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The Mickey Thompson 'Sears Allstate Special' cars of 1964


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#701 MPea3

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 00:51

I keep looking at the video and I still don't see the back end hitting first, even with freezing it right at the point the fire erupts. The car appears to hit essentially with both wheels almost simultaneously while traveling backwards. Perhaps the front hits first, perhaps the rear, but from what I've seen regardless of which corner hit first both right side corners impacted the wall.

Again Mike, I'd love for you to present us with your research and not just your conclusions.

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#702 old dirt

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 00:52

TrackDog> I never made any phone calls to a journalist or anyone else for that matter. If i did i would be man enough to say so, trust me. As far as why MT used the Corvair balljoints, you will have to ask him. All i am saying is it was a very weak link in the suspension and subject to failure. MT is no longer with us, but possibly the engineer is still around. Ask him. He may be posting on this forum, who knows? Concerning my hrs of research, believe me, it would have been much easier to come up with a theory. In fact, i did try that. Theories are just not based on anything factual, as i stated here before IMO.

#703 MPea3

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:00

I think I give up. If your research exists, then post it. Otherwise I don't think this thread is longer worth posting to. "Trust me" won't do it.

#704 old dirt

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:02

MPea3> Look at the photo of Daves car before it was hit by Eddie. How do you think the right rear suspension got torn off? The bodywork got shoved forward from the initial impact which in turn pushed up the front nose section. There is no apparent damage to the right front tire and wheel, other than some burn marks. If the front tire did hit the wall, it would show up in the aftermath photo, dont you think?

#705 old dirt

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:12

MPea3> I lost 3 hard drives full of info and photos that were very clear due to viruses etc. Ruined one computer also. The more programs you download the greater the risk of that kind of stuff. Had keylogger problems also. If i had the stuff, i would be more than willing to share it. Just go with what you got. Dont give up. Check out the existing photos for yourself. Do some research. If you dont believe me, what can i say? Do it yourself. Im trying to help, not cause problems.

#706 TrackDog

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:12

Originally posted by old dirt
TrackDog> I never made any phone calls to a journalist or anyone else for that matter. If i did i would be man enough to say so, trust me. As far as why MT used the Corvair balljoints, you will have to ask him. All i am saying is it was a very weak link in the suspension and subject to failure. MT is no longer with us, but possibly the engineer is still around. Ask him. He may be posting on this forum, who knows? Concerning my hrs of research, believe me, it would have been much easier to come up with a theory. In fact, i did try that. Theories are just not based on anything factual, as i stated here before IMO.




I never meant to imply that you were the person responsible for that phone call. I'm sorry if I somehow left you with that impression. I was merely trying to identify the part that was at the center of the story. As for the use of Corvair balljoints in the suspension of an Indy car, if the part was obviously going to be overstressed, especially to such a degree...it would seem almost foolhardy to use it.

I'm not doubting your integrity or the validity of your research, believe me! If it sounded that way, I'm sorry. My incredulity is aimed at Mickey Thompson in this matter.


Dan

#707 McGuire

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:16

Hey guys, I think maybe it would be a good idea to let this thread rest for awhile. There is something very troubling in the posts of the past several days and I'm sure you have spotted it too. Not a very healthy sign when you think about it hmm.

If we took a little time-out we could be helping out a super nice guy who is struggling, and that would certainly be more than worth the wait, right? After all, this stupid thread will keep just fine, no shelf date. Catch you all in a week or two, ok?

#708 HistoricMustang

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:28

Originally posted by McGuire
Hey guys, this stupid thread

Stupid?

Yes, some need to "double clutch".

Especially when things are not progressing as planned.

Henry

#709 old dirt

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:55

Well, if you some of guys want to keep dwelling on theories that sound good, that makes me the problem here. Im not into theories period. I will end this with one last thought. I have heard AJ in several interviews concerning the 64 race. He said we lost 2 great drivers that he considered friends. When asked specifically about fault, he said it was nobodies fault. Just a racing accident. He said it could have been him. I have seen him near tears on the subject. Never once did he try to blame Dave for a driver error. He knew where to draw the line in the sand when fellow competitors die. He had shown great class and a humble spirit of a great man, and driver. That is what i was trying to say here myself at the beginning of my posts. If AJ is not blaming anyone, if Eddie came back he would say the same thing. Im not going to blame Dave for driver error even if i believed it. If some guys need to stroke their egos and play the blame game, then i am at the wrong place guys. Im not going there either period. We will just go around in circles. To please the few here that need to blame, this will be my last post. Good bye and GOD BLESS! Mike

#710 TrackDog

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 00:25

I just recieved a copy of EDDIE SACHS the Clown Prince by Denny Miller, and on page 508 there is an interesting, if ironic, passage...

Evidently, Sachs didn't seem to think that MacDonald was ready to drive at Indy, and was one of the veteran observers who were monitoring his Rookie test. Eddie wasn't going to pass MacDonald; but was at a function giving a speech, was held over and didn't get a chance to cast his vote at the driver's meeting.

