Born February 27th of 1910 in Cincinnatti, Eyland Theodore Von Horn went on to become both a tragedy and a legend during his racing career. A legend in that he compiled the best ten year streak of finishes in Indianapolis 500 history, a tragedy in that he died as a result to injuries sustained doing what he loved best which was racing. Green flag to checkered flag both in life and on the track Ted was full throttle.
At the age of fifteen when driving to his job at the Los Angeles Times newspaper located near where his family had recently moved, Ted was put on a course to begin a life as race care driver in a manner Hollywood couldn't write better. it seems he was pulled over for speeding and received a most unusual punishment. His car was impounded which isn't so odd, but the mandate of the officer whom issued his ticket was. Ted was directed to go to the San Jose Speedway, locate somone that would let him drive a car, and drive until the need for speed was gone. At that time he was told he could go to the police impound lot and pickup up his car.
What nobody knew was that young Ted would only grow thirstier for the speed and adrenaline and embark on an amazing journey into the world of auto racing. He began forming friendships with other drivers who coached him along the way improving his skills and fueling his desire to become a full time professional race car driver. Everything was going well until Ted had an accident in which he broke his foot and suffered burns to his back which laid him up for around two months. His parents strongly suggested he give up his "diversion" and concentrate on stabler things. For about three years Ted did just as they wished which is what he thought he wanted as well in the wake of the sobering experience.
His hiatus didn't last for long and three years later Ted took second place to to Indy 500 winner Louis Meyer. Bouyed by his success against one of the sports champions Ted set his sights on the Midwest where there were more race tracks and better competition. if he were to male a name for himself this was the path he felt he needed to take. By 1934 he had a chance to qualify for the Indy 500 but passed as he felt uncomfortable with the vehicle he had. For one more season it was back to grinding out a living.
1935 was when things turned around and Ted's legend began to grow. Harry Miller who along with Preston Tucker and the Ford Motor company had their sights set on two goals, debuting the Miller Ford V8 and having Ted drive it. Both goals were reached however not with the hoped results, the Miller Ford V8 did debut and Ted did drive it, however a flaw design in the steering forced him to drop out after only 145 laps. None the less rival car owner and former driver Harry Hartz was still highly impressed with Von Horn, or Ted Horn as he was known on the circut.
Hartz offered Ted a job driving his car for the 1936 season and a perfect union was born. hartz was owner and mentor and taught Ted how to maximize every attribute the vehicle had to offer. Ted finished secon, third, and fourth in the Indy 500 while driving for Hartz before moving on. Ted finished no worse than fourth at the Indy until 1941 when racing ceased due to the war. Ted volunteered but was denied entry to service based on his numerous racing injuries. When racing resumed in 1946 Ted was back in business and notched another third place finish picking up at Indy right where he left off.
From 1946 to 1948 Ted won the National Championship making him the first to notch three consecutive wins. He never managed to get that win at Indy he wanted so much but which always seemed on the horizon. Om October 10th of 1948 on a DuQuoin Illinois racetrack Ted was involved in a horrible accident during the races second lap. he left the track alive but succumbed to the injuries in the hospital shortly after. At age thirty eight Ted had passed the final checkered flag leaving behind his wife Barbara Britton. He is remembered still today by the Ted Horn 100 held in the very tow of DuQuoin where he took his final lap.