INDIANAPOLIS – INDYCAR announced it has strengthened its race control program by naming three race stewards with extensive motorsports experience to monitor on-track competition at all 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series events. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, former Indy car driver Max Papis and longtime motorsports executive Dan Davis will make up the three-steward panel at each race.
The stewards will report to Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations, who said finalizing these positions has been a top priority since accepting his position in November 2015.
“As soon as we began the process of identifying our race stewards, we targeted Dan, Arie and Max and we’re thrilled they agreed to join this extremely important initiative,” Frye said. “INDYCAR’s stewards have a great deal of experience across many different areas of motorsports and we are confident their varying perspectives will mesh well for consistent execution and enforcement of our rules.”
Davis is the chief steward and will serve as the team leader, which includes overseeing the administration and organization of the group. Davis has 40 years of experience in the auto industry with General Motors and Ford Motor Co. He spent 14 years at Ford as director of Ford Racing Technology, in charge of the global company’s North American racing operations that included participation in Indy car racing, NASCAR, Formula One, NHRA, USAC and World Rallycross. After retiring from Ford in 2008, Davis spent a year as president and CEO of Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
Luyendyk was an Indy car star for nearly two decades, earning CART and Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year honors in 1985. He won seven races, including the 1990 and 1997 Indianapolis 500s. The “Flying Dutchman” still holds the Indianapolis Motor Speedway one- and four-lap track speed records set in 1996 and was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2014. In recent years, Luyendyk has served as an INDYCAR pace car driver.
Papis has followed a career path from Formula One to Indy cars to sports cars to NASCAR. He drove for a decade in CART and the Verizon IndyCar Series, scoring three career wins. He holds the Indy car record for winning a road- or street-course race from the furthest starting spot – winning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2001 after starting in 25th position – and is a two-time Indianapolis 500 starter. He excelled in sports car racing, winning the Grand Am Rolex Series championship (2004), and collected wins in the Rolex 24 At Daytona (2000, 2002) and 12 Hours of Sebring (2004, 2007) and raced seven times in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Our desire was to assemble a team with varied backgrounds that would work together to move INDYCAR forward in the area of monitoring on-track competition,” Frye said. “Being a race steward requires thorough knowledge and consistent interpretation of the rules, as well as the ability to enact them with resolve. This is the right group to do that.”
The three stewards will oversee on-track action from race control via video and audio monitors, electronic data and communication with teams and race officials. Any one of the stewards may call for review of an on-track incident, at which time they will review collectively to determine if an infraction occurred and whether to impose a penalty – which will be determined by a majority vote.
Brian Barnhart, INDYCAR vice president of competition, race director, will remain in his role as race director and oversee the management of the race, including decisions on track conditions (full-course or local caution, red flag, etc.), safety dispatch and communication of all decisions made by the stewards to the competitors.
Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indy Sports Report. Follow @Ericsportsguru and @IndySportsRep on Twitter