Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Rapid Response: My Inside Story as a Motor Racing Life Saver Hardcover – 1 Aug 2006

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
£852.40 £24.95

Trade In Promotion

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: J H Haynes & Co Ltd (1 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844253392
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844253395
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 924,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


Saturday Star "(CAN), Dec. 9, 2006"The coming year's best-seller in motorsports books is bound to be Rapid Response."" "

About the Author

Dr Stephen Olvey is Medical Director of the new Grand Prix Masters series. Prior to this he was Medical Director for Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) in the USA, having served in that position from 1978 to 2003. In this capacity he helped save Alex Zanardi's life - hence Alex's foreword to the book.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A. Ball on 26 Sept. 2006
Format: Hardcover
It is not unfair to describe this book as an American version of Professor Sid Watkins 1995 book 'Life at the Limit'. Both are entertaining tales by the Chief Doctor of a major open-wheeled racing series. Both tell stories of triumph, tragedy and comedy, and both detail the improvements made to motorsport safety since the 1960s. However, I fear that this book will not receive much attention outside of racing fans because it's not about Formula One. And if it's not about Formula One, nobody wants to know. If this happens it will be unfortunate, especially as anyone wearing F1-only blinkers will be missing out on stories of Emerson Fittipaldi, Nigel Mansell, Mario Andretti and Alessandro Zanardi. All of whom raced in CART as well as F1. Of course there's also stories of Greg Moore, Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt, but if you're one of the 0.00001% of people in Britain who know those names, you've probably already got this book.

The book covers forty years of racing and a whole range of experiences. Dr Olvey's career wasn't just confined to working in racing so he can tell stories of both superstar drivers and regular doctors and nurses. The book opens with the story that demonstrates just how much can be done even in the most desperate circumstances; that of Alex Zanardi's crash in Germany in 2001. Both of Zanardi's legs were severed above the knee in a high speed collision, yet he survived thanks to the skill and speed of the medical team. Compare this with the norm in the 1960s and '70s. The author recalls a time when safety precautions were so haphazard that an Indy 500 winner could roll out of the back of an ambulance strapped to a gurney!
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 28 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic book for open wheel race fanatics.. 9 Jan. 2007
By A. Armitage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr Steve Olvey has done a wonderful job at putting us behind the sceens in a place only a few ever know about. This is not a book for the faint of heart, it tells it like it is. The men and women who are first response and emergency meds are to be commended for the amazing work they do. Many owe their lives to the Rapid Response they have received, and the fans owe a debt of gratitude for keeping our heroes of the race racing another day.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
shared history 8 Mar. 2007
By Lori Lovely - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Stephen Olvey served as Championship Auto Racing Teams' medical director from 1979 to 2003. This very moving memoir of his years leading the charge for motor sports safety in the series at the pinnacle of open wheel racing in America recaptures an exciting era in the development of technology, both in motor racing and in sports medicine. With professionalism, sincerity, empathy and humor, Olvey recounts the challenges, rewards and devastating losses of forwarding safety in the sport.

On a personal note, I have had the distinct honor of knowing Olvey during most of his tenure with CART, and have heard many of these stories directly from him and Dr. Trammel. Many of the people he writes about are friends of mine and I was present during most of the racing accidents he describes (and several he doesn't mention). For me, it is a bittersweet reminder of the history of my own life in motor sports.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Skippy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was written by one of the 2 doctors who have rescued drivers in the Indy Car racing series for many years.

As someone who has followed Indy racing for many, many years, I was fascinated to read how medical procedures were developed to take care of the injuries specific to Indy Car drivers. It was fascinating also to see how many of these procedures then were used in day-to-day medical rescue care.

Not for everybody, but I found it fascinating and drivers should be thanksful for the author's work!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Must-read for any race fan 25 Nov. 2013
By J. Lofing - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Stephen Olvey tells about the often-forgotten side of auto racing - the fatal side. The book is a collection of stories dealing with drivers killed or seriously injured while driving open wheel race cars. Also mixed in are stories about Olvey's personal life, both away from and at the track.

The stories go through the years with the first ones taking place when Dr. Olvey was new to the sport and they progress on throughout, ending up close to the present day. His recollection of the Alex Zanardi incident in all its gruesome detail is masterful, yet terrifying to read.

The book also touches on safety advancements made during Olvey's time in the sport, but here is where the book has a weakness. Olvey makes it clear he does not like NASCAR and judges the organization quite unfairly throughout the book when it comes to safety. He focuses on the negative aspects and omits many positive ones NASCAR has taken during the last decade.

That being said, it is still a great read and I would recommend it to any race fan, regardless if they watch American open wheel racing or not.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Informative book about safety in American Open Wheel Racing 4 Nov. 2013
By Eddie Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have been a racing fan my entire life, and have seen several references to Dr. Olvey's book on various racing message boards and even on YouTube videos in recent years. This book is a must read for fans of American open wheel racing at any point from the early 1970s to the mid-2000s.

Alex Zanardi wrote a foreword for the book, and Dr. Olvey's graphic explanation of Zanardi's life-altering crash in Germany as well as Gordon Smiley's fatal crash at Indy make the book, IMO. The book is divided into 38 chapters, with nearly every chapter between 4-10 pages in length and dealing with either a specific accident or one aspect of how technology has made racing safer over the past 40 years.

Most of the fatal accidents in CART/American open wheel racing (Smiley, Swede Savage, Jim Hickman, Jeff Krosnoff, Greg Moore, Gonzalo Rodriguez) over the past 40 years are dealt with in a non-sensational manner. Who knew that Savage actually died from a bad blood transfusion? But the book also contains lots of stories with happier endings. For example, I knew Rick Mears' feet-crushing crash at Sanair (Que.) in 1984 was bad, but I never knew that French-Canadian doctors initially wanted to amputate both of Mears' feet. Mears subsequently came back and won Indy twice more after doctors wanted to remove his feet.

Maybe this is a bit self-serving by Dr. Olvey, but NASCAR clearly comes across as a donkey series safety-wise right up until Dale Earnhardt died in 2001. When Jim Hickman died due to a stuck throttle sending him straight into the concrete wall at the Milwaukee Mile in 1982, CART reponded immediately by mandating an engine "kill switch" easily accessible to drivers on the steering wheel. NASCAR took nearly 20 years and Adam Petty dying due to a stuck throttle to institute the same rule.

Again, perhaps this is a bit self-serving but Dr. Olvey relayed that in the 1970s and '80s, safety in NASCAR was so sketchy and the medical teams staffing those races were such a mixed bag that A.J. Foyt would often pay out of his own pocket to have Dr. Olvey accompany him to races when he ran with NASCAR.

The book also served as a reminder of just how big major open-wheel racing in America was before the IRL/CART split caused an entire generation of fans to stop caring.

The book is a must-read for any fan of American open wheel racing. Even beyond the safety aspect of the book, Dr. Olvey tells so many great anecdotes, particularly involving Foyt and his pathological fear of the color green among other stories.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know