INDIANAPOLIS – Team Penske will keep the tradition alive with the defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion driving the No. 1 entry the next season. See, the series reserves the “No. 1” car number each season for the defending series champion from the year before. Simon Pagenaud drove the No. 22 Chevrolet in his championship winning season with Penske in 2016. So, in 2017, the Frenchman donned the No. 1 Chevrolet as a result.
On Wednesday, 11/1 (Nov. 1) to be exact, Penske unveiled a funny video as Pagenaud passed the “No. 1” torch over to his teammate Josef Newgarden.
Newgarden, won the 2017 series championship and will keep the tradition alive by moving from the No. 2 Chevrolet to the No. 1 Chevrolet in 2018.
It’s the third time in the last four years that a team has donned the honor of racing the No. 1. Will Power won the 2014 championship and drove the No. 1 Chevrolet in 2015 too.
The only other time in the last decade that this has happened was when Ryan Hunter-Reay won the title in his No. 28 Honda in 2012 and he switched to the No. 1 Honda for 2013.
None of the Chip Ganassi Racing championships saw their drivers switch. With Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon combining to win seven titles from 2007 to 2015.
Franchitti, won the 2007 title with Andretti, but he went to NASCAR in 2008 so that number wasn’t eligible in 2008. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, he was with Ganassi, but the Scotsman stayed in the No. 10 Honda after each title.
Scott Dixon won championships in 2008, 2013 and 2015, but he too chose to stay in his No. 9 entry for each season.
Sam Hornish Jr. won the 2006 championship with Penske, but he too bolted for NASCAR in the season after and didn’t run the No. 1 in 2007.
That’s why Penske keeping this tradition alive is so big.