Marco Andretti and Alexander Rossi are swapping car numbers for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, in an announcement made today by Andretti Autosport.
Andretti will drive the No. 98 Honda entered as a partnership between Bryan Herta Autosport and Andretti Autosport for the third straight season. Herta, the retired Indy car driver, served as Andretti’s race strategist this season for the No. 27 Honda.
“I’m thrilled to be continuing the partnership with Andretti Autosport,” said Herta, president of Bryan Herta Autosport. “The relationship has worked really well both on and off the track for us and our partners. I’m looking forward to moving back onto the No. 98 timing stand with Marco and can’t wait to get the 2018 season started.”
Rossi, who drove the No. 98 Honda to victory in the 2016 Indianapolis 500 and this year in the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen, will move to the No. 27 entry in 2018 that will carry NAPA Auto Parts co-primary sponsorship for 10 races.
Andretti logged his 200th career series start in the 2017 season finale at Sonoma Raceway. The 30-year-old hasn’t missed a race since his rookie season in 2006. He finished 12th in the 2017 standings with four top-10 finishes, including a best of fourth in the Honda Indy Toronto.
“I’m very much looking forward to being in the Andretti-Herta entry,” said Andretti. “My goal is to bring the No. 98 another Indy 500 win along with many other victories. Working with Bryan has been refreshing – he is very committed to getting me all the tools I need to get back into victory circle. He believes in my talent and is dedicated to turn that into results.”
Andretti Autosport’s four-driver lineup for the 2018 season is rounded out with Ryan Hunter-Reay returning to the No. 28 DHL Honda and rookie Zach Veach in the No. 26 Group One Thousand One Honda. Stefan Wilson will drive a fifth team car in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 27.
Why the change though? It’s simple, Andretti has Herta as his strategist again and with Herta still having his own team and merging it with Andretti, wouldn’t it make more sense to have Marco is his “car?”
It will be the fourth number Andretti has driven. From his rookie year in 2006 through 2012 he was in the No. 26. Then in the next two seasons (2013 and 2014) he drove the No. 25. The last three years he was in the No. 27.
That’s the only reason for the change. It’s more for a car number and resources. Nothing really changes other than that.