My brain is odd and sometimes I can’t explain it. But, since Josef Newgarden won the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship, what does this mean for the rest of Team Penske and their car numbers? Yes, I get that this isn’t a huge newsworthy content, but it is officially the offseason and my brain wanders.
Newgarden, will likely don the No. 1 Chevrolet in 2018. After all, that number is reserved for the defending champion in the series if they’d like to use it. The last two Penske champions (Will Power, Simon Pagenaud) decided to bring that number back and run it I’d look for Newgarden to do the same.
So, what does that do to Pagenaud since he won’t be No. 1 next year? Does he go back to No. 22? Does he go to No. 2? Penske uses the No. 22 on the NASCAR side and has reserved that number to Pagenaud as the fourth car starting in 2015, and Juan Pablo Montoya as the fifth car in 2017. Do they keep the No. 22 for an added entry for 2018 or does Pagenaud return to it?
The reason I ask this is, if Helio Castroneves isn’t back with Penske for 2018 and the team scales back one car, what do they do with the No. 3? That number has been with Penske every year since 1996. Rick Mears ran it in 1991 and Paul Tracy ran it in 1994. So, for 24 of the last 29 seasons the No. 3 was used. Is it used in 2018 if Castroneves isn’t full-time?
What about the No. 2? Every year since 2012, Penske has ran that number. But, they actually have a long history with that number too. Penske ran the No. 2 from 1994-2000 as well.
Potentially, the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 22 could be open for Pagenaud to choose from.
Then, there’s Will Power’s number. Does he change for No. 2 or No. 3? Yes, he’s been No. 12 all his career with Penske (since 2009) and yes Penske added a No. 12 to his NASCAR side, but does he keep it for INDYCAR? Power, actually ran the No. 3 at Long Beach several years ago when he filled in for Castroneves.
Penske’s NASCAR numbers are No. 2, No. 12 and No. 22. INDYCAR is No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 12 and No. 22. We already know that Pagenaud may opt for the No. 1, but what other two numbers do Pagenaud and Power use?