Sept. 6, 2021

Ted Woerner | SAVAGE ANGEL author | Movie extra | MILES AHEAD MOTORING

Miles Ahead Motoring: Ted's book on Swede Savage: Select audios: jeffsterns.com 9:51 Ted's kids (because he's all about them) 11:40 an extra in 3 movies 13:21 the side burns 14:22 Image (on video version) of Ted in THE FUGITIVE near Harrison Ford...


Miles Ahead Motoring: https://www.bemilesahead.net/

Ted's book on Swede Savage: https://savage42.net/

Select audios: jeffsterns.com

9:51 Ted's kids (because he's all about them)

11:40 an extra in 3 movies

13:21 the side burns

14:22 Image (on video version) of Ted in THE FUGITIVE near Harrison Ford

17:42 What does an extra get paid?

19:38 Origin of Miles Ahead Motoring

20:30 Stefan Gregoire.

22:43 Ted on advanced driving for kids

27:29 Ted is 11 and saw Swede savage break the track record....wrote a book about Swede

30:42 Swede survived the crash. He lived 33 days died in the Indianapolis Methodist Hospital on July 2 1973.

31:24 hoe do you break the news to a child that her father was Swede Savage. This heroic figure, this incredibly good looking, racecar driver, who is really right on the cusp of greatness.

35:26 How Swede's daughter relates to children of 9/11 casualties

39:47 '72/'73 was a brutal race season

Transcript

Unknown Speaker  0:00  
The assistant director says, Okay, I need a few people to stand up. Because Dr. Kimble has appeared for the first time in four months. Your all your colleagues have his and you're shocked to see that he suddenly appeared. And so I want you, I want you and I want you and he points at me. He said, You know, I don't know why they don't have a driving school at the speedway. In many cases, the Indy 500 drivers are telling the kids the same thing that their parents are telling them, but they're not gonna listen to their parents, but to listen to an Indy 500 driver.

Jeff Sterns  0:26  
So you're 11 and you saw Swede savage? You saw him break the track record. It's in some trials and 73.

Unknown Speaker  0:36  
everybody realizes now 1973 was the worst, most tragic running of the Indy 500 in history. And at what point in life do you break the news to this child that your father was sweet Savage, this heroic figure this incredibly good looking, you know, racecar driver, who is really right on the cusp of greatness is Angela Savage, the posthumous child of sweet savage who was born to his widow Cheryl, on October 5 1973, she was showered with unconditional love at the track changed her life,

Jeff Sterns  1:08  
my background, with dealerships, whatever brand and a lot of them, well, they almost all have drive events, right? So this would have been Cadillac Landrover rolls and Bentley, Lotus, BMW, I mean, they're all doing some kind of drive event. We certainly have done them in parking lots, but we usually get sent to attract somewhere. Right. So do you mind explaining a little bit about what you're doing? Sure. Well, we've

Unknown Speaker  1:42  
been we've been to tracks ourselves. In fact, we started at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 10 years ago, we have the distinction of being when I say we, my company miles ahead has the distinction of being the first driving school in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to be granted permission to conduct driver training on their grounds. So we started at the speedway. And then we were there for several years. And then mini our manufacturing partner, which is a brand new BMW group asked us to take our show on the road, we had done one event, an autocross event, the day before the Indy 500, back in 2015, or 16. And a couple of the executives for many of us they were at the event, they said, Man, this is amazing. You guys could set this up anywhere. There's a parking lot, right? Was it? Yeah. So anyway, that that's where they got the idea to send us on the road. So we quit doing our programs at the speedway. And then we ended up going to many dealers throughout the Midwest, primarily doing these events in parking lots, and they were autocross events. It was really a marketing program designed to introduce the brand to motoring enthusiasts who were not many owners or had ever driven a mini. So we did that for three or four years.

Jeff Sterns  2:54  
But a lot of manufacturers are bailing from the auto shows in tracks as

Unknown Speaker  2:59  
well. I know that I've got another good friend in the business that does events with another major manufacturer. And it's just the cost of doing events it at racetracks. And they found that, you know, you can get almost as much of the same amount of thrill and product knowledge imparted to your guests at a parking lot facility for a fraction of the cost as racetracks. So, you know, it's amazing, the brands that do events, you know, on a more, I don't know how you describe it cost of fitness cost effective basis, and get just as much bang for the buck or close to it.

Jeff Sterns  3:36  
So a Detroit Auto Show, I mean, five and 10 and $20 million displays and having to shut down. I don't know what it's been called when I grew up. It was Cobo Hall. I can't remember what, what they change the name to in Detroit. But I think they close the thing down like four or five months preparing for the International Auto Show.

