THE ROCKET’S ROCKETSHIPS
Three of Mears’ four Indy 500 wins came in cars produced by Penske. But ever the pragmatist, team boss
Roger Penske decided that 1984’s PC- 12 wasn’t a match for the ubiquitous March and switched to the 84C.
1991 75th Indy 500
Designed by Nigel Bennett, the PC- 20 was powered by Ilmor’s Chevrolet-badged 265A turbo V8 engine. Mears, who qualified third and led five
times for 30 laps, edged Michael Andretti’s dominant Newman/Haas
Racing Lola-Chevy by 3.149sec after a spectacular late-race duel.
1988 72nd Indy 500
After 1987’s PC- 16 had proved
slower at Indy than the team’s
backup March 86C, the Nigel
Bennett-penned PC- 17 put Penske-built machinery back in the frame for
’ 88. The team qualified 1- 2-3, Mears
on the pole. In the race, the PC-17s
led 192 of 200 laps, with Rick ( 89
laps led) cruising to win No. 3.
1984 68th Indy 500
It wasn’t that 1984’s Penske PC- 12
was a bad car, per se; it’s just that the
March 84C was better. Tried, tested
and honed to perfection, the March
was fast out of the crate and Roger
Penske knew it was his best chance
of a win. March supplied 29 of the
33 starters, with Rick Mears’ 84C
qualifying third, then going on to lead
119 of 200 laps for victory No. 2.
1979 63rd Indy 500
Al Unser’s ground-effect Chaparral 2K dominated the early running, leading 85
laps before transmission troubles. Brother Bobby’s new PC- 7 then took control,
accumulating 89 laps in the lead, but lost fourth gear with 20 laps to go. Cue
pole-sitter Rick Mears, in the older PC- 6, taking the lead and his first Indy win.