Continued from page 1

“Consistency tends to be a self-serving thing, because it depends which side you’re on,” Barfield said. “If you have contact and that’s the first one of the season and you give a drive-thru penalty, then it will be a drive-thru penalty the rest of the season unless it’s a habitual offender.”

That should satisfy the drivers who became increasingly upset with Barnhart’s “arbitrary” decisions last season. Among those who complained were two-time series runner-up Will Power and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who race for Roger Penske.

It’s not just the perception that Barfield wants to change.

Rather than using a radio to talk to teams during races, he plans to use the track’s intranet system for instant messaging. Barfield believes that will prevent a repeat of the botched restart on New Hampshire’s wet track, a decision that led to a crash that ended the race. Barnhart later acknowledged he made a mistake and restored the finishing order to what it was before the wreck.

“New Hampshire is the perfect example of a situation that would not have happened as a result of instant messages,” Barfield said. “All those messages would have popped right up on my screen, and I would have seen them light up.”

But drivers should not expect to get much relief with their biggest complaint _ blocking.

“The easy way to call it (calling nothing) isn’t the answer,” Barfield said. “When it gets to the dangerous side, calls will be made.”

It’s a philosophy drivers can live with.

“I would say we’re going to probably see more penalties, but it’s going to be more equal across the board,” Rahal said. “I think what we’ve seen is penalties, but why did somebody get one penalty and somebody else didn’t. I just know Beaux. He’s going to call it as he sees it, no matter who you are, and that’s a good attribute to have in that position.”