Dr Henry Bock will retire as senior director of medical services for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League at the end of the year, ending an era that has seen him involved in both some of the more horrific accidents and revolutionary safety advances.

Bock has served in his current capacity at IMS since 1982, and for the IRL since it started competition in 1996. He will remain at IMS and the IRL as a medical and safety advisor, despite his retirement taking effect from 1 January 2007.

"On behalf of the entire Hulman-George family, I want to thank Henry for the many years of service to the entire enterprise, especially the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League," said IMS and IRL CEO Tony George, "His leadership and personal commitment of time have resulted in tremendous advancements in motorsports safety. We consider ourselves fortunate to be able to continue to rely on his advice and counsel."

Bock began his motorsports medicine career in 1966 when he was a medical student at Indiana University School of Medicine. After graduation from IU in 1968, he served as a medical provider/consultant to the production crew of the motion picture Winning. In 1970, Bock joined the emergency medical staff at Methodist Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. In the late 1970s, he travelled with the United States Auto Club's Champ Car safety team as an on-track physician and served as an assistant to IMS medical director Dr Thomas Hanna, before succeeding his mentor in 1982. He took on the duties of Indy Racing League director of medical services in 1996.

Bock has been recognised by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for his contribution to emergency medical services and was named as the 1998 Indy Racing League Achievement Award winner for his outstanding contributions to driver safety and the success of the League. In 1999, he was recognised with the Safety Award from the Championship Drivers Association. In 2004, he received the Herb Porter Award for his contribution to the development of the SAFER Barrier.

Bock also received the 'Sagamore of the Wabash' distinction from Indiana governor Frank O'Bannon in 2000, the highest civilian honour given in the state of Indiana.

"Thanks to all of the doctors and nurses who have contributed to the success of the IMS Clarian Emergency Medical Center operations and the Indy Racing League's medical and safety team - it made my job easy," Bock said modestly, "And thanks to Tony George and the Hulman-George family for their kindness and support throughout the years. They have shown total commitment to caring for the fans and participants. I look forward to continuing my relationships with both IMS and the IRL in the role of an advisor."

Bock will remain as a professor of emergency medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and on the medical staffs of both Methodist and Wishard Hospitals in Indianapolis.