IndyCar names Dr. Julia Vaizer as its first female medical director starting in 2023

IndyCar Vaizer medical director
IndyCar
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Julia Vaizer, an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, will become the first female medical chief for IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway when she takes over next season.

Dr. Vaizer has spent the past year assisting Dr. Geoffrey Billows, the series’ longtime medical director, who announced during the driver’s meeting before Sunday’s race in Toronto that he will be stepping down.

Billows has been undergoing treatment for parotid salivary cancer since November 2020 and wants to spend more time with his family. He plans to help Vaizer in a part-time capacity as he continues treatment.

“Dr. Billows and Dr. Vaizer have been working very closely together over the last few years, so we know this will be a seamless transition,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles. “We look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Vaizer as she trailblazes into her new leadership position as IndyCar’s first female medical director.”

Vaizer graduated from the University of Florida in 2011 and earned her medical degree from the University of Central Florida in 2016. She did emergency residency training at Detroit Receiving Hospital in 2019 and became the first graduate of the IU School of Medicine’s motorsports fellowship in July 2021.

She began her work with IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2018 during an elective training program.

“Dr. Billows has been a friend, a mentor, a teacher and like family to me,” Vaizer said. “It’s a huge honor to be chosen to carry on his legacy. It fills me with inspiration. I know I will work really hard to continue doing what he established as one of the most successful medical teams in the world of motorsports. I cannot wait for the next chapter and see how we can continue to improve the field of motorsports medicine for the next generation to come.”

Billow began his career at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during his residency in 1993, when he would volunteer at the IU Health Emergency Medical Center in the infield during race weeks. He later served as an IndyCar team physician and rose to the speedway’s medical director in 2006; he added the job of IndyCar’s medical director in 2016.

All the while, Billows has served as an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the IU School of Medicine.

“It’s no secret the last 20 months have been quite challenging for me,” he said. “I thought, `I should enjoy whatever time I have left.’ But I’m staying on so I can help part time because I enjoy it so much. The opportunity to work with IndyCar and IMS has been an opportunity of a lifetime. It’s been a career unlike none other. It’s quite rewarding. It not only gives me a chance to help take care of the drivers but to also have the chance to promote safety in the motorsports industry.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III