Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 21, 2011

Indy Car’s Brian Barnhart: Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:01 am

May as well flog this topic again. The subject is not necessarily about Brian Barnhart per se, but more about a ‘fan’ witch hunt that has metastasized into a torch carrying lynch mob comprised mostly of nitwits making asses of themselves all over the Internet as they demand action of people much smarter than they are.

Many of the barely literate cretins making such demands invariably trot out some nebulous ‘integrity’ card. In order to demand integrity from the series, most of these witch burners probably ought to address their own personal integrity issues first.

It is not that I disagree with the premise of replacing Brian Barnhart; the execution is where my issues lie. In the midst of wading through the juvenile photoshops, the grammar-challenged meandering, the crips/bloods nature of lingering ‘split’ nonsense and the childish use of acronyms, a few of these angst-riddled attention whores actually have valid points. Even fewer manage to express them with something approaching professional eloquence. I simply disagree with the overall execution of the ‘can Barnhart’ agenda.

What these torch toting ‘fans’ fail to realize as they trash forums, Randy Bernard’s Facebook page and the comment sections of any story written on the topic, not to mention tweeting themselves into a short attention span frenzy, is that they themselves are making the sport look foolish, and that is something that we definitely do not need at this juncture. 99% of the idiots offering commentary are no more qualified to do so than an average special needs child.

Does Barnhart need to go as head of Race Control? Probably. But not because loudmouthed fans with delusions of grandeur believe he is inconsistent or stupid or whatever. Part of the problem recently is that more ‘fans’ are watching Race Control decisions than the damned race itself simply to second guess. The Versus crew has been first rate since that deal was signed, but even their critical commentary in an Indianapolis studio in the middle of the night during the Japanese race was far less than professional.

Count me in officially as someone who would like to see a change made in Race Control. Not because I feel Barnhart is incompetent (though I respect the taunting of those who try to prove he is ad nauseum), but because of the roots he has in Indy Car. I do not believe any part of a good old boy network or anything even remotely resembling business-incestuous relationships should enter into any Race Control/rules enforcement role. That function should be completely independent and run on a contract basis by an entity completely independent of Indy Car. In other words, no one who now works for the series should be considered.  It must be completely autonomous. In other words, if Brian Barnhart gets swept out, so should Tony Cotman, Al, Jr., and any other holdover. Clean sweep. Ensure the rule book is also cut and dried with little room for interpretation. That wiggle room inspires much of the ‘fan’ stupidity plundering the Internet.

It is not difficult to imagine Randy Bernard appreciates input on things that lead to aspects like two-wide restarts but shakes his head in disgust when fans try to take over HR functions.  It seems really surprising fans are not all up in arms about the delay in the much ballyhooed and repeatedly promised aero kits. Now THAT smells like something the owners fired and Randy Bernard just swallowed without gagging.  Thus far, at least where fans are concerned, he seems able to separate substance from bullsh!t.



  1. I think it would do everyone a whole lot of good to have him re-assigned. It would quite down a lot of people, me included. The rule book needs to be overhauled, Cotmans rule on passing needs to be gone. The problem with Brian is that he is over tasked. I don’t know how many job titles he has, be he is more than just race control. When a person has 3 jobs, it has hard to be effective at either one. He could do any one of those jobs very well if that were his only job. Credibility needs to be restored as the series begins a fresh chapter in 2012.

    Comment by atb73 — September 21, 2011 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  2. Couldn’t agree more. I think they need to sweep out Race Control en masse in the off-season.

    Comment by Tony — September 21, 2011 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

  3. First off, you need to stop writing blogs like this. Reasoned, well-argued, sensible; the whole kitchen sink. If you keep this up, the nut jobs will stop giving you the opportunity to tweak them.

    I agree, Barnhart should be removed as the head of Race Control. Preferrably as soon after the season as possible. The decisions that have been made this year, the public gaffes in Race Control, have too frequently made the story ABOUT Race Control…and in a series struggling for recognition and mainstream acknowledgement and acceptance anything that can be described using the word ‘laughingstock’ probably isn’t a good thing. The problem if you can BB now, is that it will immediately bring the actions/inactions/cooincedences that inspired the cry for his ouster back to the forefront; lets face it, aside from the mob, most people have already forgotten about the truck going the wrong way in Baltimore, the phantom restart at Loudon, the no-blocking rule at Edmonton, and the others Fire BB, and you have to answer the question ‘Why did you fire him?’; and back come the embarrassing reasons. With two races left in the Championship, why would you want to divert attention away from the racing and towards administrative matters?

    I also agree with the selection of a replacement. Reality is all about perception. Whether or not he is, BB’s background makes him perceived as one of the old IRL guys, just as TC is perceived as an old CART guy. It’s why TG coming back to the IMS board causes widespread gnashing of teeth; its not that he has anything concrete to do with the operation of the series, the PERCEPTION that he does becomes the reality. Get a guy from another series that has never worked for IndyCar/CART, at least not in a high up position; and make it someone that fans/owners can respect. And after you hire him, make him unobtrusive. ‘Give me four good ones’? ‘The pole sitter has earned the right to lead the first lap’? Please. It shouldn’t be a case of seen, not heard or vice versa; he should be the invisible man. Wally Dallenbach was the chief steward/competition director of CART for 21 years; and I had no idea he was anything other than a guy whose name got mentioned as the pace car driver once in a while.

    Finally, whoever you get in, give them a rulebook that’s airtight, ESPECIALLY in terms of Race Control/Operations. The cause of the BB mess, IMHOP, is not only the decisions made by BB (which, admittedly, there were some bad ones), but the ‘discretion’ clause in the rule book that left rules open to selective interpretation and enforcement…and coming out and essentially saying the Orwellian-esque ‘When it comes to rules, all our drivers are equal, but some are more equal than others’ doesn’t help, either. If you need to make the rule book longer so that you have the ‘If You Do A, Then the Punishment is B’ scenarios covered, then go to Staples and buy some more paper.

    Finally, in a related topic, much has been made this season about Randy Bernard listening to the fans. I appreciate the fact that he does, and takes our ideas and opinions into account; the decision to forego the asinine NASCAR ‘Lucky Dog’ rule is but one example. I think he should continue to do so. I do, however, think he also needs to find a nice way to say ‘Thank you for your opinion. I appreciate. Now go fix yourself a pork tenderloin sammidge and a nice cold mug of shut the hell up.’ Not all fan ideas are good ones, just as not all ideas suggested by owners are bad. He needs to make more of his decisions seem less like knee jerk reactions to fan mob mentality and/or owner whining. Fans don’t run the series, owners don’t run the series, RANDY BERNARD needs to put his foot down and let everyone know HE runs the series. Take their input, sure, but make it known that it’s his show.

    Comment by Steve Kornya — September 21, 2011 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  4. The complete group needs to be replaced, no hold overs, a new broom sweeps cleaner than an old broom.

    Comment by rosco — September 22, 2011 @ 5:52 am | Reply

    • Too bad we can’t sweep out the car owners!

      Comment by Bob F. — September 22, 2011 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

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