May 13, 2009

Indy 500 1973: Swede Savage

David Earl "Swede" Savage, Jr. (August 26, 1946 - July 2, 1973)

From Wikipedia
In the 1973 Indianapolis 500, Savage was entered in an STP-sponsored Eagle-Offenhauser. He had been the fastest driver for much of practice. On the first day of qualifying, gusting winds slowed Savage from matching his best practice speeds, but he still shattered the track record with a four-lap qualifying average of 196.582 mph (316.368 km/h).
During the race, Savage held the lead from laps 43-55, and then made his first pit stop. He rejoined in second place, closely followed by Al Unser. Savage emerged from his stop with 70 gallons (nearly 500 lb.) of fuel and a new right rear tire. On lap 58 Savage, just ahead of Unser and pushing hard in anticipation of a coming rainstorm, lost control as he exited turn four. His car twitched back and forth, and then slid across to the inside of the track at nearly top speed, hitting the angled inside wall nearly head-on. The force of the impact, with the car carrying a full load of fuel, caused the car to explode in a plume of flame. The engine and transaxle tumbled end-over-end to the pit lane entrance while Savage, still strapped in his seat, was thrown back across the circuit. Savage came to rest adjacent to the outer retaining wall, fully conscious and completely exposed while he lay in a pool of flaming methanol fuel.
A young crew member for Savage's Patrick Racing teammate Graham McRae, Armando Teran, ran out across the pit lane and was struck by a fire truck rushing up pit road (opposite the normal direction of travel) to the crash. Teran was killed instantly.
Swede Savage joked with medical personnel after the wreck, and was expected to live when taken to the hospital and for some time thereafter. However, he died in the hospital thirty-three days after the accident. It is widely reported that Savage died of kidney failure from infection


Bubbashelby said...

Love these race pictures. My dad is a huge race fan too.

Brian said...

Does he think racing has changed since the 70's?

Karen said...

My husband and his brothers have been going to the race since they were ten years old. my brother inlaw is a human wikipedia .thanks for all the raceing stuff. cousin Karen

Brian said...

Tell him to get on here and fill in some details for us.

I have some drivers I will post tomorrow that I don't know who they are so maybe he can help.

Brian Ashmore said...

Man!! That's one of the most brutal crashes I've ever seen!

What's left doesn't even resemble a car.

Karen said...

Two other drivers had bad crashes also. salt walther and gordon smiley.

Rebecca said...

Saw this crash as it happened.! It was horrific, i was 17 at the time and our family had tickets for years in the same section. Will never forget this.

angela savage said...

check out the "lets get Angela Savage to Indy in 2014" facebook ans share!!! GODBLESSGODSPEED

Bill said...

I grew up with Swede. His dad and mine owned a vet clinic in San Bernardino. I saw the crash on the news and almost lost it. Swede was one of a kind ... yes Angela GOD SPEED