Fred Wacker


Wednesday 10th July 1918

Born on this day, Fred Wacker, an engineer and former president of two large Chicago companies. He was also a prominent Chicago socialite, a jazz musician, and a racing driver. He participated in five Formula One World Championship races, debuting on June 21, 1953. He scored no championship points. He also participated in several non-Championship Formula One races.

Wacker was the grandson of Charles H. Wacker, the first chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission and the man for whom Wacker Drive in Chicago is named. He attended The Hotchkiss School and Yale University. He worked with AC Spark Plug before enlisting in the United States Navy.

Wacker was involved in a fatal accident during the second lap of the 1952 Watkins Glen Grand Prix, which at the time was a street course. While preparing for a right hand turn, his Allard J2 came dangerously close to a Cunningham driven by John Fitch, and both drivers swerved to avoid a collision. The back end of the Allard came out slightly to the left and closer to a throng of spectators sitting on the curb along the side of the course. Ten people were injured and a 7-year-old boy was killed. The tragedy caused the end of street racing at the Glen and elsewhere in the United States.


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