Dr. Henry Bock has passed
Dr. Henry Bock was a key man behind the safety initiative of the modern day safer barrier.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced the sad news yesterday.
Henry worked directly for Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 1982 to 2006. He served as the director of track medical. At the same time, he held the same title for the Verizon Indycar Series.
Dr. Henry Bock was 81.
On May 1, 2002, safer barriers were announced by Indycar Series officials. The new technology made it’s debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in all for turns of the rectangle shaped track.
Safer barriers were created by Indycar with help from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. The project started in 1998 and it became an initiative that changed racing crashes forever.
Instead of the old concrete walls, the impact point became bars of steel. In between the steel and concrete are foam blocks. Those foam blocks are designed to absorb impact.
Iowa Speedway was the very first track to install the safer barrier system all the way around the outside walls, the length of the entire track. Iowa Speedway opened in 2006 with funding from track owner Rusty Wallace. Today, all ovals on the Verizon Indycar Series schedule feature safer barriers.
All NASCAR tracks do as well with the exception of the dirt track at Eldora Speedway. In addition, road courses sometimes utilize a mix of the safer barrier technology with other softer impact resisting barriers.
The safer barrier technology has received multiple awards since it’s inception:
-Autosport Pioneering and Innovation Award (2004)
-Louis Schwitzer Award (2002)
-SEMA Motorsports Engineering Award (2002)
-GM Racing Pioneer Award (2002)