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