The State of IndyCar occurred in Indianapolis on Monday, and while IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard provided an evening address, this notebook examines events and points revealed earlier in the day in breakout meetings.
NBC SPORTS UPDATE – NBC Sports Network plans to increase its coverage of the series and has made one change to its on-air talent for 2012. New for 2012, the broadcast network announced IndyCar36, which will follow one driver and team for 36 hours in the lead-up to a race, and then show it right before the next race.
Meanwhile, Townsend Bell (LEFT), considered by many as one of the best Indianapolis 500-only specialists in the paddock, will replace Lindy Thackston as one of the network's pit reporters for NBCSN's 10 races. Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are both expected to return.
“That's the TV business, folks … been an honor to have spent 3 years in @IndyCar pits,” Thackston tweeted after the announcement.
STEWARDS ANNOUNCED – New IndyCar president of competition and race director Beaux Barfield has announced his stewards for 2012. Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk, former IndyCar competitor Johnny Unser and longtime CART/Champ Car senior manager of competition Gary Barnard will join Barfield in race control alongside other personnel on the operations side.
“It takes a group of eight or nine people to do specific jobs, whether that's communicating with corner workers or dispatching the safety team,” Barfield said. “All are necessary to provide a good officiating system. The stewards will really take a step back from being so involved in what the Race Director does.
“There have been several schools of thought over the years whether there should be one person making the decisions or three. Should there be a vote? It's my job in a drivers' meeting to communicate exactly what my expectations of the drivers are, so it should be one person. That leaves the stewards to be more in a role of a safety net.”
While Luyendyk hasn't actively served in a race control capacity in years past, he has worked as a driver coach and mentor in the series, and will continue in the mentoring role this season. Unser has been the race director for the Formula Atlantic championship, while Barnard has more than 15 years experience in race control operations.
SIX ABC RACES – There will be one more broadcast network race in 2012 than in 2011, as ABC/ESPN revealed its coverage plans of the upcoming IndyCar season. The season-opening St. Petersburg round is the first of six ABC races, with a stretch of four of six races from the Indianapolis 500 also on the network. Indy kicks that series off May 27 with the races at Detroit the following Sunday, Milwaukee on June 16 and Toronto July 8 also on ABC. Mid-Ohio on Aug. 5 concludes the ABC portion of the schedule. The remaining 10 races will be broadcast on the re-branded NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus, now in its fourth season of coverage.
REVISED VERIZON APP – Verizon will relaunch the IndyCar Mobile app for 2012 to include iPhone and iPad users, in addition to the Android platform that it premiered on in 2011, the company announced on Monday. The app is still only available to users on Verizon's network.