UPDATED: Reigning champ RHR to run No. 1 in 2013

In 2013, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay will adopt the “No. 1” car number that traditionally goes to the reigning IndyCar champion.

Hunter-Reay, who won last year’s championship by five points over Will Power in an exciting duel, has run the No. 28 number for the last two seasons to represent the 28 million people currently fighting cancer around the world (Hunter-Reay himself lost his mother to colon cancer in 2009).

However, those courageous 28 million will still be represented on his car, as a small ’28’ will be put inside the No. 1 that will be on his Chevy-powered entry. Hunter-Reay, a co-founder of the Racing For Cancer charity talked about the subject to IndyCar.com, saying:

“Racing For Cancer’s No. 1 goal is to beat cancer and we realized that running the No. 1 with the No. 28 incorporated into the design, a very important detail to me personally, would provide us with an opportunity to strengthen the message and cause of beating cancer while at the same time recognizing our partners and sponsors dedication to excellence on, and off, the track.”

The American driver will become the first IRL/IndyCar defending champion to put the No. 1 on his car since Scott Dixon did it in 2004 following his first of two IZOD IndyCar Series championships (2003, 2008).

In other Andretti news, Marco Andretti will take on the No. 25 car number next season after running the No. 26 throughout his entire previous tenure in the series.