Steve Chassey knew what he wanted to do if he got out of Vietnam alive — drive race cars.
Following two years on the front lines in the infantry, Chas’ was discharged with honors and headed for Ascot Park to start running his dad’s sprinter.
He got a reputation for being brave but always laughed when comparing racing to staying alive in the jungle: “Race cars don’t shoot at you,” he’d always say. And, for the better part of the next 20 years, he was able to make a living behind the wheel as he went from a winner in USAC to a three-time starter in the Indianapolis 500.
His last Indy start in 1988 was the most special because he was his own chief mechanic. After he retired, Steve worked at ESPN on Thursday Night Thunder, managed Lola Cars, and sold insurance for racers.
But getting from Saigon to Ascot to Indianapolis was a trip few could imagine.