Tony Bettenhausen & Sons
“It is doubtful there’s ever been a more determined or star-crossed family in auto racing history … but throughout it was a family shaped by hard work and heart.” – Robin Miller
Over the years, American automobile racing has enjoyed a handful of successful racing families such as the Andrettis and Unsers in Indy car racing and the Pettys, Allisons and Earnhardts in NASCAR. We’ve also seen this phenomenon in Europe and international racing, with the likes of Graham Hill and his son Damon, world champions both, and the legendary Ferrari Formula One hero Gilles Villeneuve and his son Jacques, who was successful in both Indy and F1 cars.
Less well-known with the passage of time, but equally accomplished in a wide-range of American open wheel racing are the Bettenhausens, Tony and his three sons, Gary, Merle and Tony, Jr. The family’s story has been told before by Carl Hungness in his epic GO! The Bettenhausen Story, published in 1982. But more than thirty years later, with advice and assistance from Merle and Susan Bettenhausen we decided to take a fresh, pictorial look at the family’s story using Racemaker Press’s superb photo archive along with the Bettenhausen family’s personal collections
Author: Gordon Kirby with Merle & Susan Bettenhausen