Brian Barnhart, who has served as IndyCar’s Race Director or Chief Steward for the past 20 years, is leaving the series and moving to Harding Racing.
“I wasn’t out looking for a job,” Barnhart told the official IndyCar site. “It was an offer that came to me that was just simply too good to pass up in terms of what it offers me at this stage of my life and to get me to my retirement age – and to get back on the team side.
“It’s the next chapter. You go through life in runs. The run at IndyCar was a great opportunity, but the next chapter of my life will be back on the competition side. We’re all competitive people at heart and the allure of being back trying to compete and win races is just really exciting to me.”
IndyCar is expected to continue with its three-steward panel in Race Control, and a replacement to run the drivers meeting and the race weekends will be named at a later date.
Barnhart, a graduate of Southport High School, began as an IndyCar mechanic in the early ’80s and worked with Roger Penske, Rick Galles and A.J. Foyt before becoming superintendent at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When Tony George started the Indy Racing League in 1996, Barnhart was elevated to chief steward, and then president of competition. For the past two years he’s served as Race Director while Arie Luyendyk, Max Papis and Dan Davis officiated the races.
Harding Racing is embarking on its first full-time run in the 2018 IndyCar Series with Gabby Chaves.