Howard Wilcox, winner of the 1919 Indianapolis 500, participated in many of the pre-Indianapolis 500 races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the track’s first two years. He won a 100-mile race for the National Motor Vehicle Company during the Indianapolis Labor Day meet in 1910. He was the only driver to participate in every one of the first eleven 500-mile races, finishing in the top ten four times before winning the 1919 race with a French Peugeot owned by Carl Fisher and James Allison. Wilcox also figured in a rarely credited second Indianapolis 500 win during his final year in 1923, driving 47 laps of relief for teammate and eventual winner Tommy Milton after his own car had dropped out.
By leading 41 laps in Milton’s car after ten laps with his own, he was one of the few drivers who have led the same race with two different cars. Driving for the Stutz team in 1915, Wilcox won the pole with a single lap speed of 98.9 miles per hour, the first year in which speed determined the pole position. He finished second for Stutz in the 1915 American Grand Prize at San Francisco, California, and shared the winning Peugeot with Johnnie Aitken at the Santa Monica, California, race in 1916. He became one of the outstanding drivers on the steeply-banked board tracks, only to lose his life in a race at the Altoona Raceway in Pennsylvania in September 1923.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum