In 1958, Jerry became the first Unser to try to race in the Indianapolis 500. He died as a result of burns sustained in a practice crash there the following year.
United States Racing Driver. Jerry Unser Jr. was the first Unser to try to race in the Indianapolis 500 with his brother Louis as his mechanic. He qualified for the 1958 Indy 500 but was involved in a crash on the warmup lap and never started the race.
On the 17th of May in 1959, Jerry Unser went out to practice and it looked like he was doing OK, but then he lost it coming out of Turn 4. The car spun and hit the wall, sending it end over end down the front straightaway. There were parts flying everywhere and if that wasn't bad enough, the car caught fire. Jerry died of burns two weeks later on Sunday May 17th. After Unser's accident, fire-resistant driving suits, already used by most drivers, became mandatory. Some drivers at the time just wore t-shirts.
(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000