One of the most respected American drivers of all time, Ted Horn established a record of consistency at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which may never be equalled. Amazingly between 1936 and 1948 he never finished worse than fourth. Equally amazing however is the fact that he never won the "500".
Eylard Theodore Horn was a careful, methodical and very superstitious young man. Always neat and tidy both with himself and his car. He was also a perfect gentleman on and off the race track. There were those who believed he was not suited for such a demanding profession as motor racing.
He began racing in a $12 jalopy when he was 15, but he wasn't a genuine success at the sport until he was 35. After a serious crash when he was 18, his parents urged him to find a safer job, which he did, for a while.
He entered another race when he was 21, crashed again, but returned to racing once more as soon as he got out of the hospital.
Through the 1930s, he had moderate success, finishing second in the 1936 Indy 500 and third in the championship point standings for that year.
He was third at Indy in 1937, fourth in 1938, 1939, and 1940, third again in 1941.
Horn was rejected for military service in World War II because of his past injuries.
Racing resumed on a limited scale in 1945, and Horn was suddenly a winner, placing first in all seven races he entered. There was no national championship that year, but he won the title in 1946, 1947, and 1948, becoming the first three-time winner.
He also placed third, third, and fourth in the Indy 500 during those years, giving him 10 straight finishes in the top four.
He clinched the 1948 championship with a third-place finish at the DuQuoin, IL, track in September.
A month later on October 10th, he was racing at DuQuoin again in a 100 mile dirt race. A broken front spindle, a flying wheel and a violently rolling race car sent Ted Horn crashing to his death.
When the 33 starters lined up for the 1949 Indianapolis 500 with Myron Fohr carrying the number 2 on his car, starting in sixth place, there was no number 1, Ted Horn had already clinched the crown.