Thrive by IU Health

April 26, 2024

IndyCar fan says IU Health is the real winner

IndyCar fan says IU Health is the real winner

The machinery inside the historic Indy racecars on display at Rev, IU Health Foundation’s signature event, is fascinating, but even better is the machinery inside Michael Lashmett.

“I had never had heart trouble,” he says. “I had no idea this was going to happen. The EMTs got to me right away. They took me straight to Methodist, straight to the ER, up to the cath lab and put three stents in me. Everything went great. I had great care. Great follow-up care too.”

Lashmett, who lived in Georgia at the time, was in Indianapolis for his then hobby, Vintage Indy Registry. The registry started as a database to keep track of old Indy cars, but Lashmett soon got requests from track promoters to showcase the old cars as part of IndyCar races. Lashmett was living in Georgia, but his work with Vintage Indy required trips back-and-forth to Indianapolis. On one of those trips in August of 2022, Lashmett had a heart attack after eating dinner with his wife in Broad Ripple.

“I try not to get emotional about this. If it hadn’t been for the care I got at Methodist when I had the heart attack, I probably wouldn’t be here,” he said. “It’s just the fact of the matter.”

Lashmett’s history with Indy goes back to when he made a 265-mile drive from his hometown in Pittsfield, IL to Indianapolis as an 18-year-old with the dream of working as a mechanic on an IndyCar team.

“I had an uncle who raced,” he said. “That’s how I got into it.” After a couple weeks of knocking on every door he could, he got a job working under legendary chief mechanic, George Bignotti.

“He put me under Jimmy Dilamarter, who was his right-hand guy on Al Unser Sr.’s car, and I worked down there with all these famous crew members,” he says. “That’s how I got started. Going into the ’72 season, they added a third driver. That was Mario Andretti, my childhood hero.”

Michael Lashmett with Mario Andretti at a Vintage Indy event

Lashmett continued to work on IndyCar teams through most of the 1970s before leaving the sport to enter the Marines, attend college and launch a real estate career in Manhattan. In 2016, Lashmett reconnected with some old racing buddies around the 100th running of the Indy 500 and had the idea to launch an organization dedicated to the history and preservation of IndyCars.

In 2023, Lashmett and Vintage Indy began supplying cars to Rev, the official kickoff to May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

“We’ve been to a lot of events connected to motor sports, but Rev has to be one of the best, if not the best, we’ve ever attended,” he says.

Lashmett is proud his support helps provide trauma care to drivers and fans at IMS, as well as IU Health patients across Indiana.

“IU Health is a teaching hospital. It’s a world-class facility in my opinion,” he says. “I just didn’t want to get care anywhere else.”