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Tommy Milton

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 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 Chassis Engine Start Finish
1919 Duesenberg Duesenberg 31st 25th
1920 Duesenberg Duesenberg 9th 3rd
1921 Frontenac Frontenac 20th 1st
1922 Milton Miller 24th 24th
1923 Miller Miller 1st 1st
1924 Miller Miller 3rd 21st
1925 Miller Miller 11th 5th
1927 Detroit Miller 25th 8th

Awards


Indianapolis 500 Winners
Four-time winners

A. J. FoytAl Unser, Sr.Rick Mears

Three-time winners

MeyerShawRoseRutherfordB. Unser

Two-time winners

MiltonVukovichWardJohncockFittipaldiLuyendykUnser, Jr.Castroneves

One win

HarrounDawsonGouxThomasDePalmaRestaWilcoxChevroletMurphyCorumBoyerDePaoloLockhartSoudersKeechArnoldSchneiderFrameCummingsPetilloRobertsDavisRobsonHollandParsonsWallardRuttmanSweikertFlahertyHanksBryanRathmannJonesClarkHillAndrettiDonohueSnevaSullivanRahalVilleneuveLazierCheeverBrackMontoyade FerranRiceWheldonHornish