Unknown Speaker  3:57  
Yeah, I remember we had a car on display at the Chicago Auto Show once in the mini booth few years ago. And I ended up talking to the head of security for BMW group. And I remember him were chatting and he shared with me the money they were spending just on vacuuming the carpet every night. In the BMW mini display it like equalled, you know, some good chunk of our annual budget just to vacuum the carpet at the Chicago Auto Show. So yeah, it's significant money being spent. I think the manufacturers are finally figuring out that look, we can, that's an awful lot of money, we can spend that, you know, to get as much the same ROI. And of course, at the auto shows there's so many tire kickers for lack of a better word that you're really not you don't know who your product is in front of and if they're interested or not.

Jeff Sterns  4:44  
I'm cautious because I don't ever want to disrespect anyone you know, like, but you're right. I mean, that's a tough one. I mean, so I'm in Tampa Bay area. So I mean, if Detroit as a tier one auto showed the Tampa Bay is I don't even know what the lowest tier is but Three or four I mean, where the dealers provide the cars for the display and the staffing we get no show models, we get no cars. We drive our cars there, we change our clothes there. I've been there with a few makes but I was there with one time. I mean, it was really kind of a nice display to have for three makes at once I had a press car Continental GT before the car was out. So this is like Oh, one I think or Oh, awesome. But a press car, Bentley Continental GT, a press car Rolls Royce Phantom, because this was at the time that BMW and VW bought the makes from Vickers and both had their new car coming out. And I had a press car Lotus Elise, that was all happening at the same time, give or take. Having those It was very fun to be to display to have those three cars. So I like cars, and I like people, and I want to be respectful of all people, whether you can buy one or can't buy one or would or wouldn't I mean, even just because you could doesn't mean you would right. So, but all day long. How much is it? I mean, I might as well just been a robot. How much is it? How was top end? Well, how much is that one? What's happening on that one? And then does it come with Grey Poupon? And it would always be the guy you know, in the Mitsubishi gift bag. Asking about the great boop Ah, yeah. Now look, I don't want to be disrespectful of anyone, no one is above or beneath anyone, you know, nothing like that. But truth be told, I'm they're looking for someone to sell one to. I mean, I understand I'm there to represent the brand for the public and, and not be snotty or snooty to anybody. But in the end, I'm hoping to leave after three or four days of putting on a display with a dozen phone numbers of someone I have a chance of selling one to

Unknown Speaker  7:01  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns,

Jeff Sterns  7:18  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars with a guest, I'm very, very excited about Ted Warner. Now, I have notes here, and usually I can go by memory and say, you know, he's done this, he's done this, but I'm looking at my notes. I don't know that I've had anything is extensive of this. We'll go through what we can. But the things that are most important highlights and Ted can chime in here, but you're, you're running miles ahead. motoring. You're you founded that and started that, right? Yes. And then we have a book that we need to promote. And it's fabulous. I've been looking at the cliff notes on it, savage Angel. But meanwhile, I mean, let me look at just some of these notes. So he interviewed Roger Penske, and wrote and published an article while you were college Junior. I mean, that's pretty amazing. You had articles published. So you're published in autoweek. In vehicles designer review, you've been an extra this guy's been an extra in three times, so we got to talk about that. The Fugitive, the babe and backdraft. So I mean, so far, that's, I'm gonna have to We can't let that one go. Designed and marketed a revolutionary crutch design. And at first I thought because we have such car business background or such automotive background. It was supposed to say clutch, but it was really a crutch. So that's interesting. Work with Jim Meyer in the early 2000s of Meyer shank racing and he was a CEO of Sirius radio. Sirius XM when they combined or when they merged, right. And then oh, my goodness, let's talk about your family because it's nice. It's nice. So married 35 years, so we know he's just a good solid guy. And now, but one of your I want to make sure so one of your Emerson is your son, right? So I had a tiger cat named Emerson, when I was a little kid. And now I've got to find the article because we lived in Southfield, Michigan. And Emerson jumped off my dad's 10th story balcony and lived and ended up in the newspaper. So we were celebrities for I mean, the poor cat we were celebrities for a while. But Emerson is currently an Air Force captain and instructor right?

Unknown Speaker  9:51  
Yeah, yeah, we used to go to air shows all the time when he was a young kid growing up and you know, one time and other things to you know, baseball games and all Have races and you never know what a young child is going to take an interest in. And we were driving back from one of the air shows once he said, Dad, how do you get to fly one of those cool planes. And I said, Well, if you really want to, if you're really serious about that there's a school called the United States Air Force Academy. And it's really hard to get into. But you know, if you really want to do it, I think you're smart enough and capable enough to do it. This was probably junior high school, or maybe before that maybe sixth grade when he was asked me about this. And yeah, he just set his mind to it and knocked it out. He got on the Air Force Academy, he was on the fencing team there, fencing was a sport. And then I remember meeting the head coach of the fencing team at the Air Force Academy, when our son was maybe a sophomore in high school, and he had just finished eighth in the Junior Olympics out of 193 competitors. So the fencing coach took an interest in, you know, just everything he's touched, you know, just works out the way he wants to. So he not ya know, his instructor by an Air Force.

Jeff Sterns  10:58  
Well, you have good reason to be proud. And, you know, that's definitely something to brag about. But the listeners looking at me now, if you're not listening on audio, if you're looking would probably say that I really need your daughter grace. They might say go see her in Indianapolis because she's a hairstylist. So I don't even know how I do anything with video with this hair. And that's all I'm gonna say. So I just want to go to the movie extra thing. I'm proud of your son, by the way, I'm proud of your kids, your family. I mean, I don't want to, I don't want to dilute or water that down in any way. That's my my number one turn on his family and people into their kids. And that's, that's my thing. But your movie extra three times. So does that mean that you're like in the business of applying to be an extra? Or do you get tapped? Because you're in the air? Like, how does that happen?

Unknown Speaker  11:51  
So you know, I'm originally from the Chicago area and guy used to work with his father was actually the former head had just retired as the head of the Chicago gambling and vice unit. If you can imagine what that job must be like, in Chicago. You know, that's probably next in importance to the mayor to be heading up that

Jeff Sterns  12:10  
I could not imagine vice in Chicago.

Unknown Speaker  12:12  
It's hard to imagine I know. But he was a was hired as a technical consultant on a movie. Gosh, I can't remember what it was called. Next of Kin. I think with Patrick Swayze. This is back in the 80s or 90s. Anyway, his dad came home once and he met the casting director the for extras or whatever. Anyway, my friend Don said, Hey, Ted, you know, my dad's, you know, he's a technical consultant on this film. And he said, Hey, if you guys ever want to be an extra in the movies, you know, just fill this out. This was before digital cameras or anything. So he had to take a Polaroid picture of yourself and fill out all this information on you know, your wardrobe size and all that and I just I sent it in on a lark. And I mean, literally, within two weeks, I got a call saying, Hey, we're shooting this movie. Do you want to be like, Wow, I can't believe this. And I can't remember which came first but yeah, in rapid succession, you know, and I only at the time, I think I only had two weeks vacation. You know, I was working I was working 3d computer graphics had a great job and and you know, when they call you to be an extra, you have to tell them yes or no right then and there. We're also just going to move on to the next name on the list.

Jeff Sterns  13:17  
Next phone call.

Unknown Speaker  13:18  
Right? So I said yeah, count me in. And you know, there's oh my gosh, it was very, very interesting. At one point for the movie The Bay which was about Babe Ruth not made the pig. I'm always asked that they told me that if asked me if I could grow sideburns. This is what I'm in hair and makeup. They said, Can you grow your sideburns? And I'm like, Yeah, why is that? Well, they said this is a period film. This is going to be shot in the 1920s. And I'm thinking to myself, they had sideburns in 1920s. Anyway, I grew up my sideburns, the shoot gets postponed. So all summer long. I've got I look like Elvis, you know, walking, I have my driver's license photo taken with these long sideburns. And then I go in the day of the shoot, finally, and the guy says, Man, what's with the sideburns dude? Well, last time I was here, the other guy said the groom out and said, I don't know why I would have told you that he started shaving.

Jeff Sterns  14:07  
So you had to live with him your driver's license photo shot, you're explaining to everyone why you got to have

Unknown Speaker  14:13  
in there like we don't we're not making fun of me and everything. But it was a very interesting experience for sure. In the fugitive is the only film that you can really see me and that that I'm in a clear shot right in the frame with Harrison Ford,

Jeff Sterns  14:26  
when you're saying that it was so interesting, and I'm interested. But this is not a double. This is not you acting as anyone like you're not doing a stunt or anything. You're an extra meaning you're they need a crowd of people or someone walking down the street or is that what the job is?

Unknown Speaker  14:44  
Yeah. So I you know, I'll give you one example. So in backdraft, this was the opening scene of the movie. And this is where the this is Kurt Russell, right. It's right. Yeah. And Ron Howard was one of the I think he was the director. Yep, I remember that movie. And so the opening scene Yeah. They had an explosion in an apartment building. And we're shooting this in Chicago. And this isn't like a November, so it's freezing cold out. And so they had chosen me to be a Chicago policeman of all things. And there were three of us who are going to be policemen, and they had period uniforms and everything. So anyway, we get all dressed up, and we come out, and it's supposed to be shooting in the 19, early 1970s, maybe 1970. And so anyway, you know, there, they sent me all the way to the end of the street, you know, to stand by a police car. So I wasn't really in that film very much. But backdraft was a whole different thing. So for that shot, it was really almost the almost the climax of the movie, the plot, where Dr. Richard Kimble reappears in public for the first time after being on the lam as a fugitive for three or four months, and confronts his nemesis who's giving a speech at a podium. And this is supposed to be at a convention of doctors and stuff. So I'm wearing a coat and tie and everything and there were probably I don't know, like 400 extras in the ballroom of the Chicago Hilton and towers, and they were setting up this one shot where Harrison Ford, who plays Dr. Kimble walks between the tables to confront his nemesis at the podium, and they're setting up the shot and you know, that, okay, so the cameras gonna be back here, it's gonna be shooting cross here. And I'm like, if they use a shot, for sure, I'm in the, I'm in the frame. I mean, I'm standing right behind. So well, I was sitting, but then the assistant director says, Okay, I need a few people to stand up. Because Dr. Kimble has appeared for the first time in four months, your all your colleagues have his and you're shocked to see that he suddenly appeared. And so I want you, I want you and I want you and he points at me to be one of the people to stand up, as, you know, Harrison Ford walks past our table. So it's awesome.

