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Former Indy 500 Race Car Driver Gary Bettenhausen, 72

Bettenhausen has died, leaving behind an impressive racing legacy.

The racing world has lost one of its greats.

Race car driver and Southland native Gary Bettenhausen has died at the age of 72, Sun-Times Media reports. 

Bettenhausen was born in Blue Island and raised in Tinley Park. He drove in 21 Indianapolis 500 races, between 1968 and 1993; his top finish was third place, in 1980, according to the report. 

In the 1972 race, he led the pack on 138 laps. He was the top qualifier in 1991. 

Bettenhausen was the oldest of three racing sons. His father Tony also was an Indy 500 veteran; he was killed in a practice crash at the speedway in 1961.

Speedway President J. Douglas Boles called Tony, “the perfect definition of a race car driver of his time.”

Michele Schwartz March 18, 2014 at 12:36 PM
So so sorry for the loss of your Beloved Father. May your memories and the support of a Community that he Loved and that Loved him back, sustain you. Thank you for sharing him with us.
Sue Behm March 27, 2014 at 09:09 AM
Sorry to hear of Gary's passing. Too young! Many memories of this career growing up. God's peace to his family.

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