So Minnesota: Tommy Milton, race car legend

So Minnesota: Tommy Milton, race car legend

A man from St. Paul stepped on the pedal and became a racing legend.

Few have heard of Minnesota’s greatest driver of all time, Tommy Milton.

“The man is a racing legend who has kind of been forgotten,” said Mark Langer, motorsport historian at IMCA Old Timers Vintage Racing.

Born in St. Paul in 1893, Milton competed as a teenager on dirt roads across the country.

In 1919, Milton was one of the dominant figures in American racing, making his debut at the Indianapolis 500. Milton won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in 1921 and 1923, becoming the first two-time winner of the Indy 500 and the only driver from Minnesota ever to win the race.

“It’s great,” Langer said. “It’s really… to think that he was from St. Paul at that time, a car that was built in St. Paul, and they transported him to Indianapolis, and they ran.”

From birth, Milton was 100% blind in his right eye and had only partial vision in his left.

“The guy went and set all these speed records and won all these races and stormed all over the country. It’s amazing,” Langer noted.

After a long illness, Milton died in 1962. He has been called the greatest driver of the first half of the 20th century.

For more information about IMCA Old Timers Vintage Racing, click here.