Takeo “Chickie” Hirashima had the distinction of being the riding mechanic for the fastest qualifier at Indianapolis in each of the last three years riding mechanics were required — 1935, 1936, and 1937. He sat on the pole with Rex Mays in 1935 and 1936, and then rode with Jimmy Snyder to new records in qualifying a year later, one lap being the first in excess of 130 miles per hour.
An integral member of George Robson’s winning crew in 1946, Hirashima probably had his greatest triumph in 1960. Not only was he crew chief for winner Jim Rathmann, but he also prepared the engine that powered Rodger Ward to second position after the greatest two-man dual in history. Hirashima had another one-two finish as engine man for the 1962 Leader Card team of Ward and Len Sutton; plus, he was Sutton’s chief mechanic. Retiring from chief mechanic duties in 1964, he became a field representative for Autolite Spark Plugs and finished his career as an engineer for the Champion Spark Plug Company.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum