Sept. 6, 2021

Ted Woerner saw Swede Savage break the track record in Indy in '73. Later in life met Angela Savage

Ted was 11 and saw Swede Savage break the track record in some trials in '73. 1:44 Ted wrote a book about Swede Savage 3:51 Ted brought a transistor radio with him to school, put it in his desk and I had one of those wired earplugs. He turned his head...


https://savage42.net/

Ted was 11 and saw Swede Savage break the track record in some trials in '73.

1:44 Ted wrote a book about Swede Savage

3:51 Ted brought a transistor radio with him to school, put it in his desk and I had one of those wired earplugs. He turned his head away from the teacher so he wouldn't see Ted's ear plug in. He was listening to the Indy 500. Then he has this horrific accident on lap 59 coming out of turn four.

5:34 fast forward 40 years...Ted met a guy on Facebook in Indianapolis -Paul Powell, who was organizing a trip to the Indianapolis 500 for this woman named Angela Savage.

7:21 here comes the girl who was born three months after Swede's death to Indy. She was showered with unconditional love at the track changed her life.

8:04 How was Angela Savage's life changed in Indy?

9:22 Angela connects with children of parents lost to 9/11

10:45 She didn't realize that people still remembered her father.  

Transcript

Jeff Sterns  0:00  
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  0:10  
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.

Unknown Speaker  0:44  
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. Hearing is now Jeff Sterns.

Jeff Sterns  1:01  
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 get 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 in 73. And you're sitting in the turn for grandstand. That's not from memory. 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  1:45  
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, you're 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, you know, and he's 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 German car number 40. So I knew that this sweet savage guy when he drove the STP number 40 STP oil treatment specialists 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. An 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. Anyway, go to the time trials with my family. The 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 per hour lap and sweet savage had the fastest practice lap leading up to pull day qualifying that you're now they 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 his 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 that 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 earpieces 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 that in 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 in 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. When the crash 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 that 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 maintain to this day. And now Angela works for me her husband works for me, it miles ahead. So that's kind of the the quick elevator story if it's even that quick, but

Jeff Sterns  6:23  
and you are producer in her podcast, right?

Unknown Speaker  6:25  
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, alright, 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 at the track changed her life. And she had 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, and when this family is in the wake of this tragedy, and Angelo's life is quite a interesting example, that

Jeff Sterns  8:04  
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 and 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 fighter getting knocked out or a concussion, 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  9:22  
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 doing 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 your 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 and depression, confusion, self identity issues, and Angela 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 is 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.

Unknown Speaker  10:50  
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.