Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Longtime IMS, INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Henry Bock Dies at 81

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway media release

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 30, 2018 – Longtime Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Henry Bock, a pioneer in motorsports safety and medical treatment, died May 26 in Indianapolis. He was 81.

Bock, an emergency medicine specialist at IU Health Methodist Hospital and Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, served as senior director of medical services at IMS from 1982-2006 and in the same role for INDYCAR since its inaugural race in 1996 through the end of the 2006 season.

Bock also worked as a consultant for IMS and INDYCAR after his retirement from both organizations.

“Dr. Henry Bock was one of the great leaders in safety for everyone involved in motorsports – drivers, crew members and spectators,” said Tony George, chairman of the board of Hulman & Company, Hulman Motorsports and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“His work saved many lives and helped to form the standard for care today, and his selfless dedication to safety and innovation will influence the sport he loved for a very long time.”

Bock was a familiar, trusted specialist to every driver who was cared for at the infield medical center at IMS and at IndyCar Series events throughout the United States. He also worked tirelessly to promote motorsports safety, producing revolutionary advancements in treatment of injured drivers and helping to create state-of-the-art medical facilities at racetracks across North America.

Perhaps the greatest of Bock’s numerous contributions was his work on the development of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier, one of the most revolutionary safety advances in motorsports history, which debuted in 2002 at IMS.

Bock began his motorsports medicine career in 1966 when he was a medical student at Indiana University School of Medicine. After graduation from IU in 1968, he served as a medical provider/consultant to the production crew of the motion picture “Winning,” starring Paul Newman and with scenes filmed at IMS.

In 1970, Bock joined the emergency medical staff at Methodist Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. He was instrumental in establishing the LifeLine Air Medical Transport Service at Methodist in 1979.

In the late 1970s, Bock travelled with the United States Auto Club’s Champ Car safety team as an on-track physician and served as an assistant to IMS Medical Director Dr. Thomas Hanna, before succeeding his mentor in 1982.

Bock was a longtime member of the International Council of Motorsports Sciences, an organization of medical professional and scientists dedicated to improving injury prevention and promotion of safety in the motorsports industry.

Bock was recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for his contribution to emergency medical services and was named as the 1998 Indy Racing League Achievement Award winner for his outstanding contributions to driver safety and the success of the series.

In 1999, Bock was recognized with the Safety Award from the Championship Drivers Association. In 2004, he received the Herb Porter Award for his contribution to the development of the SAFER Barrier.

Bock also received the Sagamore of the Wabash distinction from Indiana Governor Frank O’Bannon in 2000, a top civilian honor given in the state of Indiana.

Bock is survived by a brother, Bob, and a sister, Marianne.

Rahal determined to regain winning touch in 2019 IndyCar season

Photo by Shawn Gritzmacher, INDYCAR
INDYCAR
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AUSTIN, Texas – Graham Rahal entered the room with a smile on his face and a chip on his shoulder.

It was IndyCar “Media Day” and Rahal wasn’t happy with the way last season went at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He was less happy with the fact some aren’t considering him a serious threat in 2019. He playfully chided with one media outlet for failing to mention his team as one to watch in 2019.

“We use that as motivation to show everybody how we are viewed,” Rahal said. “We are here to win.”

Rahal just turned 30 in January but is entering his 13thseason in big-time Indy car racing. He entered the 2007 Champ Car Series season when he was just 17. He missed his high school prom because he was racing at Houston.

“That was the luckiest day of my life,” Rahal said. “I didn’t have to go to the prom. It doesn’t get any better than that.

“Plus, I got my second career podium that weekend.”

Rahal drove to victory in his very first race in the combined IndyCar Series in the 2008 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He was hailed as the “Poster Boy of Unification” and a future star. What followed was a seven-year drought before he captured his second-career win in a thrilling race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

He won two races in 2015, one in 2016 and two in 2017. He was expected to contend for victories and possibly the championship last year but struggled through a disappointing season and finished eighth in the standings.

“I’m looking forward for chance this year,” Rahal said. “Last year was a tough one for me and for the team. I’m looking forward to what my new engineer, Allen McDonald, has done so far. He is an accomplished engineer and brings a different mindset to our program this year from what we had last year. He and (fellow engineer) Eddie Jones are very close friends and that will help us from the standpoint they are on the same page.

“We needed a bit of life brought back to the team.”

Rahal believes his challenges are to get everything in order before the season starts. The team has defined the areas where it was lacking in 2019. The team needed to improve in research and development after starting behind last season.

“I’m excited for what I see, and I know in the end it will all pay off,” Rahal said. “It’s just a matter of when.

“There is a lot to be excited about for us. We are in a great position as a team. We have great sponsorship and that will allow us to push forward and do the things we need to do.”

Rahal believes at 30, he has a long time ahead of him to win races and championships and maybe even the Indianapolis 500. In order to reach those goals, however, Rahal’s team needs to regain the competitive level he displayed prior to last year.

“We’ve been fortunate to win six times,” Rahal said. “A lot of people come into this sport and never win. I fully recognize there is no reason we can’t win a lot. I don’t care what anybody writes, what anybody thinks – I really feel that when it comes to race day, we perform better than 99 percent of the other people out there.

“As a team and for myself, we have to qualify better. If we can qualify better, we’ll be a thorn in everybody’s side. We know the rear of our cars just aren’t good enough. When we need to find that extra tenth or two, it’s just not there but absolutely, we want to win.

“I don’t come here year after year to just drive around. Our sponsors don’t invest in us year after year to not see us win. We feel that. But our cars aren’t good enough and we know that.”

Rahal believes the team has identified the problems with the setup of its car. It has a deep engineering staff but hasn’t had a chance to develop the damper program and other important areas that provide a competition setup.

Takuma Sato, the winner of the 101stIndianapolis 500 when he was with Andretti Autosport, scored the team’s only victory in 2018 with a win in the Portland Grand Prix. The two are back this year and have built a respect for each other.

“He’s a good guy,” Rahal said of Sato. “Other than Helio Castroneves, Takuma is probably the happiest man on the planet. He’s a great guy and fits in well with our organization. We pride ourselves on being a family and he fits in extremely well to that.

“We need to do a better job for him as a team. He won a race last year, but we can both do better to win with both cars.

“The Andretti cars are the best right now and the Penske cars will be good. We have a lot of space to close up on those two teams but hopefully, we can do it.”