Eddie Sachs

Eddie Sachs

Eddie Sachs (May 28 1927 in Allentown, Pennsylvania - May 30 1964 in Speedway, Indiana) was a United States Auto Club driver who was known as the "Caped Crusader of Auto Racing" and "Clown Prince of Auto Racing" for his personality at the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

He was the father of race car driver and NASCAR car owner Eddie Sachs, Jr.

His career included eight USAC Championship Trail wins, 25 top-five finishes in 65 career AAA and USAC starts, including the 1958 USAC Midwest Sprint Car Championship. He won consecutive pole positions (1960-1961) for the Indianapolis 500, finishing second in 1961 for his best finish.

1964 Indy 500

Sachs and sports car driver and Indy rookie Dave MacDonald were killed on the second lap of the 1964 Indianapolis 500 in a fiery crash involving seven cars.

MacDonald was driving a car owned and designed by Mickey Thompson, the #83 "Sears-Allstate Special". [ [http://thompson-motorsports.com/indy63.html Mickey Thompson @ 1963 Indy 500 ] ] It was badly designed, poorly built and difficult to drive. [ [http://www.automobilemag.com/features/columns/0306_johnny_rutherford/ American Driver, Lone Star JR Johnny Rutherford - Columns - Automobile Magazine ] ] Graham Hill tested the vehicle before Indy, but refused to drive it in 1963. Masten Gregory crashed earlier in the month due to aerodynamic lift. Other drivers took the advice of Gregory, and stayed away from the Thompson cars. Jim Clark told MacDonald on Carb Day, "Get out of that car mate, just walk away."

On the second lap, MacDonald lost control coming off the fourth turn. As the car began to slide, he came across the track and hit the inside wall, igniting the gasoline in his fuel tanks (approximately 70-100 gallons) which caused a massive fire. His car then slid back across the track, causing seven more cars to be involved. Ronnie Duman crashed, spun in flames and hit the pit lane wall, and was burned. Bobby Unser hit another car, and Johnny Rutherford's car on its left rear tire, and crashed into the outside wall. Chuck Stevenson and Norm Hall also crashed.

Sachs, blinded by the smoke, hit MacDonald's burning car, and died in the fire before he could be freed. According to eye-witnesses, he was burned alive. His car, including his body, was covered by a tarp before being towed away during the cleanup. A lemon that had been on a string around Sachs' neck was found inside of Rutherford's car after the crash. [ [http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=211 Motorsport Memorial ] ]

The crash was well-documented in film and still images, and shown world-wide. For the first time in its history, a red flag stopped the Indy 500. Partially in response to media pressure, USAC required that cars carry less fuel, a change that also led every team to switch from gasoline to methanol prior to the next year's Indy 500. [ [http://www2.indystar.com/cgi-bin/indy500/index.php?action=show_race&id=48 IndyStar.com: Indy 500 ] ]

Indy 500 results

World Championship career summary

The Indianapolis 500 was part of the FIA World Championship from 1950 through 1960. Drivers competing at Indy during those years were credited with World Championship points and participation. Eddie Sachs participated in 4 World Championship races. He started on the pole once, but scored no World Championship points.


He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1999.


Son Eddie Sachs, Jr. also was a race car driver on local dirt tracks in the Midwest, but unlike his famous father, did not race at the 500. Sachs Jr has been a part-time car owner in NASCAR's Busch Series.

ee also

*List of fatalities at Indianapolis


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