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George Salih

GEORGE SALIH was the winning crew chief of three Indianapolis 500 races, the last two with a revolutionary creation he designed and built. A plant supervisor with Meyer & Drake Engineering (then owner of the Offenhauser racing engine), Salih was also crew chief on the Belanger Special which won both the 1951 Indianapolis 500 (driven by Lee Wallard) and the 1951 American Automobile Association National Championship (driven by Tony Bettenhausen). After scoring second with Sam Hanks in the 1956 Indianapolis 500, Salih built a low-slung car that would accept an Offy engine laid on its side to obtain a lower center of gravity. Unable to find a buyer for something so radical, Salih reluctantly entered the car himself. Built in the garage next to Salih’s Whittier, California, home, it was driven by Hanks to a stunning victory in the 1957 Indianapolis 500. Declining a sudden barrage of offers for purchase, Salih hired Jimmy Bryan to replace the retired Hanks for the 1958 Indianapolis 500 and won it again