IRL: Meet Eddie Sachs

It's been almost 38 years since irrepressible Edward Julius "Eddie" Sachs II and sports car specialist Dave MacDonald perished in a first lap main straightaway inferno at Indianapolis that also severely burned Michigan racer Ronnie Duman and...

It's been almost 38 years since irrepressible Edward Julius "Eddie" Sachs II and sports car specialist Dave MacDonald perished in a first lap main straightaway inferno at Indianapolis that also severely burned Michigan racer Ronnie Duman and stopped the 500-mile race for an hour and forty-five minutes. Sachs left behind his wife Nancy McGarrity Sachs (long since remarried) and a two-year-old son they named Edward Julius III. "Until I was ten years old," Sachs III remembers, "I was protected from the Speedway. My mom and grandparents didn't want me involved in racing. She always goes back to the best days of their lives when my dad was racing and the fun they had on the road with their fans and their business relationships. He's buried in Bethlehem. People often want to tell me an experience they had with him. It's something memorable to them in their hearts. "

He remembers his grandfather Sachs as "a wonderful man in Greensboro, North Carolina who was in the construction business and whose wife was a realtor." Eddie's uncle Bill Sachs lives in South Carolina where he and his wife own a mortgage company. Eddie, now divorced with two children and living in Lake Orion, Michigan near Detroit is variously a sales person and a customer relations specialist for a company that sells its services to the automobile industry. He sees himself maintaining certain of his father's better characteristics, especially his aggressiveness and his warm relationships with people. "I try to put fires out and keep everybody happy,' he says in summary.

Eddie attended Hall of Divine Child elementary school in Monroe, Michigan, followed by Assumption high school in Windsor, Ontario, and two years at the University of South Carolina. "From there," he says, "I decided I knew everything I needed to know."

Sachs earnestly tried his hand at driving race cars of all permutations from quarter midgets to jalopies to late models to midgets, sprint cars, championship dirt cars, ASA and ARCA stockers, and the Canadian CasCar series.

"I was a typical kid who lied about his age and began driving race cars at 15," he admits. All went fairly well until his mother weighed in, and put the brakes on her husband's financing Eddie's racing habit. "She likes racing in general; she doesn't like me doing it." Even so, he stayed behind the wheel long enough to run one Hoosier Hundred championship car race at the mile dirt Indiana State Fairgrounds, and one similar event at DuQuoin, Illinois.

Life is reasonably upbeat for Sachs III these days. "I have two wonderful kids who I love very much," he is quick to point out. "That's good enough for me right now. I'm trying to build my business life, and that takes a lot of time. Sachs II, as some may recall, had the strange reputation of being both Jewish and Catholic. "My friends think I'm Jewish, but I'm actually Catholic," says Sachs III. Sachs is a Catholic German name. Sacks is a very high Jewish name. That's how the name can be mistaken. When in need, the name can be used two ways, very profitably." Indeed, the Sachs name has never been anything but an asset. "I'll be introduced to someone, and he'll say, 'Were you any kin to Eddie Sachs?' I'll say, 'Yes. He was my dad.'"

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Series IndyCar