The 1988 Indy-winning PC-17 was a landmark car that swept the entire front row of the “500” grid for the first time in Indy history. Pole man Rick Mears and Penske teammates Danny Sullivan and Al Unser Sr. locked out the Lolas and Marches and Rick Mears went on to win the third (and slowest) 500 of his extraordinary career. The trio of PC-17s led 192 of the 1988 500’s 200 laps in an unprecedented display of speedway dominance. It was Team Penske’s seventh Indy victory in their 20
None of Team Penske’s 18 Indy 500 winners illustrates Penske’s famous “Unfair Advantage” like the 1994 500 winning PC-23 powered by the famed Mercedes-Benz 500I “pushrod” turbocharged V-8 engine. It was nicknamed “The Beast” because of its extraordinary power.
The turbocharged Mercedes-Benz V-8 500I, created and developed in secret, would exploit a loophole in the Indy 500 rulebook that was written to encourage American car manufacturers to provide race engines based on turbocharged pushrod "production-based" engines. Team Penske drove the 1000-plus horsepower 500I through that loophole and put their PC23 in Indy’s victory lane to score the legendary team’s tenth 500 victory with Penske drivers Al Unser Jr (the winner) and Emerson Fittipaldi leading all but six laps. Within weeks the 500I engine was effectively banned by new rules.
Within the year a new format for The 500 tried again to level the playing field with spec cars and spec engines. In the quarter century that has passed since that day Team Penske has won The 500 eight more times. The 1994 Indy 500 is still seen as a cautionary tale by those who compete with both Mercedes-Benz and Team Penske.