After successful 1970 season with their new PJ Colt cars, Vel’s Parnelli team built two more 1971 Colts for the following season. The cars were similar to ’70 vehicles but had the larger fuel capacity needed for the 500-mile races. Al Unser in his Colt won 5 out of 6 first races of the USAC National Championship – two races at Rafaela circuit in Argentina, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Milwaukie. However Big Al retired in all 6 races in the second half of the season and has been dropped to 4th place in the final standings – behind Joe Leonard, A.J. Foyt and Bill Vukovich II. In the Indy 500 race, Unser led for 103 laps, never surrendering that lead during the final 82 circuits. In winning the 1971 Indianapolis 500, Al Unser became only the fourth driver to post victories in consecutive years, joining Wilbur Shaw (1939-1940), Mauri Rose (1947-1948) and Bill Vukovich (1953-1954).
|1971||USAC National Championship||Indianapolis 500|
|Al Unser||1||Vel’s Parnelli Jones Ford|
|PJ Colt `71||Ford||Johnny Lightning “500” Spl.|