IndyCar: Crazy Danica Patrick stat resurfaces with McLaren announcement

More than a decade and a half later, Danica Patrick is still the most recent IndyCar driver to win a race behind the wheel of the No. 7 car.
Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren, IndyCar
Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren, IndyCar / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Arrow McLaren confirmed earlier this week that they are set to cut ties with 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who just joined the team last year when they expanded to three cars.

Rossi took over from Felix Rosenqvist behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolet. Rosenqvist was moved to the new car, the No. 6 Chevrolet, and ultimately released after the 2023 season. Current Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Christian Lundgaard is set to replace Rossi in the No. 7 car next year.

Rossi has not yet won a race since joining Arrow McLaren. The No. 7 car hasn't won a race since the team reintroduced it as a full-time number in 2019, the year before Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' partnership with McLaren began. It hasn't even won since the team started using it in 2014.

In fact, it hasn't won at all in more than a decade and a half.

Danica Patrick's lone IndyCar victory at Twin Ring Motegi back in April 2008 remains the most recent IndyCar victory earned by a driver of a No. 7 car. A total of 273 races have been contested since then, and 253 of those races have featured a No. 7 entry.

The car has managed to secure 14 podium finishes since Patrick's Japan win, but none of those podium finishes saw the driver of the car on the top step.

Patrick herself finished in third place in the 2009 Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and second at Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2010, competing for Andretti Green Racing/Andretti Autosport.

Driving for Dragon Racing, four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais competed part-time in 2012 and full-time in 2013. He finished in both second and third place on the streets of Toronto and third on the streets of Baltimore in 2013. In 2014, Sam Schmidt's team began using the number, and rookie Mikhail Aleshin finished in second on the streets of Houston.

The following year, James Jakes finished in third place at NOLA Motorsports Park. In 2016, Aleshin returned and placed second at Pocono Raceway.

The 2018 season is the only season since 2008 during which the No. 7 was not used on at least a part-time basis, with its lone appearance coming in the 2018 Indy 500 when Jay Howard drove the No. 7 Honda.

After Robert Wickens's harrowing accident at Pocono in 2018, the team vowed to reserve the No. 6 for him if he could ever return, and they brought back the No. 7 for Marcus Ericsson in 2019. Ericsson finished in second place on the streets of Belle Isle.

The following year, the team partnered with McLaren, and Oliver Askew finished in third place at Iowa Speedway. The car did not return to the podium until Rosenqvist finished in third on the streets of Toronto in 2022.

Rossi's two podium finishes since joining the team in 2023 include a third place finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last year and a third place finish at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca last month.

Despite the lack of wins for the drivers of the No. 7 car, teammates of the drivers using that number have racked up 16 victories since Patrick's win.

Pato O'Ward is responsible for five of those victories while James Hinchcliffe is responsible for three, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Simon Pagenaud are each responsible for two, and Mike Conway and Marco Andretti are each responsible for one.

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Can Alexander Rossi become the No. 7 car's first winner since Danica Patrick before he leaves Arrow McLaren at the end of the year? If not, can Christian Lundgaard find a level of success not seen by the number in what would be 17 years?