By: Spencer Neff
June 5, 2019 | 8:26 AM
In 2006, former CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) Medical Director, Dr. Stephen Olvey released his memoirs. “Rapid Response: My Inside Story as a Motor Racing Life Saver” provided fans an inside look into his time in the sport.
On May 21, Emro Publishing released an updated copy of “Rapid Response. In addition to the updated book, A Mile A Way Productions has produced a documentary co-directed by Michael Miles and Roger Hinze that is adapted from Olvey’s memoirs.
On the evening of this year’s Indianapolis 500 Carb Day, a special World Premiere for the movie was held at the Indiana State Museum’s IMAX Theater.
Like the book, the documentary starts off with Olvey detailing the origins of his interest in racing. Most notably, he recalls being a spectator during the 1955 Indianapolis 500, where Bill Vukovich (whom Olvey cited as his favorite driver) was killed in a crash.
From there, Olvey discusses a decision to turn his passion for the sport into a career. During the film, several legendary drivers, including Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti, provide their recollections of racing’s perils during that era.
In addition to Olvey, the film also details the life of Dr. Terry Trammell, an orthopedic surgeon from Indianapolis who also becomes a major figure in auto racing medical advances.
Along the way, Rapid Response runs the proverbial gamut of emotions. From harrowing details on the deaths of drivers like Gordon Smiley in 1982 and Gonzalo Rodriguez in 1999 to a hilarious anecdote from Al Unser following his 1978 crash at Texas World Speedway, there is every high and low that racing can provide wrapped into the film.
Lastly, the film concludes with a review of major safety and medical developments from the early 21st century. Chief among these include the HANS device and the life-saving decisions following Alex Zanardi’s horrific crash at Euro Speedway Lausitz in 2001.
Premiering in theaters on September 6, this is a film that will be thoroughly enjoyed by those interested in racing and medicine alike. For those that do not consider themselves among either category, “Rapid Response” will be a great chance to pique your interest.
Author’s Note: Special Thanks to Open-Wheels, A Mile A Way Productions and everyone who made the May 24 premiere a possibility and allowed me to enjoy it all.
Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.