Mike Salay was born in South Bend, Indiana. His parents were born in Hungary and his real family name was Szalai. He started racing before WWII and was president of the South Bend Hungarian Auto Club, though history does not recount how many members the SBHAC had.
He won the feature race at the last event ever held at the Evanston Motor Speedway (which was also know as the Chicago Midget Speedway) on the 9th August 1936. The track suffered severe storm damage and all further racing was cancelled. The track never reopened.
He went on to race in midgets and Champ Cars between 1948 and 1951.
He qualified the Terman Marine Supply Wetteroth Offy for the Indy 500 in 1948 at the back of the grid and was the first to retire on lap 13 when for some reason he stalled in the south east turn.
He went back to Indy in 1951 but failed to qualify when he crashed out in practice.
He died in South Bend, Indiana in 1973. He was inducted into the Michiana Racers Hall of Fame in 2007.
hr with thanks to Rick Patterson for additional information.