The Verizon IndyCar Series has hired Kyle Novak as its new race director. Multiple sources have confirmed his acquisition to RACER, which comes after former race director Brian Barnhart recently left to become president of the Harding Racing IndyCar team.
Novak arrives at IndyCar from IMSA, where he’s served as race director for its IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA, and Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series.
Under the tutelage of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race director Beaux Barfield, Novak (pictured below) has been groomed within IMSA’s leading support series. As race director for the Continental Tire Series – IMSA’s equivalent of Indy Lights – Novak has distinguished himself as someone who could step in and oversee its top series in a few years, if needed.
The call to hire Novak by IndyCar competition president Jay Frye comes after numerous candidates were considered for the job vacated by Barnhart. It’s believed Barfield, who held the IndyCar race director role from 2012-14, received considerable support from the paddock, with numerous team owners and drivers lobbying Frye to reacquire his services.
Despite the groundswell of open-wheel interest, Barfield, in a recent social media post, confirmed he would be staying with IMSA in 2018. IMSA, in a Dec. 20 press release, also confirmed Barfield’s return, along with Novak and other members of its race officiating team.
Novak will have big shoes to fill at IndyCar. Barnhart’s experience and tenure in the role was considered an asset in the department’s latest guise. With a three-person race steward panel of Arie Luyendyk, Max Papis, and Dan Davis in place to assist in adjudicating each race, along with a network of additional support staff, Barnhart was surrounded by a proven team to help facilitate the race director position.
Barring any changes to that structure, Novak would be expected to step in and work within existing structure Frye and Barnhart constructed.
Frye was unavailable for comment on this story.