I'm not exactly sure just how the Rookie tests were judged; could Sach's negative vote have changed history?

Forgive me if this has been posted in this thread previously, but I don't remember it being mentioned...


Dan

#711 fines

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 07:20

That would indicate a time lag between the actual rookie test and the voting on it. It is my belief that the rookie tests were thumbed down/up immediately after their completion. If Sachs couldn't make it to the voting that would mean he wasn't present at the test, and by implication had no business voting anyway.

I'm not exactly sure just how the Rookie tests were judged; could Sach's negative vote have changed history?

[sarcastic mode]No, they would've put another bugger in the seat and he'd have had an identical accident.[/sarcastic mode]

#712 TrackDog

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 15:35

Originally posted by fines
That would indicate a time lag between the actual rookie test and the voting on it. It is my belief that the rookie tests were thumbed down/up immediately after their completion. If Sachs couldn't make it to the voting that would mean he wasn't present at the test, and by implication had no business voting anyway.


That was what I always thought...Miller's book is full of anecdotes and quotes but short on some details...the above mentioned incident quoted both Eddie and his wife, Nance; but doesn't give any details as to whether Eddie was present at Dave's rookie test, or even which event Eddie was appearing at that kept him from the meeting. He was, according to his wife, so well recieved that he couldn't get away in time to cast his vote. Maybe he missed the entire test...if so, he wouldn't have had the chance to evaluate MacDonald's skill...

It would seem that the Rookie test should have been a priority...and personal appearances should have been scheduled around it...of course, hindsight is better than, well...you know the rest.

Dan

#713 indy500autographs

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 20:37

I have Eddie Sachs Junior's e-mail, I should drop him a line about this, I find it interesting.

#714 Walter Zoomie

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 00:00

Automobile Quarterly Magazine Mickey Thompson Biography

The current issue has a nice piece by Tracy Powell on Mickey Thompson.

Back in September of 2007, Mr. Powell contacted me about using some of my dad's photos for use in the story. I readily agreed, and I road tripped to New Albany, Indiana to meet Mr. Powell and go through a bunch of images.

Among the article's many pictures are eight which are my dad's or are from my/his collection.

My dad and I are both mentioned by name in the back of the book. (Yes...it is in book form...very high brow stuff!) I guess all this makes me sorta famous, or something. Maybe. Or not.

Anyhoo...I found Mr. Powell to be a cool guy, and he knows what Indy means, so you should maybe go out and buy a couple of copies of this magazine or subscribe so his kids can eat.

http://www.autoquarterly.com/

BTW...I'm not makin' one red cent outta the deal. I think you all know where I'm coming from by now.

PS- I've moved the racing pics to a new site:

http://picasaweb.goo...om/WalterZoomie

#715 HistoricMustang

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 11:17

Originally posted by Walter Zoomie
Automobile Quarterly Magazine Mickey Thompson Biography

The current issue has a nice piece by Tracy Powell on Mickey Thompson.

http://www.autoquarterly.com/

BTW...I'm not makin' one red cent outta the deal. I think you all know where I'm coming from by now.

PS- I've moved the racing pics to a new site:

http://picasaweb.goo...om/WalterZoomie


Thanks, I will pick up a copy.

And, a re-visit to the photo albums again reminded me of just how simple and wonderful this sport used to be.

Henry

#716 Johnny Mac

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 18:34

As I was looking at Walter Zoomies album, I noticed an interesting photo of a previous Mickey Thompson car without the bodywork and showing a gas tank on both sides of the car. Perhaps this is the reason so many people were of the belief that there was a large amount of fuel onboard. Just a thought as I have not seen many photos without bodywork. My history is a little shakey, and maybe he ran two tanks in previous years.

#717 Russ Snyder

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 18:47

Originally posted by fines



Bottom line: though MacDonald was definitely moving up, he wasn't on a charge like Veith or Cheesbourg, for example. Just good and steady progress, in his usual style: tail out! Perhaps you have to remember that it had been only three or four years since Hurtubise and Jones had come to the Speedway to horrify the officials with their "loose style" of driving, and yet they had been extremely successful, and popular! Ten years earlier, they had made the mistake to send away someone with similar ability and the potential to become a star, Wally Campbell. Times were changing, and USAC certainly tried to learn from the past. That's also why road racers like MacDonald or Hansgen were welcomed, while oval racers like White or Andretti were having a tough time.


Fines - I missed this mention of Wally the first time round.....and now I understand why you responded to the video of the langhorne 10/14/1951 race, known as the 'big fire' that is circulating the video rounds in which Wally's car flips starting the crash. (28 out of approx 45 cars entered crashed, badly. One into another into another....no one dead, altho I don't know how!)

I wish my late Dad were still here to go on about stories of Wally in the early 50's. Dad said 'he was gonna be one of the greats'...his crash and death in Salem IN 1954 is another racing tragedy as well. Whilst testing a car, I think towards the end of his 40 laps (Fines?), he went airborne and crashed nosefirst into the infield, the car caught on fire as the trans was locked into a death spin. Fines - You alluded to Wally dying on impact of the car into the ground, not the ensuing fire that engulfed the car and the unconcious Wally.

RIP Wally.... a blossoming career extinguished much too quickly!

I have recently been re-watching the dynamic films of Indy that I have, thanks to my late Dad! I was amazed at this bit of footage from the 1963 INDY 500 race. Eddie Sachs spins out in turn 3, at around lap 180 or so... He literally runs out of his car and leaps over the wall to get away from oncoming traffic....

I'll close this message out with this happy thought - Eddie Sachs loved driving @ Indy! You could see it on his face, even after spinning and getting knocked out of the race, he was still smiling!

#718 ZOOOM

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 17:26

Originally posted by Johnny Mac

Posted Image [/B]


Hi guys, I'm new here, have been posting over at track Forum for several years and just found you all over here.
It has taken me about a week to read all the posts in this thread. They are facinating. Like some of you, I was there too. I was over on the back stretch and never saw the accident live. What we did see was the smoke. I have made all but one 500 since 1956, and I have never seen the crowd so quiet. We didn't know what had happened but from the size of the smoke we knew something really bad had happened.
Sid's report on the radio we had was almost as bad as the report he gave in 1955.....

Like most of you I have followed the discussion about the causes of the accident. Up until now I was absolutely sure that McDonald had TWO FULL tanks. Even through the discussion here I was still not convinced, until I saw the photo above.

The most interesting part of the photo is the fire around McDonalds car. Look where the fire ISN'T....
The right side of the car between the wheels is torn open, yet there is no fire from that area. It's all on the opposite side, the side where we know there was one tank of gas...

While reading these posts I found that I had changed my mind several times. With each new post I learned more, sometimes, more than I wanted to. I am a pilot also, and have always had the utmost respect for the wizzards from the FAA who are able to put an accident back together without ever having the ability to see what actually happened.

The number of movies and still photographs that you have dug up on this accident are amazing. And yet, even with this amount of reviewable proof, all of us are unable to definitely come up with an answer. We have however advanced the information further than anything I have seen elsewhere.

On another note, let me congratulate you all on being able to discuss (passionately in a lot of cases) this topic in an open and reasonable manner. If this is how it's done here, I think I have found a new home...

Another note, the Swede Savidge accident, I do have some input. I was there, up in four, and remember the accident well. (as well as the years since allow me) Swede was not running real well and had come to the pitstop window. He went in and refueled, topped off the tanks. When he got back out, he was right in front of the leader. I think he was determined NOT to go a lap down. The new tires were cold, Unser was closing, the pressure was on, and I think he forgot that the car was now about 20 percent heaver. Unser had been out for a long time and was therefore lighter and faster than Swede. That didn't help. If I am correct, the accident was VERY soon after the pitstop. Swede came through four with a full head of steam. He made the left turn through four and just kept turning, right into the wall. It sure looked like the back end just got away from him. Swede hit the inside wall in about the same place that McDonald did. (yes I know the wall was now further back from the track, and parallel to the straight )

McDonnalds crash happened almost as if it were slow motion (I am using the movies as refference as I couldn't see it in person). Swedes crash happened extremely fast. The rate of speed at which Swede hit the wall was FAR faster than McDonald.

I was in the stand that afternoon. I always brought a camera. I have a picture of the crash an instant after the impact, taken with a 35 mm camera, in color. It was the last picture I have ever taken at Indy. It reminds me of the pictures of McDonalds crash.

ZOOOM

#719 Russ Snyder

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 17:49

Originally posted by ZOOOM




Like most of you I have followed the discussion about the causes of the accident. Up until now I was absolutely sure that McDonald had TWO FULL tanks. Even through the discussion here I was still not convinced, until I saw the photo above.

The most interesting part of the photo is the fire around McDonalds car. Look where the fire ISN'T....
The right side of the car between the wheels is torn open, yet there is no fire from that area. It's all on the opposite side, the side where we know there was one tank of gas...


I was in the stand that afternoon. I always brought a camera. I have a picture of the crash an instant after the impact, taken with a 35 mm camera, in color. It was the last picture I have ever taken at Indy. It reminds me of the pictures of McDonalds crash.

ZOOOM




Hey ZOOOM welcome and nice words.


Edited by Russ Snyder, 30 December 2011 - 20:31.


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#720 fines

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 17:58

The reason we can see no right side gas tank is that there never was one! I recently read an article from a June 1964 issue of Sports Illustrated, and it is truely astonishing that it was commonly known just a couple of weeks after the accident that the "two gas tanks, 100 gallons of fuel" hystery was bollocks, yet it is still continued to this day. :rolleyes:

But welcome, ZOOOM, and thanks for your interesting post! :)

#721 Russ Snyder

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 18:09

Originally posted by fines

welcome, ZOOOM, and thanks for your interesting post! :) [/b]


FINES - 45 gallons is correct

Edited by Russ Snyder, 30 December 2011 - 20:33.


