IndyCar team makes car number change from 88 to 55 to avoid white supremacy connotations

Kyle Kirkwood drives the ROKiT/AJ FOYT RACING Chevrolet (car 14) during the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
A.J. Foyt Racing's flagship car is the No. 14 and it announced that it was going to field the No. 88 as a second car during the 2023 IndyCar Series season. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

A.J. Foyt Racing announced Friday that it would run the No. 55 car and not the No. 88 car in 2023 after it realized that its car numbers combined to form a numerical white supremacist symbol.

The IndyCar team’s flagship car is the No. 14 car. Foyt ran that number throughout his legendary career. The team previously announced that it would field the No. 88 car for Benjamin Pedersen this upcoming season and said Friday that Pederson would instead drive the No. 55.

“After the reveal of the No. 88 livery last week, it was brought to our attention that the combination of our two individually entered numbers carries certain ideologic and symbolic references,” the team said in a statement.

“A.J. Foyt Racing does not condone nor support any such ideologies or symbols and to avoid any reprehensible associations we have changed the entry number from 88 to 55.”

1488 is recognized as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League. The 14 is short for a 14-word slogan used by white supremacists and 88 is used as code for “Heil Hitler” as the letter H is the eighth word of the alphabet.

Pedersen is set to make his IndyCar Series debut in 2023 after competing in 24 second-tier Indy Lights races over the past two seasons. The 23-year-old Danish driver scored eight top-three starts in those races.

Santino Ferrucci is set to drive the No. 14 for Foyt this season. Ferrucci has run 43 races over the past five IndyCar seasons after moving to the states after competing in Formula 2. Ferrucci’s F2 career ended in 2018 after he was banned for four races after deliberately running into a teammate. His team at the time said Ferrucci had exhibited “unsportsmanlike and above all uncivilized” behavior and parted ways with him midway through the season.

The 2023 IndyCar Series season begins on March 5 in St. Petersburg.