book covers for fall sale

Al Unser Jr: A Checkered Past and Indy Split


Enjoy two incredible racing narratives for one unbeatable price!


Winning came naturally to Al Unser Jr. Born into a racing family, he had a gift for finding the fast line on the track. By the time he was nine years old, he could draw the quickest way through the corner on paper and intuitively apply his sketch while on the go-kart track. By his teen years, the innate sense for the fast way made him unstoppably quick when he was racing through the woods on a snowmobile, on a dirt track, in a sprint car, or on a race course.

As his career progressed from the kart track victories to following in the footsteps of his famed uncle, Bobby, and father, Al, the wins grew in stature from junior titles to the very top echelon of his sport. Two Indy 500 victories. A pair of IndyCar championships.

In addition, Unser was not just a winning driver—he also possessed a boisterous and lovable personality. The fans and the press adored him.

Al Unser Jr. was on top of the world.

A Checkered Past tells that story—but it doesn’t stop there.

His gifts as a driver and his easy affability were the public persona. Behind the scenes, his appetite for drugs and alcohol were destroying his private life. Spurred on by his spiraling substance abuse problem, his marriage turned volatile. When he retired as a driver, the trouble amplified. Domestic violence arrests. Multiple DUIs. Repeated visits to rehab centers. Divorce. Financial ruin. A dark dive into depression and isolation that led to a suicide attempt.

Unser’s battle to climb out of that cave is one of the great stories in motorsports. A Checkered Past is an unblinking look at how even our most celebrated sports heroes struggle with human frailty.

Turn the page, and you’ll discover an inspirational story of triumph, tragedy, and the road to recovery.

With a Foreword by Roger Penske.

"It's a brave and astonishing piece of work in its unflinching, brutal honesty."– Damien Smith, Motor Sports Magazine

2-time Indy 500 winner pulls no punches, whether it's talking racing or discussing the substance abuse issues that took their toll on his personal life." – Mike Pryson, Autoweek

"It's two stories tightly wound around each other like a double helix. One, his racing story. The other, his addiction story." – Russell Jaslow, Auto Racing History

"A fine, insightful, enlightening book." – Sabu Advani,


Indy Split is the winner of the Motor Press Guild's Best Book and Dean Batchelor Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, a silver winner for the 2022 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award in Sports & Recreation, and a bronze winner of a 2022 IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) in Sports!

Indy Split is a fascinating, authoritative and overdue account of the big money battle that nearly destroyed the sport of Indy car racing. In the new book that will be on shelves in time for the 2021 Indy 500, long-time motorsports reporter John Oreovicz dives deep into the divisive battle between CART and the Indy Racing League. With insightful reporting, Oreovicz recounts the political infighting within the industry which climaxed with a 12-year “Split” from 1996 to 2007 between competing forms of Indy car racing and prevented the sport from achieving its potential.
The book traces the roots of Indy car racing’s dysfunction, which began in 1945 when Tony Hulman rescued the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from potential redevelopment. Over the next 75 years, the Hulman-George family used the stature of the Speedway to carve out a powerful position in American auto racing that sometimes resulted in conflict with Indy car competitors. A volatile period in the late 1970s sparked the formation of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), and tensions ramped up even more when Hulman’s grandson, Tony George, assumed power in 1990.
In unprecedented detail, Indy Split uncovers how the Split forced Indy car fans, sponsors, broadcasters and participants to choose sides. The book brings to light the confusion and animosity which caused unnecessary damage to the sport, and covers how negotiations driven by legendary racer Mario Andretti and actor/racer Paul Newman ended the Split in 2008, only to have George to walk away less than three years later. The long struggle for stability was finally resolved in 2020 when Roger Penske acquired IMS and the IndyCar Series, securing a bright future for the Speedway, the Indy 500, and the sport.
Longtime motorsports reporter John Oreovicz began attending the Indianapolis 500 as a teenager in the late ‘70s, allowing him to witness the sport’s growth as an avid fan before documenting its decline as a journalist. With a foreword by Motorsport Hall of Fame inductee Robin Miller, arguably Indy car racing’s most vocal advocate, this is the real story of The Split from one of the sport’s most respected voices.

"[Indy Split] is a politcal story with strong human content, an erudite illustration of how sports shouldn't be run and a cracking good read."
–Simon Arron, MotorSport Magazine 

"A must-read for fans of Indy Car, or anyone with a passion for American racing history."
–Kurt Ernst, Hemmings Motor News

"Oreovicz combines meticulous research with an easy style that makes this one of the best of the current crop of racing histories."
–Logan Gray, Sports Car Market

"If you are a fan of IndyCar racing, and particularly if you're a long-time student of the sport, this book is something you owe yourself to read."
–Jerry Bonkowski, Autoweek

"Indy Split takes the reader not only to the tracks and races but into the meetings were battle strategies were being plotted and where truce after truce was unravelling."
–Larry Edsall, The Journal

Product details

Title: Al Unser Jr: A Checkered Past and Indy Split
Octane Press
Publication date:
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
6 × 9 × 2 in
Retail Price: