The Indy 500’s most controversial race? Unser vs Andretti 1981
The 65th Indianapolis 500 was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 24, 1981. A hectic month of May was interrupted several times by rain. Bobby Unser took the checkered flag as the winner, with Mario Andretti second. The following morning, USAC officials ruled that Unser had passed cars illegally while exiting the pit area on lap 149, and issued him a one-position penalty. The official posted results scored Unser finishing second, and declared Andretti the winner.
After a lengthly protest and appeals process, the penalty was rescinded, and Unser was reinstated the victory on October 9. The race is widely considered one of the most controversial races in Indy history