IndyCar has returned Brian Barnhart to his former role as head of race control.

Barnhart had the same role from 1997 through 2011, but was removed after a controversial final season.

He's been vice president of competition in the three years since and part of the race control system implemented last season that requires a two-thirds vote among three stewards for in-race penalties.

Barnhart was initially taken out of race control after a 2011 season that saw him publicly criticized for decisions that drivers found to be arbitrary.

That season ended with a 15-car accident that killed Dan Wheldon in the season finale at Las Vegas. Afterward, many drivers blamed IndyCar for putting them in a dangerous racing situation.