Throughout my life I well remember the racing family of Bettenhausen. When I was a little kid I remember his father, Tony, racing at the Indy 500 and running midgets at local tracks. I saw him several times at our local Flat Rock Speedway. He was a good personality, always ready to talk to the fans. He had 14 starts at the Indy 500 and was killed there during testing in 1961.
His brother, Tony Jr., had 11 starts in the Indy and drove in the Champ Car series that preceded CART and IndyCar. In the CART series he became a team owner and manager. In 2000 he was killed in a plane crash along with his wife and business partners.
His brother, Merle, following the family racing tradition became a driver in the Champ Car series. In his very first race, in Michigan, he had an explosive accident and lost an arm. Lives in Indianapolis and is in the automotive business.
Gary, starting off in midgets winning a total of 27 races, twice sprint car champion, twice USAC champion, drove in NASCAR, ending up in the Champ Car series. He also had 21 starts in the Indy 500. These racing families are few and far between, but always interesting.
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