Rex Mays was the third person to win two consecutive National Championships, accomplishing that feat in 1940 and 1941. He was only 20 years old when he finished second in the American Automobile Association Pacific Coast Championship in 1933, going on to win the title in 1934 and 1935. He also won the Midwest Championship in 1936 and 1937. By winning the pole at Indianapolis in 1935 at the age of 22, Mays remains the youngest pole winner 80 years later.
Although he never won an Indianapolis 500 race, the very popular Mays led the field in nine of his twelve Indianapolis 500 starts for a total of 266 laps. He started from the front row seven times and was the first driver to win the pole position four times. He finished second to Wilbur Shaw in the 1940 Indianapolis 500 and second again to the Floyd Davis/Mauri Rose combination in 1941. He gained considerable notoriety in 1937 when he drove an Alfa Romeo against leading European drivers in the Vanderbilt Cup race at Roosevelt Raceway, Long Island, New York, and finished third. He lost his life in the final American Automobile Association National Championship race of the 1949 season at Del Mar, California.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum