Antonio Ascari was born near Mantua, in the Lombardy region of Italy, the son of a corn dealer. He began racing cars at the top levels in Italy in 1919, using a modified 1914 Fiat. Along with Enzo Ferrari, in 1919 he raced in the first Targa Florio held after the end of World War I but did not finish after crashing into a deep ravine. His bad luck there continued in 1920 and 1921 but in 1922 he finished a strong fourth. Driving an Alfa Romeo for Vittorio Jano in April of 1923, he narrowly lost the Targa Floria, finishing second to his Alfa Romeo team-mate, Ugo Sivocci. However, the following month at the Cremona Circuit he drove to his first major Grand Prix victory. In 1924, he repeated as winner at Cremona then went on to Monza where he won the Italian Grand Prix.
1925 promised to be a great year for Antonio Ascari, his car dominating the competition at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps when he won the inaugral Belgian Grand Prix. Unfortunately, 36-year-old Ascari was killed while leading the 1925 French Grand Prix at the Montlhéry racecouse south of Paris. He left behind a seven-year-old son, Alberto who would become one of the greats of Formula 1 racing and who would also die behind the wheel at age 36.
Antonio Ascari is interred in the Cimitero Monumentale in Milan.