Jeff Sterns  16:40  
So it's, you know, like some acting role, you still have to, you know, you have to do something intergate you're not just one of 5000 people in a, in a stadium or something.

Unknown Speaker  16:53  
Right, right. And the funny thing was, is that everybody's sitting at my table, this was supposed to be like a, you know, a dinner reception or whatever, everyone's sitting my table. These are all, like, aspiring actors and actresses, and they're all talking about their, you know, audition, and stuff that they're going to and, you know, I'm not in this, I have no aspirations whatsoever to be in the movies, but I'm the only one person at the table that, you know, they chose to stand up. And you know, I'm in the frame of the film, it was funny, but we started shooting at four o'clock in the afternoon, didn't finish up till six o'clock the following morning. This was in the early 90s. So I didn't have a cell phone or anything. My wife was worried to death about me. She knew I was going downtown Chicago to shoot this film and didn't come home. And but you know, it was a 1214 hour shoot?

Jeff Sterns  17:42  
What What do you get paid for that? Is it make it any money?

Unknown Speaker  17:46  
Um, you know, it wasn't bad. I was surprised they made like 120 bucks or something? I don't know. It's like, $10 an hour. And this was, you know, in the early 90s. So, and then I got called again, you know, the very next day, and they said, Hey, we're shooting a party scene, do you want to be in that? You know, and here's what it involves. I'm like, I can't take any more time off work. You know, it's just because you do a lot of sitting around, you know, just sit and sit and sit. But you know, to do it a couple times is great. But, you know, I'm glad I did it. I can check that off my lifetime accomplishment list. And I can always look at myself in the movies. That's pretty cool.

Jeff Sterns  18:20  
So is that an industry? I mean, are there people that are trying to be in a few of these a month? And that's what they do? To your knowledge? Are you not deep enough to know? No,

Unknown Speaker  18:32  
you can never make a living being an extra, they just don't pay that much. But there are people that, you know, they're I don't know, whatever their lifestyle or their job allows them to do it. And they do it often enough. But you know, I did it a few times. I'm like, Okay, I see what's involved here. Then they're done that kind of thing. Let's, you know, let's move on to something that I can make a living. I collect news completely by accident. I had no intention whatsoever, but of, you know, making any kind of attempt at a career of it. But it was it was fun to do.

Jeff Sterns  19:03  
I love that you brought it up. I just think it's great.

Unknown Speaker  19:06  
Oh, and he asked me, you know, you know, you've done that's interesting. That clearly is, you know, one of the top of the list.

Jeff Sterns  19:12  
All right. So I want to go back to miles again, motoring. Do you mind giving us a little origin on that? Because you tell us that I was doing 3d work. And that was a great job and I get this extra job. And now you're doing what I would say is one of the most sexy jobs or businesses that you could possibly be in for guys that love being around cars and people?

Unknown Speaker  19:38  
Yeah, well, I so I moved in Annapolis to take a job in 3d computer graphics. It was a great job director of the design visualization center for a company called Thompson which is owned the RCA brand of consumer electronics. By that time, I had several years of 3d computer graphics. In my background, that was my specialty. So I took that job but in the back of my mind moving from Chicago Indy, I mean, I've always been a huge IndyCar fan. In the back of my mind. I was like, You know what, I don't know what might happen or who I might meet in Indianapolis, but at least I'm in the right town. And so a couple years after I started working there, I had a co worker who had just started and he said, Hey, you know, I've got a good friend of mine, who's an IndyCar driver. Maybe you know him, and I'm thinking to myself, okay, usually, anytime anyone says they know an IndyCar driver, it really means that he's raised for me the Fords and SCCA for a couple years. But sure enough, he said, Oh, no, his name is Stefan Gregoire. Well, at the time, Stefan had just qualified like third at Phoenix, have a feel that 28 and was really kind of hitting his stride in the IndyCar Series. I'm like, wow, yeah, of course, I'm familiar with Stefan. So long story short, we became very good friends. And Stefan, for whatever reason, was kind of like the favorite driver of Mary Holman, George restaurer. So Mary was amazing, beautiful person, very compassionate, and just one of the nicest people I've ever met. Anyway, she took a special interest in Stefan's career for whatever reason. I don't think Stefan's even those the reason why he says is probably because she felt sorry for him when he was a rookie, because he was the youngest driver in the field in 1993. didn't speak a word of English. His girlfriend who is now his wife was 19 years old at the time she was acted as his interpreter. Anyway, Stefan knew the ownership of the speedway. And after they built the Formula One road course. He said, You know, I don't know why they don't have a driving school, at the speedway everywhere in Europe. They all have driving schools, and now they have the road course. You know, they should have that and said, Ted, why don't you work on a business plan with me? And I'll, you know, see if I can get in front of the decision makers at Speedway. And, you know, let's see if they say, well, it was a five year sales process. They never told us No, but never told us. Yes. And finally, we just said, Look through our main contact there, either feed this or shoot it, but we need to know because we don't want to be chasing this dream the rest of our lives. So anyway, we got the permission to do a driving program at the speedway, primarily to train to provide advanced skills training to teenage drivers wasn't exactly what we were looking for. But you know, it was a foot in the door. They told us find our own manufacturer partner, we thought we'd have to use Chevrolet's, they said no find your own partner. So local car dealer here, Dennis Reinbold, who owns drying Reinbold racing, who's been in the 500 number of times and was racing in the Indy Racing League at the time with Stefan, or at least at the same time with Stefan not on the same team. We talked to Dennis who owned a number of dealerships in town, he said, Hey, I'd like to introduce you to the folks that mini because it sounds like it's right up their alley. So that's how we got started with Mini. And we've been partners with many for 10 years now.

