Brian Barnhart returns as IndyCar’s new race director

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Meet the new Verizon IndyCar Series race director, same as the old one.

Brian Barnhart will return to his post as race director for the 2015 season, thus returning to the role he held from 1997 through 2011.

As race director, Barnhart will lead the Verizon IndyCar Series’ three-steward Race Control system in 2015. Barnhart was a key member of the INDYCAR Race Control system implemented in 2014 that stipulates all in-race penalties are decided by a two-thirds vote amongst the respective stewards officiating each event.

The race director and race control system falls under the command of INDYCAR president of competition and operations, Derrick Walker.

“This is a position and a role that I’ve done for a number of years and I take a great deal of pride in being Race Director of the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Barnhart said in a release. “One of the things that excites me the most is the steward system we implemented last year. That was a great advancement in how we review and make discretionary decisions, and having that assistance in making calls is a big improvement to the way we officiate INDYCAR events.”

Added Walker, “We believe that based on his extensive experience in Race Control, combined with the three-steward system, Brian Barnhart is a good fit as INDYCAR Race Director. The process allows the Race Director to focus on running the race, without the double-duty of reviewing multiple replays and simultaneously trying to make a call. In terms of determining penalties our process defines that a majority vote amongst the three stewards is required, which ensures a jury-like process. Last year we found that this was a fair system when making difficult judgment calls.”

No additional stewards were named in the release.

Barnhart was fill-in race director at the Toronto doubleheader weekend in 2013 with Beaux Barfield unavailable. He had come under fire in his last full-time season in 2011, notably for a call to restart the New Hampshire oval race under wet conditions.

But the last three years, with Barnhart working in a different operational role, several sources have indicated his stock and value has risen the operational structure.

As Barfield is now IMSA race director, Barnhart will return to his previous role; the difference now is Walker is within INDYCAR’s operational staff, when previously Barnhart was at the top of the operational organization food chain.