On Wednesday, the West Andover Mobil came close to making history.
A Powerball ticket sold at the station fell just one number short of claiming the game’s third-highest prize ever.
Still, the unidentified ticket holder was one of two in Massachusetts — and 26 in the country — that hit the $1 million payout by picking five of the six winning numbers in Wednesday night’s drawing, according to state lottery spokeswoman Beth Bresnahan.
“It’s by far the biggest ticket” sold at the West Andover Mobil, said store employee Joey Porter, who was manning the registers and lottery machine yesterday afternoon.
Now the local Mobil station — along with lottery retailers across the country — has another shot at history tonight when a record-setting Powerball jackpot is expected to be drawn.
Yesterday, the jackpot for the Powerball soared to an estimated $600 million, the third largest in lottery history and a new record for the multi-state game. The cash option on the prize is an estimated $376.9 million.
The payout wasn’t lost yesterday on customers of the River Road Mobil, who lined up for tickets and wondered who bought Wednesday’s $1 million ticket.
Porter had no guesses as to who might be among the country’s newest millionaires.
He said the River Road Mobil, located right off Interstate 93, sees a brisk business from passing motorists and employees of the adjacent technology and business district, but it also has a fair amount of repeat customers.
“We have a lot of regulars,” he said.
Sandy Keach of Lowell, a senior human resources assistant for MKS Instruments on nearby Tech Drive, counts herself as a periodic customer. She stood in line yesterday to buy 70 “quick pick” Powerball tickets for a pool at work. The pool has 28 participants, each contributing $5 apiece.
“Anytime it hits $200 million or more, we play,” she said. “We’ve been doing it on and off for two years. You hear about a lot of groups winning. We figure, ‘Let’s get in on it, too.’”