IndyCar: The story behind Marcus Ericsson's new car number

Marcus Ericsson is set to replace Romain Grosjean at Andretti Global behind the wheel of the No. 28 Honda in the 2024 IndyCar season.
Romain Grosjean, Andretti Global, IndyCar
Romain Grosjean, Andretti Global, IndyCar / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

Toward the end of the 2023 IndyCar season, Andretti Global confirmed that 2022 Indy 500 winner and former Chip Ganassi Racing driver Marcus Ericsson would be joining the team for the 2024 IndyCar season, and it has since been confirmed that the Swede is set to drive the No. 28 Honda.

Romain Grosjean had driven the No. 28 Honda since the start of the 2022 season, but after two years with the team, he will not be returning to the organization for 2024. He has moved to Juncos Hollinger Racing.

Ericsson had driven the No. 8 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing since the 2020 season, with backing from Huski Chocolate/Huski Ice Spritz all four years.

Now Ericsson is set to drive a No. 28 Honda which will no longer be sponsored by DHL, which had been with the Andretti Autosport team as the primary sponsor of the car since 2011. His entry is set to be sponsored by Delaware Life.

It was also the 2011 IndyCar season when the No. 28 Honda ultimately became the No. 28 Honda.

Ryan Hunter-Reay joined the team in 2010 and had immediate success behind the wheel of the No. 37 Honda, winning the Grand Prix of Long Beach. But in 2011, the car became the No. 28 Honda, and aside from his usage of the No. 1 as the reigning series champion in 2013, the second of two years in which the car was a Chevrolet, that hasn't changed.

The reason for the initial change is tied to Hunter-Reay's mother Lydia, who lost her battle with colon cancer in November 2009. In her honor, Hunter-Reay and everybody involved with his entry allowed the number to be changed from No. 37 to No. 28 ahead of the 2011 season. The No. 28 represents the 28 million people living with cancer worldwide.

He secured his first win in the No. 28 car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in August 2011.

To this day, the nod to Hunter-Reay's mother and to those 28 million individuals lives on with the Andretti Autosport entry, and Ericsson is set to become just the third driver to be a part of it.

Hunter-Reay ultimately left Andretti Autosport at the end of the 2021 season. His 12-year stint with the team included 14 wins. He won the 2012 championship and the 2014 Indy 500, both behind the wheel of the No. 28 car.

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The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is scheduled to get the 2024 IndyCar season underway this Sunday, March 10, with NBC set to provide live coverage from the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss it!