INDYCAR announced that vice president of Competition Brian Barnhart has been named race director and will lead the Verizon IndyCar Series' three-steward Race Control system for the 2015 season that starts March 8 with the Brasilia Indy 300 in the capital city of Brazil.
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.
"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," said Derrick Walker, INDYCAR president of Competition and Operations. "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."
Barnhart was a Race Control steward throughout the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season and was previously INDYCAR race director from 1997-2011.
"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. "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."
As vice president of Competition, Barnhart oversees the Race Control staff, the sporting regulations of the rulebook, the Holmatro Safety Team and medical personnel, security and INDYCAR Timing and Scoring. He has been a part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR since 1994.
"The technological improvements we've made in Race Control have expanded the amount of information available to us," Barnhart said. "The additional cameras, the replay system and assistance from other stewards provide us with additional tools to do our job better. I'm excited about this opportunity and look forward to doing it again."
INDYCAR's Race Control system allows any of the three stewards to call for a review of on-track incidents. Upon review, the stewards will deliberate by using all available resources -- which includes video replays, timing and scoring data and rulebook references -- in rendering their decision. Following the review, each race steward votes for, or against, the issuance of a penalty and the majority vote then decides if a penalty is issued. Once that determination is made, the senior steward, as determined by Walker before each race, dictates the severity of each penalty.