- Eddie Sachs
Eddie Sachs (
May 28 1927in Allentown, Pennsylvania- May 30 1964in Speedway, Indiana) was a United States Auto Clubdriver 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 MacDonaldwere killed on the second lap of the 1964 Indianapolis 500in 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 Hilltested 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 Dumancrashed, spun in flames and hit the pit lane wall, and was burned. Bobby Unserhit another car, and Johnny Rutherford's car on its left rear tire, and crashed into the outside wall. Chuck Stevensonand Norm Hallalso 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.
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.
*List of fatalities at Indianapolis
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