted about it online in a track forum. A few months ago, the post was seen by the Unser family’s curator, who had been looking for the chassis, once thought lost.
Upon identifying it, Unser Jr. personally contacted Keith Rich, Jerry’s son. Unser Jr. asked if the car might be part of “The Amazing Unsers,” saying the exhibit would not be complete without the race-winning Galmer chassis.
“I was happy to reunite car with racer by sending the Galmer chassis down to Indianapolis for the exhibit,” Rich said. “Rich Harvest Farms is very proud to be a part of racing history. If you are in Indianapolis or are planning to be for this Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, I encourage you to stop by the IMS Museum and take a look”
SOURCE: Jerry’s Drive e-newsletter