Louis Meyer

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Louis Meyer
Louis Meyer at the 1928 Indianapolis 500 (cropped).jpg
Born (1904-07-21)July 21, 1904
Manhattan, New York
Died November 7, 1995(1995-11-07) (aged 91)
Searchlight, Nevada
Resting place Inglewood Park Cemetery
Known for First three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500
Spouse(s) June
Children Louis Meyer, Jr., Kay and Yvonne

Louis Meyer (July 21, 1904 – October 7, 1995) was an American Hall of Fame race car driver who was a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.[1]


Born in lower Manhattan, New York on July 21, 1904, he was the son of French immigrants, Meyer was raised in Los Angeles, where he began automobile racing at various California tracks.

He went on to become the first-ever driver to win the Indianapolis 500 three times, capturing the prestigious race as a rookie starter in 1928 (though having driven as a relief driver for Wilbur Shaw the year before), then again in 1933 and 1936.[1] Meyer started the tradition of drinking milk (buttermilk at the time) in victory lane at the 1933 Indianapolis 500 race, when he drank a glass of milk. Following his 1936 Indianapolis 500 victory, he drank from a glass milk bottle instead, as most race winners have done since.[2] Following the suggestion of former race winner, Tommy Milton, that year he became the first driver to receive the Pace Car as part of the race winnings. Meyer won the United States National Driving Championship in 1928, 1929 and 1933.

Meyer's wife June did not even know he was racing in the 1928 Indianapolis 500. Earlier in the day she was in Pennsylvania picking up a wrecked car and after that went to see her brother-in-law Eddie Meyer race in Reading. She found out about her husband's victory after the track announcer in Reading asked the crowd to give a big hand to Eddie Meyer, the brother of the Indianapolis 500 winner.

Meyer died on November 7, 1995 in Searchlight, Nevada, aged 91, where he had been living in retirement since 1972.[1] He was interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.


Meyer's son Louis (Sonny) Meyer, Jr. assisted him in engine work at his race shops, and worked on the various DOHC Ford engines in USAC racing, including building 15 Indianapolis 500-winning engines. Grandson Louis III (Butch) built Oldsmobile Aurora engines for Team Menard in Indy Racing League IndyCar Series competition, winning the 1996-97 (18-month season) and 1999 championships before becoming the Indy Pro Series (now Indy Lights) director. He was not related to fellow driver Zeke Meyer.


  1. ^ a b c "Louis Meyer, 91, A Champion Racer". New York Times. October 9, 1995. Retrieved 2012-10-05. Louis Meyer, the first three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, died Saturday night in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 91. Mr. Meyer, who grew up in California, won the Indy 500 in 1928, 1933 and 1936 and was the first driver to drink milk in Victory Lane, a tradition that continues today. Seven other drivers have matched his feat, with A. J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears the only four-time winners. 
  2. ^ Nystrom, Elsa A. (2013). "Indianapolis 500". In Murry R. Nelson. American sports a history of icons, idols, and ideas. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 586. ISBN 9780313397530. In 1933 Louis Meyer asked for a glass of buttermilk after winning his second 500; in 1936 he asked for another glass but instead was given a bottle. 

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Preceded by
George Souders
Indianapolis 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Ray Keech
Preceded by
Fred Frame
Indianapolis 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Bill Cummings
Preceded by
Kelly Petillo
Indianapolis 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Wilbur Shaw