Michael Olinger, M.D., who served as INDYCAR’s medical director from 2006-2018, died November 7. He was 69.
Dr. Olinger joined the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team when INDYCAR was formed in 1996, as an on-track physician. He was promoted to INDYCAR’s Senior Medical Director in 2006 following the retirement of Dr. Henry Bock. Dr Olinger had served as Bock’s deputy medical director at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more than a decade and In 2003, Dr. Olinger was recognized with the Safety Award from the Championship Drivers Association.
Dr. Olinger was appointed the state of Indiana’s first emergency medical services medical director in 2014 and held the job for two years. He was a professor of clinical emergency medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine and served as medical director for the Indianapolis Fire Department and Indianapolis EMS. He was a gubernatorial appointee to the Indiana EMS Commission.
Dr. Olinger also served as the Medical Director for Marion County’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force (Indiana-Task Force 1) and was deployed by FEMA to the Oklahoma City Bombing, Hurricane Marilyn, the DeBruce Grain Elevator explosion, the Atlanta and Salt Lake City Olympic Games, the World Trade Center incident, the recovery mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia crew, the Republican National Convention, Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Katrina.
A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1983, Olinger, a former helicopter pilot in the Army, completed his Residency in Emergency Medicine in 1987 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
He survived by his wife Jeanette and their children and grandchildren.
What I loved most about Dr. O was his demeanor....quiet, calm, reassuring. Tremendous qualities for a doctor in our sport. His presence will be missed. RIP my friend https://t.co/SNEz6yI251
Very said to hear about Dr.MichaelOlinger pass....they are truly the guard angel for us....RIP .😢 https://t.co/3FjEs2IBvZ
Sad news. MO was so interested in hearing how I managed my blood glucose on the track in my first annual physical for Indy Lights. A great doctor and a massive contributor to the motorsports community. https://t.co/xdzNJYwiUa
Dr. O was one of the guys you didn't really want to see, but when things were sideways you were relieved it was him who was there. Lucky to have known him and had him looking out for us. 🙏🏻 https://t.co/iXyugl4liL
Terrible news on this Thursday. Dr. O was a great man who did so much to help all of us. RIP Dr. Olinger. 🙏🏼 https://t.co/ysiOV1dU1F