Another candidate would have been Al Unser Jr., who served as the driver representative in race control this year, but he was suspended from his role in October after being arrested for drink-driving offences.
Other possible candidates suggested for the post include former CART driver Scott Pruett, American Le Mans Series chief steward Beaux Barfield, and former CART team owner Steve Horne. However, no one is exactly rushing forward to claim the hot potato post just yet.
Also announced on Wednesday was the departure of Terry Angstadt, who has resigned as Commercial Division President. Angstadt had been in the post since 2007 and was instrumental in developing the key commercial partnership with series title sponsor IZOD. Along with Barnhart, Angstadt was the last IndyCar executive dating back to Tony George's time in charge of the series.
"Terry has been an integral member of the IndyCar executive team [and] instrumental in orchestrating successful inaugural events Baltimore and Brazil," current CEO Randy Bernard said. "We wish Terry the best of luck as he moves on to the next chapter in his career. He will be missed by the entire IndyCar team."
Angstadt will be succeeded by Marc Koretzky, who joined IndyCar from NFL in May as Director of Corporate Business Development, and who co-ordinated the unprecedented program of publicity events leading up to the IZOD World Championship series finale in Las Vegas in October. Koretzky will oversee sales, business planning and development, marketing, public relations and organizational operation.
"I'm confident that Brian and Marc will lead our company into a bigger and brighter future in these new roles," added Randy Bernard.