Bill Van de Sandt, who serves as INDYCAR's director of operations and a member of the INDYCAR Race Control team, will serve as the race director for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
"I don't see it will be any different than officiating an IZOD IndyCar Series race or a Firestone Indy Lights race," said Van de Sandt, who has helped officiate IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights events from race control for the past two seasons. "We'll use the same procedures across all three series and hopefully, there is a consistency in the way we officiate the races across the board.
"After two years with Brian (Barnhart) and Tony (Cotman) in race control, I understand what to look for when you are directing a race. Brian and Tony keep it very consistent between them and what they've taught me is the proper procedures to use, whether it's working with the Safety Team or Timing & Scoring or pit techs or situations on the race track. They've taught me the right way to officiate and when to implement hard rules or when to be lenient."
Van de Sandt first learned of the position when INDYCAR officials as he helped Cotman and Tony George Jr. identify the right person to serve as Star Mazda's new race director. It turns out that he was the right person for the job.
"Tony Cotman and Tony Jr. asked me if I'd like to do it and I said absolutely," Van de Sandt said. "But I only wanted to do it if I could give it the attention that it deserved while not taking away what I need to do for INDYCAR. We came up with a solution, delegated some the duties and figured we could do it and move forward."
Van de Sandt has already implemented several procedures that mimic those used by INDYCAR officials with the idea that drivers will learn the right way to act when they move up. At Star Mazda's Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park, series officials used the alternate start/finish line that is often used on road and street courses by the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights
"It's my goal that a Star Mazda driver will know what to expect when they move up to Firestone Indy Lights or the IZOD IndyCar Series," Van de Sandt said. "The rules will be the same. The procedures are the same. The drivers will be used to it and it should be consistent all through their career in INDYCAR and the Mazda Road to Indy."