Barfield hopes consitency brings trust in IndyCar

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INDIANAPOLIS - It was such a powerful moment in the season that despite it's negativity, it became an IndyCar hit.

During the State of IndyCar meeting this past winter in Indianapolis, it even crept onto the 2011 highlight film.

Will Power's double middle finger gesture towards race control during the Izod IndyCar Series race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway was his expression of frustration at a decision made by race director Brian Barnhardt.

"Such bad calls all the time, this has got to be it," said the Penske driver to ABC about Barnhardt after was wrecked on a restart in light rain.

It was that decision along with a few others during the season that drew the ire of a few drivers and eventually led to a change in race direction. Barnhardt was out and Beaux Barfield was in to lead the way from race control for the 2012 season. 

A former open wheel driver, Barfield was the race steward for the Champ Car World Series from 2004-2007 and followed that with a stint in the same position with ALMS.

From the time he accepted the job in January till his visit Friday to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for oval training for IndyCar's feeder seriees-he's tried to keep a complicated job in simple terms.

One word to be exact. 

"Consistency," said Barfield, saying specifically that it was the single thing that would be a symbol of success with the series. 

Through four races it appears that he's followed through with his promise by simply staying out of the news. A quartet of active races have come and gone without Barfield being apart of any major controversies or facing major criticism.

"Ultimately I have to stand my ground," said Barfield of the job. "Trying to keep everyone in at least a clear understanding of what I'm here to achieve. Good racing, fair racing, and what we're all here to see."

Doing so at the Indianapolis 500 will be much different than the first four races where Barfield and his staff paid attention with the help of television monitors. With a major pagoda over a two-and-a-half mile, Barfield and his staff will have to manage the massive race with a different strategy.

"It's a matter of getting comfortable in race control and like I said earlier getting a feel and flow of the entire place and the entire program," said Barfield of the Indianapolis 500. "I've gotten to know the drivers well enough and most of the team managers and team owners well enough.

"It's just a matter of seeing what it really looks like from our office within race control. This race control has some different challenges from what we've seen this year in being less TV based and more looking out the window based."

Barfield says that nearly two weeks of practice time will help he and his staff prepare for race day, though at least one driver believes he is good to go now.

"Beaux Barfield is doing a much better job in my opinion than Brian Barnhart did in the last few years," Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves told of Barfield. "Brian started well, but all of a sudden things started changing, the rules started changing, there were too many rules, the drivers didn't know what they could or couldn't do."

"It was one of the motives we started to complain," he said. "We wanted him to make things simple so the races could flow. That's what's happening with Beaux Barfield. He is letting the races flow."

While a few early reviews are good, Barfield knows the journey is just beginning.

"Earning respect of the drivers is never a completed task," said Barfield. "It's something that someone in my position always has to work towards."


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