Much of the racing world is sitting back and watching IndyCar's new President of Competition and Race Director Beaux Barfield get ready for the 2012 season. He's done a little rewriting of the rule book and is trying to clarify exactly what his position will be. At least, he hasn't quite explained it yet, but he's made it clear that to the drivers (in the drivers meeting) he will make very clear what he consider's blocking. (See a good article on the details here.)
I say, get out the popcorn, because this is going to be interesting.
There were loud complaints from IndyCar drivers, teams, and fans last year about how the rules were enforced (inconsistently, at times), and Beaux has been brought in to make some changes. I firmly believe he's going to pull it off.
See, I've met Beaux and chatted with him a few times. I've seen him in action around the ALMS (where he was race director for the past four years), not only in the paddock, but also in race control. I can't say we're BFFs or anything, but he always has a smile and a friendly word for me (I will forever owe him one for being kind to me when he ran the session of racing school I attended back in 2006). The thing is, Beaux pretty much has a smile and a friendly word for everyone. He's that kind of guy: visible and friendly.
At the same time, he's direct and clear about his opinions. He's also clear that his role is to make the decisions, right or wrong, and to take the blame for bad ones. He does that. I can't speak for the drivers he's had control over, but from my perspective (and I think I've been the lurker-in-chief for the ALMS the last year or two!), he's been as fair as he can be and totally transparent about his decisions. He told me once that it's important to him to be present in the paddock, to talk with drivers and teams, so that no one is unclear on how he communicates, thinks, and interprets regulations.
So, yeah, I'm a Beaux fan. And I'm going to enjoy watching him take this step to a much larger and more visible stage and see what he can do. What about you all? Do you think he'll pull it off? Do you have your popcorn ready for the show?