#722 fines

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 18:20

Don't look at it at all, because it's bollocks! The car had one tank of 45 gallons, there's nothing else to it. Period.

#723 ZOOOM

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 18:30

I guess I didn'tmake myself clear. After seeing the last posted picture I have come to the absolute conclusion that there was no tank on the right side. The impact of the car on the right side must have caused the left side tank, the only tank, to rupture. The left side of the car is in flames. The right side is not.
Like others, until now, I thought the amount of flames and the fact that the flames apeared so instantaneously, must have meant that there was a right side tank. Look again at the picture, there are no hoses for gas or anything on the right side. The conclusion is unescapeable......

ZOOOM (just my 2cents)

#724 Russ Snyder

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 18:49

Originally posted by fines
Don't look at it at all, because it's bollocks! The car had one tank of 45 gallons, there's nothing else to it. Period.


I hear ya, and excuse me cause it takes a long time to break habits.

doing the math - 45 gallons x roughly 6 mpg = 270 miles. therefore, 1 stop like Team Lotus was what they were shooting for.

the question still unanswered on this thread in my mind tho is: "did they ever test the car @ Indy with the full 45 gallon fuel load"

#725 fines

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 20:02

Excused, but only if you excuse my (on reflection) rather harsh reply!;)

About full tank tests, I believe I read in said Sports Illustrated article that they ran such tests, but can't be sure - the article is on-line in the SI "vaults", perhaps someone (with more time on hand than me) can check?

#726 Russ Snyder

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 20:14

Originally posted by fines
Excused, but only if you excuse my (on reflection) rather harsh reply!;)

About full tank tests, I believe I read in said Sports Illustrated article that they ran such tests, but can't be sure - the article is on-line in the SI "vaults", perhaps someone (with more time on hand than me) can check?


no problem. I understood exactly where you are coming from.

changing ones perception after many years of thinking..... is not the easiest thing.

I appreciate all the info/effort you put forth in these threads. Well written and enjoyable.

#727 doc540

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 20:22

Just spoke by phone with a friend who worked with MT during the '60's. He told me that for many, many years MT kept the remains of the McDonald car in an attic storage area of the company.

Although he worked for MT at the time, he wasn't present at Indy in 1964 and could offer no additional information apart from what's been surmised here: McDonald was working his way through traffic and simply lost control of the car.

The nature and timing of my call was such that I felt it was inappropriate to press him for any other details he might have.

Perhaps I can broach the subject next time we talk. If so, I'll post anything which might be of interest here.

#728 HistoricMustang

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 22:12

Gentlemen, it is MacDonald, not McDonald.

We are fighting the same improper name recognition with the developers next to the Augusta International Raceway. They keep putting up street signs on Dave MacDonald Drive as Dave McDonald Drive. :mad:

Welcome ZOOOM!

A lot has been discussed in this thread and a lot of new information has come forth but some opinions run high on what actually caused the initial phase of the accident.

Henry

#729 ZOOOM

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 23:58

Thanks, Henry,
This is a good forum.
Congratulations to all of you!
I think I'm gonna LIKE this place....
ZOOOM

#730 TrackDog

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 08:12

Originally posted by fines
Excused, but only if you excuse my (on reflection) rather harsh reply!;)

About full tank tests, I believe I read in said Sports Illustrated article that they ran such tests, but can't be sure - the article is on-line in the SI "vaults", perhaps someone (with more time on hand than me) can check?



I checked...it's from an article in the June 22, 1964 issue titled After The Indianapolis Fire-An Argument; written by Kenneth Rudeen.

The article features a quote from Thompson that the car only carried a single fuel tank on the driver's left side, a rubber tank that ran between the front and rear wheels; and it only held 45 gallons of gasoline. This statement was corroborated by Ray McMahon, chief fuel specialist for Mobil Oil. Thompson went on to state that MacDonald had practiced the car with a "nearly full" fuel tank, so unfamiliarity with the handling characteristics of the car under such conditions was not an issue.

The article also states that MacDonald's loss of control began in the 4th turn as he was passing Troy Ruttman. The car dipped down below the white line, and MacDonald was on the apron, lost control and hit the wall head-on, spun around backward, and slid along the wall.

As for Sachs, his tanks did not explode, but a small crossover tank above his legs ruptured and spewed fire, and evidently some fuel was drawn from the main tanks as well. According to the author, there were approximately 30 gallons of fuel remaining in Sachs' car.

One fire truck was already rolling toward the accident area even before fire erupted...it had been stationed between turns 3 and 4. Fire Chief Cleon Reynolds was on the scene approimately 4 minutes after the accident occurred[his station was approximately 1/2 mile away...]; and MacDonald was already out of the car and on the way to Methodist Hospital when he arrived. Reynolds also stated that Sachs was reached very early, and was crushed in the car, "beyond help."


