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PRE-1970

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CAR LIFE
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February 1970

1970
BOBBY BALL
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AUTO RACING
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March 1971

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July 7, 1973

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Gone, but not forgotten.

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WELCOME!
David Earl
'SWEDE'
Savage Jr

First race after the Questor crash


Stats & Facts 1971

    Jan. 31, 1971 - 24 Hours of Daytona. Ed Matthews, Swede Savage & Danny Ongias drove the #98 Ed Matthews Mustang to a 30th place overall finish when a head gasket forced them out after 238 laps.

    Feb. 28, 1971 - Swede started on the front row in 2nd and finished 4th in the 1st 150 mile heat Indy Car race of the Rafaela 300 held in Argentina in the #42 AAR Olsonite Eagle with a Turbo-Offy.

    Feb. 28, 1971 - Swede started 4th and finished 5th in the 2nd 150 mile heat race of the Rafaela 300 held in Argentina in the #42 AAR Olsonite Eagle with a Turbo-Offy.

    All the comforts of a Ferrari
    Photo courtesy of the Speed Merchants Collection

    Savage/Revson Ferrari
    Photo courtesy of the Speed Merchants Collection

    Savage at the helm of the Ferrari
    Photo courtesy of the Speed Merchants Collection

    March 20, 1971 - Swede raced a Ferrari 512 M serial #1020, (shown above and below) with the late Peter Revson as a teammate in the Sebring 12 hour race. Unfortunately they did not finish as result of an electrical problem.

    Swede & Pete at Sebring 1971
    Photo courtesy of the Speed Merchants Collection

    Sebring '71
    Photo courtesy of the Speed Merchants Collection

    March 27, 1971 - Swede started 6th and finished 3rd behind the Unser brothers in the 1971 Phoenix 150.

    Serious head injuries after the car tilted up and smacked Swede's head on wall
    Photo courtesy of the Savage Family Collection

    March 28th 1971 - Swede is seriously injured (above) on lap 12 of the Questor Grand Prix at Ontario Motor Speedway after starting 15th. An apparent stuck throttle caused the #32 1969 Eagle with a Plymouth V8 power plant to slide off track in turn nine and slam the crashwall. Upon impact the car lifted as to roll smacking Swede's trademark black helmet hard enough to give Swede a severe concussion and put him in a coma. I remember my friend and I were watching the race from the infield and were just walking to that area of the track when we saw the big cloud of dust and heard the thud. Swede now faced a five month recovery period which forced him to miss racing in the 1971 Indy 500 and is temporarily replaced by the late Jim Malloy in the #42 Gurney Eagle. Jim finished 4th in the car vacated by Swede.

    These are my people, my friends, my living, and my whole life.
    Photo courtesy of the Speed Merchants Collection

    Deep down inside it had to be extremely tough on Swede to watch Jim do so well in a car he knew he was supposed to be driving. He played it off as once saying something like "The 500 is a great race even to watch." When asked about quitting racing at this point in his life Swede stated "These are my people, my friends, my living, and my whole life." A statement that would be remembered by many for many years to come. Swede spent the recuperating months with a strenuous exercise program to rebuild his strength and dirt bike riding up the fire roads through the San Bernardino mountains to his father's house in Big Bear. To help out the mental end of the head injury, Swede and his wife Sheryl would play pinochle with Jim and Patricia Wright. Jim was Swede's mechanic and the four of them were the best of friends. The card games helped Swede exercise his memory skills. Swede also took some racing classes from Bob Bondurant's School of High Performance Driving located at OMS to regain and sharpen his driving skills. After five months, one week, and one day, Swede Savage was back in the cockpit and ready to start the California 500 on the oval course of the track which nearly ended his career, not to mention his life.

    Welcome back Swede!

    August 1971 - There was a late entry for the Trans-Am event at Watkins Glen, it was an orange number 13 Camaro (not Warren Agor). It was FAST! As it turned out, the car was built by Smokey Yunick, and sponsored by A.J. Foyt Chevrolet, of Houston, Texas. It was driven by Swede Savage. He qualified third, behind George Follmer's and Peter Gregg's Bud Moore Mustangs. During the race, the car ended up parked inside on turn 1 with an interior electrical fire (DNF).

    Back at OMS in the summer of 1971
    Photo courtesy of the Savage Family Collection

    September 5th, 1971 - Swede makes his Indy Car return in the 2nd California 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway (above). Ontario was neat because Swede's birthday fell within the festivities leading up to the California 500. As a fan I recall being able to go down to the fences around the garage area to wish Swede a Happy Birthday because the track announcer usually reminded us by sending Swede a Birthday Greeting over the public address system. Swede started 4th in his homecoming race and finished 12th. I remember seeing his front wheel passing his car as he parked it on the backstretch. The other things I remember about the 1971 California 500 are that it was won by Joe Leonard (another AMA Flat Track Champion) in Parnelli Jones' #15 Samsonite car and Bud Tinglestad slammed the wall in front of us in turn #3 and destroyed his #58 Sugar Ripe Prune Special but escaped with nothing more than a bump on his knee. Swede was literally a "CONCRETE" piece of OMS history, because his signature was written in the wet cement directly behind Victory Circle. Long after the demolition of the speedway, I still wonder what ever happened to that chunk of sidewalk?

    Shutterbug Swede
    Photo from the 1972 CAL 500 Program

    Swede at Trenton

    October 3rd, 1971 - At Trenton, Swede was credited with 16th after a crash. Swede started the race in 5th.

    Swede fell out of the 1971 fall race at Phoenix with a broken cam gear after only 10 laps. He started the race in 7th and was credited with a disappointing 23rd. This was Swede's final race with Dan Gurney's All American Racers. I would probably bet this made Bobby Unser very happy.

    1971 - Swede finished 18th on the USAC Championship Trail after only competing in only 6 of the 12 races.

    Swede even had a toy made of his car which was one of my favorites.

    Since we are on the subject of HotWheels Sizzlers here (above) I thought this would be a good place to mention an AAR fan and artist by the name of JeffAARy. Below are a couple examples of his work. Nice to see the ways different people are keeping the legacy of Swede Savage alive in such creative ways. Click here to email JeffAARy.

    Stock bodied Sizzlers made into legendary racers

1970 Continue 1972


The 1st Official Tribute Site of Swede Savage established June 15, 2001

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