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Continued: IndyCar's competition head wants technology upgrades to make better calls in race control

  • Article by: JENNA FRYER , AP Auto Racing Writer
  • Last update: July 14, 2013 - 6:15 PM

Although the paddock supports Barnhart, he's much maligned among fans who are critical of his officiating. Franchitti implored fans on Twitter on Saturday night to lay off Barnhart, arguing it was not an individual decision by Barnhart to issue the penalty.

Walker also said Barnhart was fine.

"I think he was a little apprehensive to start with, not knowing how he'd be received," Walker said. "He's giving it his best. Nobody has all the answers and he's got a lot more support now then he had back then. He was a lone wolf back then and he did his best then, but now he's got a lot more support. There's a different atmosphere about the place, it's about working together and team spirit."

Walker acknowledged that Barnhart and Barfield, who will return to race control at the next race, have different officiating styles and that Walker "is still trying to understand" Barfield's style after Barnhart held the job from 1997 until 2011.

"Beaux has a lot of experience, he has a different style in dealing with it," Walker said. "He does a lot of one-on-one in dealing with people, a lot of personal contact. So it's just different styles and doing things in different ways. I'm not saying which one is better because I am the new guy on the block."

But Walker said the series is not consistent enough for his liking.

"We need to be better, and better needs better tools and better procedures," Walker said. "It's not as simple as it looks. There's a lot of work that goes into it and this is a lean, mean machine. We don't have a ton of people doing these jobs. We have good employees. We just need more of them and a direction on where we are going."

Among the other things Walker said is IndyCar decided to use a standing start in Sunday's race because "we could hear the boos" from the crowd in race control when Saturday's standing start was aborted. The series was only scheduled to try standing starts on Saturday.

"The fans told us they wanted it, so let's do it again," Walker said.

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