Verizon INDYCAR Series
GALLERY: To Carry The No. 1 or Not
When a driver wins the championship in the Verizon IndyCar Series, they can elect to run the No. 1 the following year.
Over the past 10 years, the honor has been accepted by four different drivers, while others have chose to stick with their same number. Dating back to 1982, though, the distinction has been followed by 25 competitors. Team Penske has already confirmed that Josef Newgarden will become the 26th to do so when the No. 1 is on his Chevrolet in 2018.
The decision to run the number can be an honor, but can also be decided against due to wanting to stick with your own favorite or for marketing continuity. There’s also some who believe the No. 1 could be bad luck.
Is there any truth to the theory? Let’s see the results for your last 10 competitors to carry the number.
In his fifth full season of competition, Simon Pagenaud took home his first career Verizon IndyCar Series championship with five wins, eight podiums, and eight poles in 2016. He carried the No. 1 this past year, scoring two wins, six podium, and a single pole en route to placing second in the standings.
After three straight runner-ups and fourth, Will Power finally broke through for his first championship with three wins, seven podiums, and four poles in 2014. Like previous Team Penske drivers, he elected to carry the No. 1 a year later, scoring one win, three podiums, and six poles en route to placing third in the standings.
Ryan Hunter-Reay took home his first series crown with four wins, six podiums, and a pole in 2012. He then became the first driver in six years to carry the No. 1 a year later, scoring two wins, six podiums, and three poles en route to placing seventh in the standings.
Although he has not won a championship under the IndyCar banner, Sebastien Bourdais won the CART Championship on four occasions – 2004 through 2007. Following each of the first three titles, he chose to adore the No. 1 the following season.
Ultimately, the opportunity did not come about for him to continue the trend in 2008 due to pursuing a brief stint in Formula 1 before returning to American open-wheel competition.
A unique approach was taken to the second and most recent time Michael Andretti carried the No. 1 in open-wheel competition.
As a car owner, Andretti Green Racing won the 2005 IndyCar Championship with Dan Wheldon scoring six wins and nine podiums. The following year, Wheldon made the decision to go to Chip Ganassi Racing, running the organization’s No. 10. Andretti, meanwhile, made one single start in 2006 -the Indianapolis 500 – carrying the No. 1 en route to a third-place finish.
Andretti previously carried the acclaimed number in 1992, after winning the CART Championship the year before. He scored five wins, eight podiums, and six poles en route to a runner-up in the standings, compared to eight wins, 11 podiums, and eight poles in his title season.
Before becoming a broadcaster, Paul Tracy was known as a racecar driver, and could get the job done. He won the 2003 CART Championship, scoring seven wins, 10 podiums, and six poles. He carried the No. 1 a year later, picking up two wins, four podiums, and three poles en route to placing fourth in the standings.
Following his three most recent championships, Scott Dixon has forgone carrying the No. 1 – but that wasn’t the case following his first crown.
Dixon took home his career title in 2013 Indy Racing League competition, scoring three wins, eight podiums, and five poles. He ran the acclaimed number a year later, picking up just one podium en route to placing 10th in the standings. In 2005, he dropped to 13th in the points, but since then, he has finished sixth or better come year-end.
In 2002, Cristiano de Matta won the CART Championship with seven wins, 11 podiums, and seven poles. Rather than return to the series a year later, he went Formula 1 racing for the next two years before coming back in 2005.
For 2003, Newman Haas Racing hired Bruno Junqueira to take over de Matta’s ride after Junqueira finished second in the standings with Chip Ganassi Racing. The Brazilian carried the No. 1 for the season, scoring two wins, nine podiums, and two poles en route to another year-end runner-up.
Cristiano de Matta
Before moving on to Formula 1 in 2003, Cristiano de Matta did have an opportunity to carry the No. 1 in CART competition.
The Brazilian clinched the championship with three races remaining following a victory at Baypoint. Therefore, the decision was made for him to carry the acclaimed number for the final three events. He would place eighth, 11th, and second in those three races for seven wins, 11 podiums, and seven poles on the season.
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