The Verizon IndyCar Series is close to choosing a replacement for former race director Brian Barnhart.
After three decades with the Indianapolis-based organization, Barnhart announced his departure to take on a new role as president of the Harding Racing IndyCar team at the end of November. The process of identifying candidates for the position is ongoing, and could be completed early in 2018.
“The main thing is to have that person in place before we open the season at St. Petersburg [in March],” IndyCar competition president Jay Frye told RACER. “If we had to, we have layers and depth internally that can handle the Phoenix open test in February, but I don’t think that’s going to be necessary. Right now, we have a handful of candidates that we’re talking with, and it’s looking like we should have someone identified for the job by the beginning of January.”
Among the many options available to Frye, promoting one of IndyCar’s race steward trio – comprised of Dan Davis, Arie Luyendyk and Max Papis – is possible, and looking outside the series to someone like Beaux Barfield is also believed to be of interest to the series.
Provided the next race director is hired rather than promoted, the timing of Barnhart’s exit will require the person to work within a rulebook that has been crafted without his or her input.
“The rules are basically done, so that part’s good, and on the competition side, we’ve engaged our drivers on all the changes we’re looking to make,” Frye added. “Those should be out soon and I’m confident the race director will be comfortable with what’s in the book.”