Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi says using the No. 1 on the Chevrolet-powered car of reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon for the 2014 season is under consideration.
“I’m going to talk about that with our people and our sponsors and see what they all think. Personally, I might like to,” Ganassi said. “It has such a great history.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who wrapped up his first series title at Auto Club Speedway in September 2012, carried the No. 1 on the yellow-and-white DHL car throughout the 19-race 2013 season.
“We earned that number as a team and we felt we should run it,” team owner Michael Andretti said. “It’s such a hard thing to get. I’m surprised more teams don’t do that.”
According to the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, car No. 1 is reserved for the defending entrant (not driver) champion. Andretti also used the No. 1 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, Dixon ran the No. 1 for a full season. He finished 10th in the standings through the 16 races (two top-five finishes; best of second at Phoenix in second race of season). The team did not switch from No. 10 to No. 1 following Dario Franchitti's championship seasons in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Dixon, who had No. 9 in his first IndyCar Series season in 2003 and from 2005-present, prefers the status quo for 2014.
“That was a dreadful year when I ran the No. 1 and Chip likes to do it on different occasions, but our recent history with Dario they didn’t do it,” Dixon said. “Our recent history with the No. 9 is solid and I would prefer to stick with it. But if the decision is to use the No. 1, I’ll be OK with it.”
Before Hunter-Reay this season, Sebastien Bourdais was the most recent champion with the No. 1 on his car following his 2004, ’05 and ’07 CART/Champ Car World Series championships. Hunter-Reay’s car will return to the No. 28 for 2014.
Champions who have run 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
2007 – Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)
2013 – Ryan Hunter-Reay (INDYCAR)