Mercedosaurus Rex at Indianapolic Park
Appendix 3: Chassis, entry, practice and race numbers in 1994
- Henri Greuter
- December 4, 2009; updated May 25, 2012
- March-Alfa Romeo 90CA - Fiasco Italo-Brittanico, by Henri Greuter
- March-Porsche 90P - The last oddball at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, by Henri Greuter
- Penske-Mercedes PC23-500I - Mercedosaurus Rex at Indianapolic Park, by Henri Greuter
- Part 1: Penske Racing at Indianapolis - new standards
- Part 2: Ilmor Engineering at Indianapolis
- Part 3: Mercedes, Benz and Mercedes-Benz at Indianapolis up until 1993
- Part 4: Equivalency formulas - waiting for things to go wrong
- Part 5: Stock blocks - keeping them rolling and promoting 'Born in the USA' technology
- Part 6: Indianapolis 1991 - Chevy And Rich Team owners
- Part 7: The Speedway narrowed, its speeds lowered
- Part 8: The forerunner
- Part 9: Pre-May '94 plans
- Part 10: Penske PC23 - a home for the engine
- Part 11: The 1994 Indycar season until mid-April
- Part 12: The unfair advantage and when others have it
- Part 13: Practice during the 1994 'Month of May'
- Part 14: Other bespoke-design 209s
- Part 15: From the last weekend of May '94 to the end of the season
- Part 16: Could the Mercedes Benz 500I have been stopped in time?
- Part 17: Creating an extinct species without it being forbidden, initially at least
- Part 24: "Plan your work; work your plan" - Chuck Sprague on the PC23
- Appendix 1: Specifications
- Appendix 2: Car and driver appearances and performances during the Month of May 1994
- Appendix 4: PC23's 1994 results sans Mercedes Benz 500I
- Appendix 5: PC23's 1995-'96 results sans Mercedes Benz 500I
- Appendix 6: A reflection on the PC23 chassis used by Team Penske in 1994
Acknowledgement: the update of this Appendix in May 2012 was possible thanks to the much appreciated cooperation of Team Penske members Chuck Sprague and Nigel Beresford who supplied data from factory records they had available to them.
Wanna go crazy while doing research on the Team Penske entries of 1994?
If trying to raise the details kept under the veil of secrecy for so long isn't enough, then try to figure which chassis was entered under which number, appearing in the entry list under which number, practiced with which number but carried which roll-hoop number and raced with which number. Even worse, try to do that for all six Mercedes-powered cars and the PC22 backups. I gave it a try and this is what I could deduct and knew until May 2012.
On the original Official Entry Lists, the Mercs are entered as 2, 2T, 2, 3T, 31 and 31T and the two PC22 backups appear as 102 and 103. Now you must know that almost always a car running with a T number has a different USAC registration number, often to be found on the roll hoop. Let's use that for starters.
For the Merc-powered cars, the 2, 3 and 31 all carried an identical number on their roll hoop. Photographic evidence of that is found in the two different Yearbooks.
The T cars however aren't pictured good enough to deduct this. Going through my own pictures, I can't find one on which I could see the number on the roll hoop of car 2T although it practiced extensively in the second week of practice. It had a red roll hoop.
On my pictures of car 3T taken during the second week of qualifying it shows the car to have a two-digit entry number on the roll hoop, I can't read the number clearly however. It appears as if it could be 83 or 93. Both these numbers were unassigned in the original Official Entry List.
If it is indeed 93 we must be suspicious of the fact that the car timed as 3T during the second week of practice might have been the car originally entered as 31T but changed over to 3T in order for Tracy to drop the T for the race.
To add to the confusion, during the second weekend of qualifying and on Carb Day, a car numbered 3 appeared and wore roll hoop number 93. On Carb Day it was driven by Tracy, thus meaning that it was his race car and that 31T carried roll hoop number 93. But then, was the 3 as seen in the garage area that second week of qualifying the re-numbered 31T or the 3T sans T?
To make life more difficult, Tracy's qualifying pictures see him posing in a car that is numbered 31, not 31T but 31. But it already has a white roll hoop like his original 3 had. The 3T as seen in the second weekend of practice also had a white roll hoop.
Confusion, confusion, until now that is.
Wanna get truly puzzled? Take the team's two PC22s. They appear in the Official Entry list as 102 and 103 but never appeared on track with these numbers.
One of the cars appeared at the track as number 50 and had an identical roll hoop number. Later on it was driven by Rahal, from Carb Day on it was the Miller 4. The roll hoop number still appears to be 50. Nothing special here.
The other car first appears, wearing #52, on the roll hoop it says 36. Later on that car appears with number 52T, still carrying roll hoop number 36, all this in red and white colours of the sponsor.
On Carb Day it appears again carrying that same roll hoop number 36, driven by Mike Groff as the Motorola 10. But on Groff's qualifying pictures the Motorola 10 all of a sudden has roll hoop number 65! So did the car temporarily change its USAC entry number during the second week of qualifying?
But in May 2012, some of the riddles were answered at last. The roll hoop number of 2T remains a mystery for the time being. But the Penske factory records yielded the information that 3T ran with roll hoop number 63 and 31T used 93.
So, based on all this research, this is what I come up with for the USAC registration numbers and the 'number dance' of all Team Penske entries in 1994.
|Program #||Chassis #||Rolhoop #||Main numbers used|
|2||PC23-003||2||2: driven by Fittipaldi|
|2T||PC23-004||??1||2T: driven by Fittipaldi, Unser & Tracy|
|3||PC23-006||3||3: practice by Tracy, crashed.|
|3T||PC23-002||63||3T: driven by Fittipaldi, Unser & Tracy|
|31||PC23-007||31||31: driven by Unser|
|31T||PC23-001||93||31T: qualified once by Tracy, renumbered for the race in 3,|
maybe ran in 2nd practice week as 3T?
|102/103?2||PC22-002||50||50, practiced by Rahal|
4: Miller Genuine Draft in race, Rahal
|102/103?3||PC22-007||36||52: Spotted in Gasoline Alley|
|36||52T: practiced by Tracy, Rahal, Groff|
|65||10: Motorola, Groff on Carb Day, also in race?|
|36||10: Motorola, Groff on Q-pictures, also in race?|
1. No USAC registration number deducted
2. Official entry program number unknown, must be either one of these numbers. In practice and qualifying it used number 50.
3. Official entry program number unknown, must be either one of these numbers. In practice and qualifying it used number 52T.
I tell you, I felt a bit outnumbered after all this deducting and research…