Some interesting stuff, but not all of it is accurate, as we all now know...and "nearly full" can mean just about anything from half to...well, nearly full. Denny Miller's book Eddie Sachs, the Clown Prince has a quote from MacDonald to Bill Stroppe regarding the ride height of the car before the start of the race; evidently it was so laden with fuel that it was at the limit of it's suspension travel...resting almost on the ground, literally. MacDonald commented to Stroppe, "Look at what I'm getting into, here..." So, the amount of fuel WAS an issue, maybe a minor one, but MacDonald was concerned enough to point it out to his friend.



Dan

#731 TrackDog

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 08:17

One minor clam in my previous post, Reynolds didn't say that MacDonald was immediately taken to Methodist Hospital; we all know he was treated at the infield care center first.


Dan

#732 fines

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 08:48

Originally posted by TrackDog
The article also states that MacDonald's loss of control began in the 4th turn as he was passing Troy Ruttman.

Notice something? Another reminder that you have to treat EVERYTHING you read with the utmost care!

#733 HistoricMustang

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:49

Originally posted by fines

Notice something? Another reminder that you have to treat EVERYTHING you read with the utmost care!


..................and sometimes what you see.

Henry

#734 TrackDog

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 16:41

I've found an interesting quote regarding the composition of the fuel used by the Ford cars in the '64 race...on page 558 of Denny Miller's book Eddie Sachs: The Clown Prince, Bob Wilke makes the following comment:

"That is not pump gasoline. It's hyped up with additives. You saw how Sach's whole car was on fire immediately. That wasn't just plain gas. If they are going to allow those mixtures, they had better be prepared for more of this. They couldn't get that fire out."

I always found this quote interesting, but dismissed it as one person's opinion, based on the heat of the moment; and I'd forgotten just who Bob Wilke was. Bob was Roger Ward's car owner; and Ward was the only Ford-engined car in 1964 NOT to use gasoline. I'm betting that Wilke had a pretty good idea of just what Ford expected their teams to accept as far as fuel mixtures were concerned, because he would have had to be apprised of what was going on in matters such as this, wouldn't he?

As I recall, Ward's team made the switch to methanol in secret, just before the race, so they probably had used the fuel mixture that Ford had specified in practice.

Also, there was some question as to just what could be considered to be classified as "aromatics" in the fuel composition report posted earlier in this thread...aromatics comprised about 30% of the total fuel composition, and some members commented on the massive amount of dirty black smoke that could have been an indication of benzine being present in the fuel. Maybe it was...

Bob Wilke's statement lends a little more credence to the rumor.


Dan

#735 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 19:54

Yet you compare his assertion to the 'received wisdom' of this thread...

And that is that the Sachs car barely lost any fuel, only the scuttle tank rupturing.

#736 TrackDog

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 23:26

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Yet you compare his assertion to the 'received wisdom' of this thread...

And that is that the Sachs car barely lost any fuel, only the scuttle tank rupturing.


I was under the impression that it has been pretty well confirmed here that Sachs only lost about 15 gallons of fuel in the crash, and that only the scuttle or crossover tank actually exploded. I also thought we'd pretty well confirmed that MacDonald still had a rather large amount of fuel in his tank when Sachs hit him. The Sports Illustrated article mentioned here earlier in this thread states that Sachs' side tanks didn't explode, and Miller's book basically asserts the same thing on page 561, with George Morris stating that he pumped 35 gallons of fuel from Sachs' car, and that the upholstery wasn't burned very badly. Ted Halibrand also states that the car wasn't burned very badly on page 561. The car held 52 gallons as per Morris...if it actually exploded, why was there so much fuel left in it?

In Parnelli, A Story Of Auto Racing, Bill Libby stated that Sachs' car picked up butning gasoline from MacDonald's car.

If the fuel was laced with benzene, as much as 30%, it would burn like hell. And, a splash from MacDonald's car covering Sachs would produce a huge flash. And as much as I hate to think about it, that scuttle tank was mounted over Eddie's legs, and when it exploded, it blew up in his face. I think that's probably what killed him. There is a particularly vivid passage from Herman Wouk's War And Remembrance that describes a death by fire in circumstances similar to the ones Eddie probably faced. I won't repeat it here, but it concerns the death of Warren Henry as he's shot down at the Battle of Midway.



Dan

#737 Henri Greuter

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 00:17

In his book ""Los Angeles city of speed" Joe Scalzo wrote the following.

About the drivers of that era within that area, ther's a bit on Dave too. But it starts with Scalzo telling about the 1964 race and Dick Rathmann being cut off after the start by Dave. Dick being very angry about this, but settles in early for the race and sees Dave slicing his way through the field. Then he saw the flames, stopped and went out his car and looked for Dave to settle the cutting off job he did on Dick. Which, of course was not necessary to do anymore.