Jeff Sterns  22:41  
So how do you feel about advanced skills driving? For young drivers? I know how I feel about it. But I've heard some people say that they're worried about putting their kids in a situation where they can learn to drive more aggressively. And some say if they know what the car I'll do, then there'll be more respectful. Do you have position on that?

Unknown Speaker  23:02  
Yeah, our experience is that it's the best thing. I can't tell you the number of parents that we heard from that thanked us and said, You know what? my teenage driver got in a situation tonight, then they said if they hadn't had that training at miles ahead, they would have been in an accident. I mean, we have numerous letters and emails from parents like that. So our experience is completely the opposite. In fact, you know, the cool thing that we has, because we're based here in Indianapolis, and so many teams and drivers live here. We had Indy 500 drivers instructing these kids. And, you know, in many cases, the Indy 500 drivers are telling the kids the same thing that their parents are telling them, but they're not gonna listen to their parents, but to listen to an Indy 500 driver. So you know, that level of influence and credibility was extremely effective. It was a great program, it was a great program, but a lousy business. You know, we it's very difficult to make money at it. But fortunately for us, we were able to start up the performance program shortly thereafter, because this beat with heard some really nice things about the job we were doing.

Jeff Sterns  24:06  
Now. Are you still partners with your original driver that you started with? Stefan?

Unknown Speaker  24:11  
No, he left the business a few years ago, but we're still very close friends. Yeah, that's one of the things I really pride myself on. I've had three different business partners over the course of my career and businesses that I've run and been involved in. And I'm good friends with all three of them. So we've always been able to leave on amicable terms. Stefan's a great guy. He's still he still works for us. We still hire him to do programs, the workforce week and a half ago for an event we had here in Indianapolis. And so we're still good friends and but now I'm the majority owner, I have a silent partner, but her interest is 15% or so. Something like that. So I'm majority owner

Jeff Sterns  24:49  
and who wrote Did you write this curriculum, the original curriculum together or were you more in the sales aspect,

Unknown Speaker  24:57  
um, we worked on a lot of stuff together. You know, with my I experience in design and graphics, that gave us a real edge because I'm used to creating visual materials that communicate very well. So we always had a very strong, even to this day, and you know, the visual aspect of what we do our branding and so forth, I always gave us an edge. So, but Stefan was very smart. And he very good took as our role very seriously, as did I, you know, when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gives you permission to do a program, you better do it well. And, you know, we took it very seriously. So we, we like to say we plan our work and work our plan. And you know, it, we were really, really pleased with the reception that we got from the customers and stuff. But we worked on the programs together. And you and I will say to that we didn't really look at other programs very much deliberately, because we wanted to do things on our own. Of course, we made a lot of mistakes, for sure. But I think we did a lot of things very well. In fact, when I did the BMW M. Pro, what are they called the BMW M performance track days or M track days last year, and the BMW Performance Center came out to the speedway to do that.

Jeff Sterns  26:08  
So this is in South Carolina.

Unknown Speaker  26:10  
Yeah. But last summer, they came out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and did some programs out there. And this was really the first time BMW had done a program at the track, we had tried to get them involved, because Mini is a brand of BMW, and that's kind of a long story in and of itself. But ultimately, last year, they had a really nice program out there and which included the BMW M eight competition, a 625 horsepower sports car, anyway, but I was very curious to see how they were doing their programs, because we'd been out there for so many years doing ours. And, you know, there was some things I saw that, you know, I probably would have changed from a little bit better. I mean, they're, they're true professionals. Let's not, you know, mistake that but you know, we did a lot of things right in our program, and it's when other you go to other programs, see what they do. You know, it makes us feel good that you know, what we had done and the way we designed and conducted our program, pretty proud of it.

