Two longtime major figures in the IRL/IZOD IndyCar Series, Brian Barnhart and Terry Angstadt, are facing major changes in their line of work.
SPEED Channel’s Robin Miller, a longtime critic of Barnhart’s abilities as chief steward, is now reporting that Barnhart will be removed from Race Control (although he will be given the option to stay on as president of operations). Barnhart’s ouster from officiating events will be seen by a good number of people as a long time coming, with multiple incidents in the 2011 campaign doing major damage to his and Race Control’s reputation.
Now, perhaps the most thankless job in all of motorsports is up for grabs.
As for Angstadt, his tenure as IndyCar commercial division president is over according to Miller, who writes that he will be replaced by current director of business development Mark Koretzky. Angstadt’s biggest success in his time with INDYCAR has to be his role in landing IZOD as the series’ title sponsor in 2009, its first title sponsor since Northern Light in the early 2000s.
Barnhart’s removal from Race Control is not surprising after a tumultuous 2011 for Race Control. Front and center are problems at New Hampshire, where Barnhart made the call to restart the race in the middle of a rain shower and a major pileup resulted, and Baltimore, where the race was given the green flag as a safety truck was still barreling back into its position behind the fence while the field made its way through Turn 1.
Both of them were quite embarrassing for the series and one could argue that based on those incidents, INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard simply didn’t have a choice but to make the decision on Barnhart that he did.
Angstadt, however, surprises me a little bit. I admit that I’ve been a little out of the INDYCAR loop lately (my other job and moving to a new place can do that), but I figured he’d be OK, especially after the announcement of the China round in 2012. Obviously, I’ve figured wrong!
In any case, both moves are, collectively, a big impact on the series. And with a new race steward coming in, you can throw another unknown onto the pile of unknowns that will be answered over the offseason.
At least we won’t be bored this winter.