Now I can't figure out if Scalzo got this story first hand from Dick or not, but like so many things we're discussing here, this appeared in print.


Henri

#738 David M. Kane

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 16:26

In a fire 15 gallons is a LOT of fuel.

#739 HistoricMustang

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 20:46

If anyone is able to capture this article from the New York Times archives it could produce an interesting read.

Henry



Father Says MacDonald Was Worried About Car

May 31, 1964, Sunday

Section: SPORTS AUTOMOBILES BOATS SPORTS SHOPPING GUIDE DOGS, Page S5, 138 words

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#740 TrackDog

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 01:37

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
If anyone is able to capture this article from the New York Times archives it could produce an interesting read.

Henry



Father Says MacDonald Was Worried About Car

May 31, 1964, Sunday

Section: SPORTS AUTOMOBILES BOATS SPORTS SHOPPING GUIDE DOGS, Page S5, 138 words




There isn't really a lot that's new in the article. George MacDonald said that Dave was "very apprehensive" about his car all week; drove it because he felt obligated to; he seldom worried about his son because of his driving ability and mechanical skill; the car seemed to lift and float in the turns; the trouble was caused by converting from 12" wheels the car was built for to 15 " wheels; and that this was the first time Dave ever drove a car he didn't feel was right.

This article was quoted in part in Denny Miller's book EDDIE SACHS: THE CLOWN PRINCE, page 556. But the part about Dave being "very apprehensive" didn't get into the narrative.


Dan

#741 TrackDog

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 06:47

Originally posted by Buford
WARNING - YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ THIS - GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING

From Open Wheel Magazine May 1988 - Part 3 of Borrowed Time - Troy Ruttman Story Pages 85-86

Quoting 1952 Winner Troy Ruttman.

"Sachs and I started side by side. MacDonald was right ahead of him. I couldn't begin to tell you how lucky I was to get through the wreckage. It was just luck." He was quoted in Sports illustrated as saying that "The flames were shooting up all around him but somehow MacDonald stayed alive, begging for help. He kept calling his mother, 'Mother mother, please. Mother help me!'"


The Sports Illustrated article quoted from in this post was entitled NOW JOE MUST CARRY THE FLAG ALONE, and was written by Frank Deford. It's from the December 17, 1979 issue, and is available from the SI Archives.

There is more GRAPHIC CONTENT included in the article, however. Just before talking about MacDonald in the car, Ruttman stated that "Sachs piled into MacDonald, the impact shoving the driveshaft of Sach's car through his body, killing him instantly."

Obviously, Sach's car didn't have a driveshaft, so Ruttman's account is questionable...unless he was misquoted, or simply used the wrong word to describe the part in question. I remember a lot of rumors about the steering column of Sach's car being shoved into his chest...my father told me that he had heard that at work[ the Chrysler Automatic transmission plant in Kokomo, IN], and other people repeated it. There is a passage in Denny Miller's book quoting a crew member as saying," He had a chest injury. The fire did not kill him[pg.560]". Miller also includes a quote from crew member George Morris.."I did not see Eddie in the car. They'd already gotten him out. He had a fractured leg and his chest had hit the steering wheel. He slumped backwards and his head was up just enough that he breathed flames[pg.561]".

Miller also states that " Various news articles attributed the statement that Eddie died of a crushed chest to Ted Halibrand. Ted denied making that statement[pg 564]." Halibrand is quoted as saying, "If if wasn't for the fire, he would have had a chance. He could have had a chest injury, but I never said that. I think he died from asphyxiation from the fire because he was engulfed in flames[pg. 564]."

Eddie's car owner, Dick Sommers, remembers things a little differently in his book, EDDIE CALLED ME BOSS...on page 50, he recalls, " When we left the funeral home, we decided for some strange reason to stop by our garages on the way home. Ted Halibrand was there. He had examined Sach's wrecked car and was certain that the impact of the crash had killed Eddie instantly.--iIt helped to know that Eddie hadn't suffered."

Miller quotes Halibrand as saying regarding the cockpit of Sach's car," The cockpit was not damaged one iota. All the absorption was done up in the leg compartment where the radiator was mounted[pg 561]."

Ruttman may have been an eyewitness to several horrible scenarios...he WAS there, he could have heard MacDonald screaming; according to Cleon Reynolds in the June 22, 1964 SI article AFTER THE INDIANAPOLIS FIRE, AN ARGUMENT he stated that MacDonald was out of the car within 4 minutes of the accident's inception, and that is enough time to bring the field around to the head of the main stretch and for the drivers to begin climbing out of their cars. Also, Reynolds stated that Sachs was crushed beyond any possible help. But another witness backs up Halibrand's story...

