Ryan Hunter-Reay believes that newly-crowned IndyCar champion Scott Dixon should carry the No. 1 on his car in 2014.
IndyCar entries are allocated permanent numbers in a similar manner to that being rolled out in Formula 1 next year, with the champion having the option of retaining their usual number for the title defense or switching to No. 1.
In recent history most defending champions have kept their regular numbers, although 2012 champion Hunter-Reay bucked the trend this year, and said that he hopes Dixon decides to do the same.
“The champion should use No. 1,” said the Andretti driver. “It’s something that’s been part of IndyCar for many, many years. It’s a tradition that I think teams should respect. The team, the guys on the car and the driver earn that No. 1. They should run it.
“I look forward to going back the No. 28, because that’s my number. If bad luck or circumstances or lack of results come down to the number that you run on your car, then we all wouldn’t be testing in the off-season.”
The last IndyCar champion to carry No. 1 was Dixon himself in 2004, although the New Zealander admitted that his poor results during that season have made him wary of abandoning his regular No. 9 again.
“That was a dreadful year when I ran the No. 1,” said Dixon, who finished 10th in that year’s championship (LEFT, at Pikes Peak).
“[Team owner] Chip [Ganassi] likes to do it on different occasions, but with Dario [Franchitti], they didn’t do it. 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.”