Jeff Sterns  27:05  
So if you don't mind unless you have any more talk about with miles ahead. I would love to talk about the book. Are you willing to talk about it? I don't want you to, I don't you know, maybe you'll you. Alright, you don't want to be a shameless self promoter. But I mean, for God's sake, let's shamelessly self promote, because it's, it's interesting, and I'm gonna look at my notes. So you're 11 and you saw Swede savage? You saw him break the track record. It's in some trials and 73 and you're sitting in the turn for grandstand. That's not from me, I did look at my notes, right. So now I mean, there's a lot of notes but fast forward. You wrote a book about sweet

Unknown Speaker  27:49  
you know, so I grew up in suburban Chicago and as a young boy, California just seemed like a paradise to me and so when I learned about this driver sweet savage you know if you see a picture of sweet savage are like, Oh my gosh, this guy, you know, he's extremely good looking women. You know, just we're just like wow, who's that guy and to this day and if you see the wow the cover of our book I just so happen to have so that's sweet Savage, you know, is extremely good. And so anyway, nice from California long wavy blonde here, in Furthermore, he was driving the number 40 STP oil treatment special. And when I was a kid, the first time I went to Hindi was 67, when parnelli Jones drove the SCP termon. car number 40. So I knew that this sweet savage guy when he drove the STP number 40 STP oil treatment specialist that I don't know who this guy is, but he must be somebody special because only the best drivers get to drive that car. Number 40. And Andy granatelli was Mr. STP and he was involved in everything else in STP back then was Red Bull is today. The brand was ubiquitous. It was everywhere. By the way, go to the trial trials with my family best friends sitting with me in the turn for grandstand. And this was the year that they were knocking on the door of the first 200 mile power lap and sweet savage had the fastest practice lap leading up to pull day qualifying that you're not it had two weeks of practice opening day at the track was April 28. And the race day was May 30. So you know there's like a whole month of practice and time trials leading up to this. So anyway, so a couple other few other drivers qualified faster than sweet, sweet started on the inside of row four in a second Indy 500. The race, everybody realizes now 1973 was the worst, most tragic running of the Indy 500 in history. Unfortunately, Swede was a part of that. So the race had been delayed twice by rain. They finally ran it on a Wednesday and by this time I'm in school. I'm in my sixth grade classroom and I'm like, you know, they're gonna run the Indy 500. Today. I have to follow this somehow. So I brought a transistor radio with me to school, put it in my desk and I had one of those little earpiece He says those earplugs that you put in your ear, and I turned my head away from the teacher so he wouldn't see my ear plug in. I was listening to the Indy 500. And right behind me was a bulletin board that I decorated with drawings of the cars in the race, including one of sweets car right behind me. Then he has this horrific accident on lap 59. Coming out of turn four, nobody knows to this day, what caused it, I go into quite some detail in my book. And then when I hear that it was sweet savage in the crash, I'm just couldn't believe it. And I'm sitting in my sixth grade classroom trying to hide my emotions. Well, I took over an hour to clean up the track. And by then class was out and I had a little league baseball game later that day. And then of course, he survived the crash. He lived 33 days died in the Indianapolis Methodist Hospital on July 2 1973. But then, within a year, I a book was published about the 1973 running of the race. And I read this book cover to cover by this time I was 12 years old. In this book, I learned that his wife was pregnant at the time of the crash and was in the stands and saw the crash. And that immediately grabbed me, I'm like, How on earth can a pregnant woman and now by this time, you know, Swedes dead? I'm reading this book. And I'm like, What? How do you bring a child into the world under those circumstances? And at what point in life? Do you break the news to this child that your father was sweet Savage, this heroic figure this incredibly good looking, you know, racecar driver, who is really right on the cusp of greatness. So this story always fascinated me now fast forward 40 years. And I met a guy on Facebook here in Indianapolis, Paul Powell, who was organizing a trip to the Indianapolis 500 for this woman named Angela Savage. And I'm like, wait a minute. Is this the person I've been wondering about my whole life? And I introduced myself to Paul and sure enough, it is. It's Angela Savage, the posthumous child of sweet savage who was born to his widow Cheryl, on October 5 1973. And that just started really kind of a miraculous relationship that I maintained To this day, and now Angela works for me, her husband works for me, it miles ahead. So that's kind of the quick elevator story if it's even that quick, but

