Dr. Henry Bock, the longtime medical director at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway who helped in the development of the SAFER barrier, passed away Saturday at the age of 81.
A 1968 graduate of the Indiana University Medical School, Bock began his motorsports career by traveling with USAC’s national championship in the late 1970s and replaced Dr. Tom Hanna at IMS in 1982. Known as “Hank” to the racing community, he served as IMS director from 1982-2006 and also consulted for IndyCar and the Speedway after his retirement from Eskenazi Hospital.
“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.”
In 2004, Bock received the Herb Porter Award for his contribution to the SAFER barrier, which debuted at IMS in 2002 and is regarded as the greatest breakthrough in racing safety on ovals. He also 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 is survived by a brother, Bob, and a sister, Marianne.