Brian Barnhart

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Barnhart at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2010.
Barnhart at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2009.
Barnhart at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2008.

Brian Barnhart is the President of Harding Racing[1][2] and former President of Race Operations and Race Director of IndyCar (formerly the Indy Racing League). Having previously served as director of race operations for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IRL, he is charged with primarily the safety and competition of the racing. Brian's most well-known on-camera role has been giving final instructions to every Indianapolis 500 qualifying attemptee before their run, notably the line "gimmie four good ones". He was also the president of the league from 2005 to early 2007.

On March 11, 2007, Robin Miller reported that the IRL was seeking a new leader for the marketing side of the IRL and that once found, Barnhart would return to his operations role.[3] Terry Angstadt has since filled the role of President of Marketing Operations of the league and Randy Bernard has been hired as CEO, leaving Barnhart to focus on operations.

Barnhart previously served as a pit crew member or chief mechanic on prominent IndyCar teams. In 1990, he suffered minor injuries during a pit fire in Al Unser, Jr's pit during the Budweiser Grand Prix of Cleveland.[4]

In 1992, Barnhart was the left-rear tire changer on the pit crew of Unser, Jr.'s winning car.[5] In 1993, he served as chief mechanic for Al Unser, Sr.'s King Racing, Kenny Bernstein-owned entry.[6]

During the 2011 season, Barnhart was criticized by fans, drivers, and owners, and especially prominent open-wheel journalist Robin Miller for inconsistencies in his role as chief race steward. He has since been removed from the position.[7]

In 2015, he was appointed by IndyCar as Race Director. Though the move was initially criticized by fans, he earned some respect back during his tenure in the role, including from long time detractor Robin Miller who, upon his departure after 2017 said "I have to admit he was damn good as Race Director."[8] Among Barnharts roles in this position was to give final instructions at each driver's meeting before every race, including the public driver's meeting prior to the 2017 Indianapolis 500. He also was given a three-man Stewarding panel that assisted in assessing penalties, instead of being a lone Chief Steward, as he was through the 2011 season. The panel included former drivers Arie Luyendyk and Max Papis, and was credited as helping Barnhart by giving him a driver's perspecrive of the race (Barnhart was never a race driver himself).

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