It is interesting to note that Dr. Bob Raber was quoted in Miller's book about the injuries to both drivers, and he never mentions a possible chest injury to Sachs. He DID say that, "As I recall, his{Sachs} uniform wasn't burned that badly. It was only the exposed flesh. I could tell it was Eddie. After all, he was a friend of mine and I knew him pretty well. I suspect he was sitting in there and what actually killed him was the fact that he couldn't get air[pg. 555]." It would seem that if Sachs did indeed have a chest injury, Raber would have mentioned it. And he did not.


Dan

#742 Jerry Entin

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 01:38

Posted Image
1964 Indy Program signed by all 33 starters.
above posted for Dave Kane:
The following is what Dave Kane is thinking of the MacDonald signature:
“Notice that Dave MacDonald’s autograph is along the side of the Green Flag. Is that a psychological flag that he intended to be aggressive at the start? " Donald Davidson said this Program, signed by all 33 drivers, was the only one he had ever seen. The signing was done at the Saturday Press Breakfast the day before the race.

#743 David M. Kane

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 01:52

And Eddie Sachs autograph is right above the "Passing Flag". A.J. Foyt's signature is all over all the flags...I believe this was his 1st win.

I'm not familar with Indiana law in 1964, but why weren't autopsies performed? If they were wouldn't they be public records by now; or are they protected for privacy reasons? This is strictly an academic question.

Lastly, I gather that Mickey Thompson was NOT received with open arms by the Indy racing community as they saw him as a threat to their stable world of front-engine techology. Did they or did they not perceive and treat Chapman the same because of his innovative ways?

#744 fines

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 16:38

Originally posted by Jerry Entin
The signing was done at the Saturday Press Breakfast the day before the race.

As an example, to show new members how we can be sticklers for accuracy ;) I ask for a clarification of this statement: since the race was on a Saturday, are we to understand that the signing took place on race day morning, or on the Friday (the day before the race)?

#745 David M. Kane

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 16:43

Michael:

It was the day before the race, so it had to be Friday. Sorry, I was thinking in current day terms. I am an idiot, just not an idiot savant. :kiss: I can't count cards either. :rotfl: :up:

#746 TrackDog

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 03:08

Originally posted by David M. Kane
And Eddie Sachs autograph is right above the "Passing Flag". A.J. Foyt's signature is all over all the flags...I believe this was his 1st win.

I'm not familar with Indiana law in 1964, but why weren't autopsies performed? If they were wouldn't they be public records by now; or are they protected for privacy reasons? This is strictly an academic question.

Lastly, I gather that Mickey Thompson was NOT received with open arms by the Indy racing community as they saw him as a threat to their stable world of front-engine techology. Did they or did they not perceive and treat Chapman the same because of his innovative ways?



Foyt's first Indy win was in 1961,after a teriffic duel with Eddie Sachs.

I'm sure autopsies were performed on both drivers, but I don't know if there are any privacy laws that would apply; also wouldn't really know where to look for reports. And, I'm woindering about any reprecussions the "Earnhardt Law" might have on making autopsy records public. I don't know if it only applies to Florida cases, or if other states have passed similar legislation. I've heard that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway won't release photographs of fatal crashes; I would imagine that this would also apply to written materials as well.


From what I've been able to gather from what I've read, Thompson wasn't much more than just a minor blip on the radar at the Speedway in 1962. The car he entered was pretty lightly regarded, mainly because of the Buick powerplant, and the fact that the car was underdeveloped. And, it didn't last too long in the race, although it ran well while it lasted. The "pancake" cars of 1963 were a little different story, though. Those 12 inch tires caused a lot of controversy, because they were of a harder compound than the regular tires, and the cars didn't really handle well, at least according to Graham Hill...Duane Carter actually praised the car, until he drove the 1964 version with the three-wheel steering. THAT car scared him to death.

The writing was on the wall when the pancake cars appeared...the smaller, wider tires were much more efficient and faster once a suitable compound was discovered...much more grip. And the roadsters with their axles just weren't able to adapt to them very well; and the rear-engined cars were.

Thompson shook things up a bit. But I don't think it was the tire innovations that upset the Indy racing community as much as his disdain for development work and for doing such dumb things as using rubber bags for fuel tanks...


Dan

#747 TrackDog

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 03:30

Originally posted by Jerry Entin
Posted Image
1964 Indy Program signed by all 33 starters.
above posted for Dave Kane:
The following is what Dave Kane is thinking of the MacDonald signature:
“Notice that Dave MacDonald’s autograph is along the side of the Green Flag. Is that a psychological flag that he intended to be aggressive at the start? " Donald Davidson said this Program, signed by all 33 drivers, was the only one he had ever seen. The signing was done at the Saturday Press Breakfast the day before the race.


I'm wondering if there might be a correlation between where a driver signed the program and in the order in which he was given the opportunity to do so. Also, if the program was passed around at the drivers' mjeeting, each driver had a chance to think about where his signature would look the best. I noticed that Troy Ruttman signed his name just above the "500", a logical place for a former winner who hadn't been too successful in the years after his win, but it's also in the middle of the program, albeit in the upper third of the page. To me, what's interesting is that Sachs and MacDonald signed the program on opposite sides of the flags, and thus opposite sides of the page. If you look at photos of the start of the race, as the field crossed the Start/Finish line Sachs was on the opposite side of the track from MacDonald, as well; but if you overlaid the program cover over the photo, Sachs is positioned where Dave's signaure appears, and vice versa.


