Dr. Michael Olinger, who looked after the IndyCar Series’ drivers for 13 seasons as its medical director, died on Thursday at the age of 69. Prior to his most recent appointment which spanned 2006-2018, Olinger joined the new Indy Racing League in 1996 as a trackside physician, and was continually promoted until becoming the series’ top medical official.
Olinger’s life was extraordinary in its endless dedication to service.
After enlisting in the Army where he became a pilot and completing his medical degree in Colorado, Olinger put his skills to work in emergency and rescue scenarios that found him on the ground at the World Trade Center following 9/11, the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City, and natural disasters, among other high-profile postings.
Olinger’s vast and varied experiences made for one of IndyCar’s most fascinating characters. IndyCar legend Mario Andretti spoke for those who were fortunate to have Dr. Olinger waiting and ready on their behalf as part of the AMR Safety Team.