Hunter-Reay to carry No. 1 with 'twist' in defense of title No. 28 is significant to reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay because of the estimated 28 million people globally afflicted with cancer. No. 1 is significant in Indy car racing, identifying the reigning series champion's car.
For the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season, Hunter-Reay will run a combination of both numbers on the Chevrolet-powered Andretti Autosport car with primary sponsorship from DHL. The No. 1 will be bisected by 28. The team unveiled the liveries for its three full-season IZOD IndyCar Series cars Dec. 5 at its Indianapolis facility.
"It is a huge honor to have earned the right to run the No. 1," said Hunter-Reay, who a day earlier was announced as one of the 16 finalists for the Mario Andretti Trophy as the SPEED Performer of the Year. "All of us at Andretti Autosport see this as a tremendous opportunity to leverage our sponsors, brands and message for 2013 and beyond. We certainly do not underestimate the task. I assure you we are already hard at work and will do everything possible to earn the right to carry the coveted No. 1 in future years as well."
Using No. 28 on the car for the 2012 season, Hunter-Reay - a global envoy for LIVESTRONG and co-founder/global ambassador of Racing For Cancer -- has strived to create awareness and raise funds for research. His mother died from the effects of colon cancer in November 2009.
"The decision to switch to the No. 1 for the 2013 season was very tough. The No. 28 has so much meaning to so many," said Hunter-Reay, who turns 32 on Dec. 17. "But we recognized that our team, partners and sponsors have all earned the right to carry the No. 1.
"Racing For Cancer's No. 1 goal is to beat cancer and we realized that running the No. 1 with the No. 28 incorporated into the design, a very important detail to me personally, would provide us with an opportunity to strengthen the message and cause of beating cancer while at the same time recognizing our partners and sponsors dedication to excellence on, and off, the track."
According to the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, car No. 1 is reserved for the defending entrant (not driver) series champion. Team owner Michael Andretti was the last to use No. 1 on an Indy car - in the 2006 Indianapolis 500 for defending race winner Andretti Green Racing (2005 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon had moved on to Target Chip Ganassi Racing).
In 2004, Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was the last IZOD IndyCar Series champion to run the No. 1 for a full season. He finished 10th in the standings through the 16 races. Sebastien Bourdais had the No. 1 on his car 2005, '06 and '07 to recognize his Champ Car World Series championships.
The RC Cola car driven by Marco Andretti also is changing numbers for the 2013 season - from 26 to 25. Andretti had run No. 26 since breaking into the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2006.
"The No. 26 will always be a part of me and my history in racing," said Andretti, "but I think it's grown unlucky for me. I like the meaning of 25 versus 26. To me, 26 is a character-builder through heartache and trials. Looking ahead to the No. 25 means success and leadership. It's like my chance to be reborn as a veteran driver."
Andretti has two IZOD IndyCar Series victories. The series opens the '13 season March 24 with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Andretti won the Firestone Indy Lights race in his series debut on the street circuit in 2005. James Hinchcliffe will retain No. 27 for his second season with the team.
Champions who ran No. 1 (with sanctioning body)
1982 - Rick Mears (CART)
1983 - Rick Mears (CART) except in Indianapolis 500 where he used No. 2. George Snider used No. 1 at Indy as USAC champ
1984 - Al Unser (CART) except at Indy where Tom Sneva used No. 1 as defending 500 winner (USAC champ)
1985 - Mario Andretti except at Indy where Rick Mears (USAC champ) used it and Road America where Alan Jones drove Andretti's car
1986 - Rick Mears (CART) except at Indy where Danny Sullivan used it as defending race champion
1987 - Bobby Rahal (CART)
1988 - Bobby Rahal (CART) except at Indy where Al Unser used it as defending race winner
1989 - Danny Sullivan (CART)
1990 - Emerson Fittipaldi (CART)
1991 - Al Unser Jr. (CART) except at Indy where Arie Luyendyk used it as defending race winner
1992 - Michael Andretti (CART)
1993 - Bobby Rahal (CART)
1994 - Nigel Mansell (CART)
1995 - Al Unser Jr. (CART)
1996 - Raul Boesel (CART) driving car Villeneuve won 1995 title for Team Green
1996-1997 - Scott Sharp (IRL) except at Indy where Paul Durant drove his car and Texas, Charlotte, Loudon and Las Vegas where Billy Boat drove his car.
1997 - Jimmy Vasser (CART)
1998 - Tony Stewart (IRL)
1998 - Alex Zanardi (CART)
2000 -- Greg Ray (IRL)
2000 - Juan Pablo Montoya (CART)
2001 - Gil de Ferran (CART)
2002 - Cristiano da Matta (CART) for three races after he clinched the 2002 title
2003 - Bruno Junqueira (CART) driving car da Matta won 2002 title with (Newman/Haas)
2004 - Scott Dixon (IRL)
2004 - Paul Tracy (CCWS)
2005 - Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)
2006 - Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)
2006 - Michael Andretti (IRL) driving entry in Indianapolis 500 for defending race winner Andretti Green Racing
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