Jeff Sterns  32:27  
and you were producer in her podcast,

Unknown Speaker  32:30  
right? Right. So she had a podcast for a couple years good news with Angela Savage, where she would have on figures from the racing world. And I mean, these were, you know, are aligned like to time Indy 500 winner, while a Donna Bach who took over her father's ride, after her father died in 1973, and then became the chief steward for cars for years and years. And then her last show was Mario Andretti that we shot at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway overlooking the main straightaway and with that, she's like, okay, can't top that we've done 40 shows, you know that that's a wrap. So So yeah, I helped her produce that show. And she had never been to a race of any kind until the Indy 502,014. So it was kind of like the prodigal daughter coming to Indy. And when she came to Indy, of course, the story got out there was the story was written up in the USA Today. And, you know, people just couldn't believe it. There's like, when you hear that story, and here comes the girl who was born three months after his death to Indy for the first time, it just captivated people still captivates me today. So he was showered with unconditional love it the track changed her life. And she had a extremely difficult life, which I go into in quite a bit of detail in the book. So the book is not really savage angel is not a typical racing book, I can say that for sure. It's about as close to a biography as sweet savages there's ever going to be. But it also digs into what's really the elephant in the room in the racing world. What happens to the family, after a tragedy like this? What are the effects when this family is in the wake of this tragedy and Angelo's life is quite a interesting example that

Jeff Sterns  34:09  
that's a very interesting point of view. And I'm really proud of you that you decided to attack it. And when you talk about when you describe what it must have been like to be the pregnant mother, in the stands, watching this, and then when you describe what it must have been like to have to disclose this to her daughter, one day, you're not just saying it, you're like being it I can feel it with you. So I can tell that you got a lot of emotional investment in the thing, and that you're a good guy. You're very empathic. You have a lot of empathy for these people. And you know, I'm guilty of watching a sport and there's a wreck or a fight or getting knocked out or I can kill you know, I'm guilty of not thinking about other than Just the event right there. I mean, I'll admit that. So you've got me thinking now off this way. Very interesting. I'm looking forward to looking up looking at the book, and I need another book. So this will be wonderful. And I'm so happy to hear about Angela, the daughter coming to Indianapolis. And you're saying that it changed her life? Can you explain? I mean, can you explain what that means? A little bit?

Unknown Speaker  35:26  
Yeah, absolutely. So she had it. And this is something something we're gonna find out very soon here with the 20th anniversary of the 911 terrorist attacks coming up in a few weeks. There's a documentary coming out on that takes a look at, I think about for these children that were born to mothers whose husbands died in 911 terrorist attacks from my research. And during the book, there were 108 babies born to mothers whose husbands died in the terrorist attack, so that these are called possums children. So that and this is, of course, Angela preceded that by almost 30 years, you know, when you're so imagine the father dies in this narrow nine month window between conception and birth. So this documentary is coming. I just saw the trailer on it yesterday. It causes problems in these children's lives as they grow up. There's a lot of anxiety, depression, confusion, self identity issues, and angele experienced all that. The problem is Angela experienced all this before people were even aware of it. She had a lot of mental health issues that weren't easily articulated or understood at the time they are now in the book goes into great detail as to the medical explanation as to why Angela's life turned out the way it did. That being said, when to get back to your question, how did it change her life? She didn't realize that people still remembered her father Paul page, the broadcaster, who I interviewed for my book right in this very room, just came out with a book and he calls Angela racing royalty, that the speedway treated her like the racing royalty that she is. And she is and she's very humbled to be considered that but her life got so hideously sidetracked with addictions and alcoholism and mental health issues. And it was through this trip to Indy got her to know her father in a way that she didn't she said she she doesn't like to go to the cemetery because not only is your father buried there, but her older sister who died of leukemia at age 29, buried right next to her father, and it's just depressing for her. But in India at the speedway, there's an energy level there that everybody feels when you walk in. And it's a sacred place it truly sacred because it's a there are many sports stadiums that you go into where 40 Some people have died in pursuit of their dreams. The other one of the points I make in the book is we've all been to a football game where a player has been taken off the field on a stretcher. Now imagine if in the third quarter, the announcer says, ladies and gentlemen, I've got a solemn announcement so and so who was removed from the field has just died in the hospital. Well, you'd be horrified. We'd all be horrified. But this is the way it was back in the 70s. In fact, on poll day, the day that I saw sweet savage break the track record 46 year old art Pollard was killed in an early morning practice crash, before they even started pulling a qualifying and they made that announcement over the PA system and I was sitting there's 11 year old kid, I'm like, I couldn't believe it. You know, a quarter million people went completely silent. So you know, different time different age. You know, these guys were heroes.

Jeff Sterns  38:33  
I did a show with Derek bell. And he was talking about back well at the beginning form and really, through his career, but especially near the beginning, that it was just part of the deal that every week he didn't know who they were going to lose. That they know. I mean, the the sport is really, I don't know, you got to be a special kind of, and I don't mean like and Derek Bell said, he says, Look, I'm not a daredevil. I don't want to jump out of airplanes, and I don't want to do certain things that seem risky. I just think that it's progressive. And then I did another show with a fellow named Mandy read that he drove for NASCAR. He did he professionally race NASCAR. And he said that someone explained it to them that to be a racecar driver, you have to have the kind of brain that doesn't play things all the way out. Like imagining the beat like you can't be continually thinking about the possible negative outcomes or you couldn't you could do it now Forgive me for cutting you off. I was thinking about this but you're right i mean if there was a football game a guy leaves on a stretcher and now there's an announcement it would be horrible and racing. It's not that people are happy about it and not sad about it but it's not a shock and it is a given.

