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Tommy Milton in his race car at the Daytona Beach Road Course in 1920, courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection

Tommy Milton (November 14, 1893 - July 10, 1962) was an American race car driver best known as the first two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Milton began his career in racing in 1914, competing on dirt tracks in the Midwestern United States. By 1917 he was competing nationwide, and earned his first major win at a track in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1919, he was one of the dominant figures in American racing, winning five of the nine championship races including the "International Sweepstakes" at Sheepshead Bay, New York, and making his debut at the prestigious Indianapolis 500. Later that year he suffered severe burns when his car burst into flames during a race at Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He returned to the track the following year to win the Universal Trophy Race on June 19th en route to capturing the 1920 United States National Driving Championship.


Record at the Indianapolis 500

Tommy Milton with Barney Oldfield and Louis Chevrolet before the 1921 Indianapolis 500

Tommy Milton was a starter in the Indianapolis 500 eight times, earning the pole position once, and finishing in the top five on four occasions. He drove for Duesenberg his first time in 1919 and again the following year when he finished third. In 1921, the twenty-seven-year-old Milton won the celebrated race driving a straight-eight Frontenac built by Louis Chevrolet. In 1922 fuel tank problems forced Milton out of the race after only forty-four laps, but he came back in 1923 driving for the H.C.S. Motor Co. with a Miller 122 and won the race for the second time. His last Indy 500 was in 1927 when he finished eighth.

At the 1936 race, Tommy Milton returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to drive the Packard 120 Pace Car. At his suggestion, the tradition of giving the race winner the Pace Car began that year. In 1949 Milton was appointed chief steward for the Indianapolis 500. Health problems forced him to retire in 1957.

Tommy Milton died in 1962 in Mount Clemens, Michigan at the age of sixty-eight.

Indy 500 results

Year Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1919 9 31 89.900 31 25 50 0 Rod
1920 10 11 90.200 11 3 200 0 Running
1921 2 20 93.050 11 1 200 90 Running
1922 8 24 94.400 15 24 44 0 Gas tank
1923 1 1 108.170 1 1 200 128 Running
1924 5 3 105.200 3 21 110 0 Gas tank
1925 4 11 104.366 13 5 200 0 Running
1927 6 25 108.758 20 8 200 0 Running
Totals 1204 218
Starts 8
Poles 1
Front Row 2
Wins 2
Top 5 4
Top 10 5
Retired 3


Preceded by
Gaston Chevrolet
Indianapolis 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Jimmy Murphy
Preceded by
Jimmy Murphy
Indianapolis 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Joe Boyer
Lora L. Corum

External links

  • [1] - Website of the Ramsey County Historical Society, St Paul MN, with an online exhibit sharing photos of Milton based on an article in the Ramsey County History Quarterly.




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