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1991 Indy 500 mired in controversy

1991 Indy 500 mired in controversy
1991 Indy 500 mired in controversy
Posted at 5:04 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 10:57:10-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the most anticipated Boy's Basketball State Finals matchups in history took place in 1991 as Glenn Robinson's Gary Roosevelt team took on Alan Henderson's Brebeuf Braves at the Hoosier Dome.

In the end, it wasn't much of a contest as Gary Roosevelt walked away with a 51-32 victory.

The Purdue-bound Robinson scored 22 points and IU-bound Henderson finished with 14 in defeat. 

The head-to-head clash between Rick Mears and Michael Andretti in the 75th running of the Indianapolis 500 that year was much more dramatic.

Controversy arose with 11 laps to go when Mario Andretti stalled at the entrance to the pits. Mears had been extending his lead, and many speculated Mario stalled on purpose to give his son a better shot at the finish.

When the caution flag was put away and the green flag came out for the restart, Mears got a great jump and didn't look back, winning the race with an average speed of 176.457 miles per hour.

Mears became the third driver in 500 history to win the race four times. 

It was Mears' record sixth pole and started a comeback from a rocky month in which he crashed during practice for the first time since his 1977 rookie appearance. He destroyed his car, injured his right foot and later said the pain was so bad during the race he had to cross his legs and push the accelerator pedal down with his left foot.

NOTABLE: A few more historic moments from the 1991 race include Willy T. Ribbs becoming the first African American driver to qualify for the race and Hiro Matsushita became the first Japanese driver to do so. Most of the pre-race attention was focused on A.J. Foyt, who was expected to retire after the Indy 500. He qualified on the front row for his record 34th consecutive start, but suspension damage prevented him from finishing the race (he did not retire). For the first time in Indy history, four members of the same family qualified for the same race. Mario, Michael, Jeff, and John Andretti all qualified, while Michael, Mario and John finished in the top 10 and Jeff was rookie of the year.

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