INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006 -- Dr. Geoffrey Billows and Dr. Michael Olinger have been named directors of medical services for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League, respectively, after serving for more than a decade under retiring medical director Dr. Henry Bock.

Billows and Olinger are responsible for administering all medical activities for their respective organizations. They replace Bock, whose retirement as senior director of medical services for IMS and the IRL is effective Jan. 1, 2007. Bock will remain as an advisor.

"The medical services needs for IMS and the IRL continue to grow as we constantly work to meet the unique demands of motorsports and this facility," said Joie Chitwood, IMS president. "We're confident Geoff and Mike will work together to continue Dr. Bock's great legacy while furthering the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's reputation as a worldwide leader in motorsports safety."

Said Brian Barnhart, IRL president and chief operating officer: "As we continue to refine existing procedures and explore new avenues of motorsports safety and medicine, the role is better suited to two physicians. Dr. Billows and Dr. Olinger are the ideal doctors for this position since they both worked closely with Dr. Bock for a long time."

Billows is the medical director of LifeLine Air Medical Transport Service and also serves as an adjunct clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine in the Emergency Medicine and Trauma Center of Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

He has extensive, award-winning experience in emergency medicine, serving as an emergency physician from 1995-2005 at Methodist after serving his residency there from 1992-95. Billows has written reports about emergency medicine in several medical journals and is a member of a variety of medical organizations, with a concentration on emergency medicine and air medical transport.

Billows also has a vast array of motorsports medicine experience. He has served as an emergency physician in the Clarian Emergency Medical Center at IMS since 1995 and has been an IRL Safety Team physician since 1998. Billows also has served as the chief medical director at many racing events, including the United States Grand Prix in 2006 and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in 2005 and 2006, and numerous IndyCar Series races.

"It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to work with Dr. Bock and Dr. Olinger over the past years," Billows said. "I respect them for their wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of motorsports medicine and truly value their friendship.

"I consider it an honor and a privilege to be afforded the opportunity to assume the responsibilities of medical director for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and am looking forward to working with Dr. Olinger to continue to improve upon safety and injury prevention in motorsports."

Olinger is the director of the Division of Out of Hospital Care in the Department of Emergency Medicine and also serves as a professor of clinical emergency medicine, both for the Indiana University School of Medicine.

He has 15 years of level-1 trauma center experience, working on the Emergency Medicine staff at hospitals in San Antonio, Denver and Indianapolis. Olinger also has served as the medical director for the Indianapolis Fire Department and Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services since 1991, for Marion (Ind.) County's Urban Search and Rescue Task Force since its inception in 1993 and has been a gubernatorial appointee to the Indiana EMS Commission since 1993. He also has done medical work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency during a variety of disasters.

Olinger also written reports about emergency medicine in numerous journals and is a member of a variety of medical organizations.

Like Billows, Olinger also brings extensive motorsports experience to his new role. He has been a deputy medical director at IMS since 1992 and has been an emergency physician for all three events at IMS, the Indianapolis 500, United States Grand Prix and Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

Olinger has served as deputy medical director for the IRL since 1995, traveling to races as an on-track physician. He was recognized with the Safety Award from the Championship Drivers Association in 2003.

"It's a really exciting time for the IRL, and I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead," Olinger said. "I'm glad Dr. Bock is staying around for guidance and help as we proceed forward. I really enjoy working with Dr. Billows and have great respect for his knowledge and skill, and we will work well together to further the goals of the IRL and IMS in motorsports safety and emergency medicine."

-credit: ims