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1994 was Mario Andretti's last Indy 500

Posted at 1:37 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 15:57:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- 1994. Indiana's love for basketball once again made it to the silver screen.

"Blue Chips" starring Nick Nolte and Shaquille O'Neal hit movie theaters nationwide.

Scenes shot the summer before in Frankfort and French Lick were familiar sights to Hoosiers.

A new sight greeted fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 78th 500.

A new scoring pylon replaced the one that stood since 1959. A necessary charge as the track prepared to welcome more than 33 drivers for the first NASCAR Brickyard 400 in August.

Indianapolis was a cool 70 degrees on race day.

Fans anticipated an extra-special race: it was retiring driver Mario Andretti's last 500.

His nephew John was the first driver to attempt the double, the 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

And speeds were the highest ever, thanks to Penske's new Mercedes Engine.

Al Unser, Jr. was on the pole in one of those Penske machines with a blistering qualifying speed for more than 228 miles an hour.

Mario started on the outside of row three, but his final 500 ended way too soon.

A fuel system problem forced him out after 23 laps.

Emerson Fittipaldi ran out front most of the day leading 145 laps, but with 15 to go, he hit the wall coming out of turn four, and his day was done.

Little Al picked up where Emmo left off.

And after the yellow flag came out for a Stan Fox crash on lap 196, Unser's fate was sealed.

He took the checkered flag under caution for his second 500 win.

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