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Fittipaldi Beats Unser

In auto racing, when two drivers battle on the track, if neither is willing to back down, bad things can happen. Just ask Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough. At the 1989 Indianapolis 500, Brazil’s Emerson Fittipaldi and Albuquerque native Al Unser, Jr. faced just this situation.

With four laps to go, Unser was riding Fittipaldi’s tail and seized the opportunity to make the pass and take the lead. Fittipaldi stayed close, and with two laps left, he made his move on the backstretch, dropping to the inside to pull even with Unser. Neither man blinked as the cars ran side by side along the bottom of the track for 10 seconds. As they went into turn three, they touched wheels. Fittipaldi kept control of his car, but Unser spun into the wall. Fittipaldi won his first Indianapolis 500 under caution, with Unser giving him the thumbs-up from the infield.


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