PHIL CASEY had been a chief mechanic for 35 years and was a nine-time winner in United States Auto Club National Championship competition when he took on the role of technical director for the newly formed Indy Racing League in 1996. Heading up Fred Gerhardt’s team from 1965 through 1972, Casey had a major hand in the construction of numerous cigar–shaped and wedge-shaped versions of the much sought after Gerhardt chassis. Casey’s nine championship-level wins were earned for Gerhardt’s team with Gary Bettenhausen (two), Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing with Al Unser (two), and Interscope Racing with Danny Ongais (five). In 1983, Casey was the winning chief mechanic when John Paul, Jr. edged Rick Mears for the win on the final lap of the Michigan 500 in Brooklyn, Michigan. Other key assignments came with Roberto Guerrero in 1985 and 1986 and A.J. Foyt in 1990. When Janet Guthrie made history as the first female to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1977, Casey was her crew chief. He is credited with making major contributions during the formation of the Indy Racing League and the development of the SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier.