Inside the Team Penske Transporters

July 14, 2021


"Penske Material" provides an inside look at some of the personalities, stories and moments that make Team Penske so unique.

More than 40 weekends a year the Team Penske haulers are on the road delivering race cars and equipment to tracks across America. While the high-tech transporters carrying cars in each series where Team Penske competes might look similar, there are subtle differences that might escape even the most diehard fan.

From the NASCAR perspective, each Cup and Xfinity Series team has near identical rigs that provide enough room for two race cars and spare parts. With the decrease in the amount of crew members traveling on the road over the last couple of seasons, the shock dyno (once a standard component in most transporters) has now been moved to one transporter that serves all three Penske teams. Unlike its INDYCAR counterparts, each NASCAR hauler feature a kitchen, refrigerator and microwave for team members to use.

The newer generation Featherlite transporters used by the No. 12 and 22 Cup Series teams also feature side doors which allow crew members the ability to access each other’s work areas faster. The lounge area on the NASCAR haulers gives the crew chiefs, engineers and additional team personnel ample space for meetings and debrief sessions. In addition to carrying two race cars on any given weekend, the transporter’s main area also holds a large cooler, suspension cart, pack mule, setup scales and the toolbox used in the garage area. In most instances, the trailer can be loaded in just 30 minutes following the checkered flag if the team is required to participate in post-race inspection.

        

The Team Penske INDYCAR transporters have many similarities to the NASCAR rigs but there are some differences. The length of the trailers is identical (53 feet per Department of Transportation regulations), and the roof height of the haulers are also exactly the same. The differences are what’s included inside the transporters, as well as some of the additional built-in features. An average INDYCAR weekend will see as many as eight team transporters on site. This number is increased during the Indianapolis 500, when Team Penske may bring as many as 13 units to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Month of May. Two of the trucks serve as support vehicles, transporting parts and materials to and from Team Penske’s Mooresville, N.C., home base. The support truck also carries a variety of other items such as golf carts, pit carts and spare wheels.

Two of the INDYCAR haulers feature slide outs that allow for additional capacity, used by engineering and team personnel. One of the team’s transporters has full a shock dyno, while another has a full fabrication shop on wheels for on-site repairs. Each hauler carries a fully finished race car along with a spare tub, body panels and floor tiles for building a work floor when permanent garages are not available. Each truck also has entry doors on both sides, which allows the team to create a shared compound in order to work together during a race weekend.

In addition to cars and body panels, the primary team transporter also carries the pit road timing stand, main toolbox, primary refueling tank and nitrogen bottles for the air wrenches. Unlike their teammates on the NASCAR program, INDYCAR teams are also responsible for transporting their wheels to and from each race.

The process of loading and unloading each hauler on the INDYCAR side is also much more involved and time consuming. The total time to pack everything up after the checkered flag can range from 90 minutes to two hours after the race.

Though there are subtle differences between the Team Penske NASCAR and INDYCAR race shops on wheels that transport equipment to the track, the goals for both programs and their haulers are the same: arrive safely and carry home a trophy after each race.