That program is a wonderful item, and I'm glad to have access to the photo.


Dan

#748 Buford

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 08:21

Originally posted by TrackDog

according to Cleon Reynolds in the June 22, 1964 SI article AFTER THE INDIANAPOLIS FIRE, AN ARGUMENT he stated that MacDonald was out of the car within 4 minutes of the accident's inception,

Dan


Dave Mac Donald was not out of the car in four minutes after the accident's inception that is ridiculous. The fire raged for a long time and they could not put it out. It's been a long time but my recollection is that was at least 10 minutes and probably longer before the fire was completely out and both drivers were in the cars the entire time and could not extract themselves nor could they be rescued. This photo shows the aftermath with Eddie Sachs's car on the left and the cockpit and his body covered with a white sheet. Mac Donald who was still clinging to life had been removed from his car at this point.

Posted Image
Posted Image

As for whether or not Eddie Sachs was killed instantly and did not die in the fire, as was reported in the press at the time, two eyewitnesses I and MPea3 talked to separately in subsequent years both refute that "feel-good" theory unfortunately. Those interested in reading what the eyewitnesses told us can read them on this thread in posts 70, 71, and 72.

http://forums.autosp...y=&pagenumber=2

#749 McGuire

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 11:01

Originally posted by TrackDog


Thompson shook things up a bit. But I don't think it was the tire innovations that upset the Indy racing community as much as his disdain for development work and for doing such dumb things as using rubber bags for fuel tanks...


Dan


I don't think the rubber fuel cell was necessarily a bad idea, since racecars use them to this day. Thompson's execution was flawed, however. He simply borrowed a fuel bladder from a helicopter and secured it on the left side of the chassis. Today's fuel cells use a protected location, a "hardened" enclosure, and internal foam blocks to help control the rate of fuel loss in case of a rupture. And given the tank location, it's not clear a conventional aluminum or fiberglass tank would have helped much in this crash.

Nor does it seem entirely fair to say that Thompson had a "disdain for development work." The '64 cars were tested extensively at the Speedway, in November of '63 and March of '64. Many of the photos in this thread are from those tests. It might be more accurate to say that in developing his ideas into working race cars, his reach exceeded his grasp.

#750 TrackDog

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 15:04

Originally posted by McGuire


I don't think the rubber fuel cell was necessarily a bad idea, since racecars use them to this day. Thompson's execution was flawed, however. He simply borrowed a fuel bladder from a helicopter and secured it on the left side of the chassis. Today's fuel cells use a protected location, a "hardened" enclosure, and internal foam blocks to help control the rate of fuel loss in case of a rupture. And given the tank location, it's not clear a conventional aluminum or fiberglass tank would have helped much in this crash.

Nor does it seem entirely fair to say that Thompson had a "disdain for development work." The '64 cars were tested extensively at the Speedway, in November of '63 and March of '64. Many of the photos in this thread are from those tests. It might be more accurate to say that in developing his ideas into working race cars, his reach exceeded his grasp.



You're right...I was a bit harsh in my criticism. The cars were extensively tested, and we have documented that. They just weren't built very well...there were a lot of details that should have been given more attention, but this assertion is colored to a large extent by hindsight.

I get the feeling that Thompson was very resilient and almost fearless, and had absoloute faith in his judgement and ideas. From what I've read here and from some other sources, he could be difficult to work with and rather obstinate. And, like his contemporary entrepreneur, Andy Granatelli, he didn't always think things through all the way; and sometimes that fact bit him[and oithers...] where it really hurt.

I have to admire the way he drove himself and put his ideas to the test, though...and he was spot-on with the smaller, wider tires; and enlisting John Crosthwaite to design his 1962 entry was a stroke of brilliance.


And, Buford...Cleon Reynolds' claim that Dave MacDonald was out of the car in 4 minutes seems a little suspect to me, too; I was merely reporting what he said. In Denny Miller's book, Reynolds was quoted as saying that they had to cut the car apart to get Dave out, and that could very well have taken more than 4 minutes. Four minutes would have been enough time for the field to complete the lap and for the drivers to get out of their cars at the head of the main straight, though; and Ruttman may have been able to eyewitness MacDonald being extricated.

I also believe that Sachs was alive for a brief time after the impact...Chuck Stevenson had the best seat in the house to view that, unfortunately. He never went public with details of what he saw, and that is understandable...it wasn't the first fatality he was involved in, and Clay Smith's death had a profound effect on Stevenson's career. Sometimes I think Sachs' death may have, too...he only raced at Indy once more after that, and retired a couple of years later.


Dan