Shelley Unser, a fixture in the CART IndyCar series with her former husband Al Unser Jr., has died.
Outside of her marriage to Unser Jr. and the children they raised, Unser was an active member of the media, hosting IndyCar segments for the various broadcast networks that covered CART. She also donated a considerable amount of time by volunteering with the Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary group, which raised funds through charity events to help those in need of assistance.
Known as one of the warmest members of the IndyCar community, her sudden loss has struck a heavy blow to her friends and family.
“The kids are fine, I’m in Albuquerque with them, and we’re getting through it,” Unser Jr. said. “It was a surprise. Shelley had been having some issues with her lungs for the last eight to 10 months, and it turned out to be her lungs that gave in.”
He also thanked those who’ve reached out after learning of her passing.
“Coming from my kids and myself, we thank everyone for their prayers and love for Shelley,” he said. “We appreciate all of the well-wishes.”
When Cody Unser became paralyzed at age 12 in 1999 with transverse myelitis, Shelley began a vigorous campaign of rehabilitation, fundraising and spreading the word to try and encourage others in their fight, and the Cody Unser First Step Foundation was formed.
“My mom has been my rock and pushed me to stay positive and work hard and I’m so thankful she’s been by my side the whole time,” said Cody Unser in a 2014 interview.