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1973 was a tragic year at Indianapolis. The month of May got of to a bad start when veteran driver Art Pollard was killed practicing on the first day of qualifying. Art was 46 and was a well liked, well respected member of the racing community.

Race day - Monday, May 28 - dawned grey and rainy. The start was delayed for almost four hours. When the green flag finally fell driver Salt Walther triggered a massive, fiery wreck that sent him spinning upside down, pinwheeling, as burning fuel shot from his car. He came to rest upside down, with his feet sticking out the front of the car. He was badly burned, but survived. In addition, eleven specators were injured by burning fuel that sprayed into the stands. The race was red flagged and before they could restart, it started raining.

The race was postponed until Tuesday, May 29 at 9am, but rain again delayed the start until 10:15. Just as the pace car was about to pull into the pits, the rain came again. They would try again Wednesday, May 30.

The third try did not prove the charm as rain delayed the start by several hours, but finally they got underway just after 2pm. On lap 43 Gordon Johncock was passed for the lead by teammate David “Swede” Savage. Savage lead the next eleven laps until he was passed by Al Unser on lap 54. Four laps later Swede grazed the outside wall coming out of turn four, slid across the track where he slammed into the inside retaining wall in a fiery explosion.

The race was stopped once again. Swede had two severely broken legs, a broken arm, second degree burns and internal injuries, but was alive and conscious. A crew member of Swede and Gordon’s team - 23 year old Armondo Teran - was running down pit lane toward the wreck when he was hit and killed by a fire truck going the wrong way.

The race resumed an hour later and at lap 129 it started raining again and the race was once again red flagged at 133 laps (332.5 miles), this time for good.

On July 2, 1973, while still in the hospital recovering, David Earl “Swede” Savage Jr succomed to Hepatitis brought on through a bad blood transfusion.

 

 

 

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Need Tire Decals?

Indycals makes the tire decals for this car. Note, if you are using tires with raised lettering you will need to remove that before applying decals. Click Image for details.

 

1973 STP Eagle

Drivers: Gordon Johncock, Swede Savage

1973 STP Eagle

1973 STP Eagle decals

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This sheet painstakingly replicates the cars driven by Gordon Johncock and Swede Savage in the 1973 Indianapolis 500. Careful attention to detail resulted in several different styles of numbers appearing just as they appeared on the cars on race day.

Purchase STP Eagle Decals


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