Unknown Speaker  39:47  
Wasn't that unusual and in 1972 they lost a driver Jim Malloy, driving practice for qualification then 73 you know our Pollard sweet savage saw Walter was a driver who was injured seriously in another crash in 1973, there was a mechanic on the STP team who now this is something maybe people don't realize it was literally a minute after sweets car hit the wall, there was a mechanic struck and killed in the pit lane by a fire truck. And this all happened right in front of Swedes, widow. Now I know Cheryl Savage, or shell Douglas, as she's now known very, very well. And we collaborate very closely on the book. And it was a huge honor to me still is that, in addition to Angela, who I worked with, almost daily on this, that Cheryl, for the first time, shared her emotions and her feelings with me. She had been approached several times in the past about doing a book and she just for whatever reason, the timing wasn't right. But I, I think when she saw the, the friendship that Angela and I had and she could look in my eyes and see the sincerity that I hadn't doing the right job on this project. Then she finally just poured her heart and soul out to me. Everything about the race, all her emotions when she was sitting in the grandstands. I mean, she was sitting on one side of her best friend and Linda johncock, the wife of Gordon johncock, who was suites teammate was on the other side of her friend. They all saw this car hit the wall, they knew it was an STP team car from the bright red color of the bodywork flying through the air, but they didn't know who it was. So there was a 66% chance that one of these two women had just witnessed her husband be killed or seriously injured. And the irony is that one of the drivers was killed. And the other driver won the race and went on to, you know, be immortalized. You know, so quite a story. And there are many, many aspects to this story that just are incredible. It's staggering.

Jeff Sterns  41:48  
I can't wait to read it. I really can't. Now, is this your first shot at being an author? I mean, I see I forget. I mean, we already talked about you interviewed. And you did some magazine work. But I mean, have you written a book?

Unknown Speaker  42:00  
No, never do that. Something I always wanted to do. And Angela and I were sitting around talking one day and I said, you know, I've always been my goal someday to write a book. And then no sooner had the words left my mouth. There, we looked at each other. And she's like, Well, you know what that book has to be about, right? And then I'm like, wow, I mean, are you going to work with me on that? I mean, and she did, and it was excruciating ly painful for her because her life, there are many things she tried to forget about her life, is I learned all these aspects to her life that were really sad. I was just like, How can that be this girl should have been a princess. Her father had he lived, you know, she would have he would have been wealthy and famous. And Angela would have had it the moment sweets car exploded against the turn for wall, Angela's life took a completely different direction than it should have. And I just find that fascinating. Unfortunately, Angela, she wants others other possum, his children, these 911 children, among them, to know that they're not the only ones and there's in their mental health issues that you can overcome if you just keep at it. And Angela's a very strong Christian woman, woman of faith, she credits that with her, the turnaround her life and the opportunity to come to India for the first time. And it's really an amazing story. And I'm just so privileged to not only to be to have written it, but actually to have played a part in it as well.

Jeff Sterns  43:25  
That's fabulous. And again, I mean, you are your words, as they're coming out. It's clear, it's clear. So it's really nice for me to be able to it's one nice thing about this show is I get to meet somebody like you and spend some time with you and learn a little bit about your life and get touched by that. I mean, I really I'm really enjoying the connection with you and hearing like what you're about and what turns you on and what moves you what touch moves and inspires you what makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. Very interesting.

Unknown Speaker  43:54  
Really, thanks. You know, it's when I think back to that day in my sixth grade classroom, listen to their radio, and then finding out that there was this baby in the womb of Cheryl Savage, who would be born three months after sweet death and always wondering for years, wondering about this child who was then an adult and and now here we are 40 some years later, and we're the best of friends and she's working for me. I mean, it's kind of like moving material. I mean, you can't even make this stuff up.

Jeff Sterns  44:24  
So Ted, I can't tell you how grateful I am that you agreed to do the show. Give me some of your time. Thank you so so much for coming out with it. They said really appreciate it. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker  44:36  
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Ted Woerner

Author

Ted Woerner is a motorsports industry entrepreneur and owner of Miles Ahead, a driving event company based in suburban Indianapolis. Prior to launching Miles Ahead, he spent much of his career in 3D computer graphics. A lifetime racing enthusiast, he competed in the Midwest Skip Barber Formula Ford Series in the mid-1980s, scoring four wins.

More recently, he completed a book, SAVAGE ANGEL, on the life of his boyhood hero, Swede Savage, and how the Indianapolis 500 joined his spirit with that of his posthumous daughter, Angela, who was born just three months after his death from injuries suffered in the 1973 Indianapolis 500.

Originally from suburban Chicago, Ted currently resides in Carmel, Indiana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois.