Indy 500 driver Gary Bettenhausen dies

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(March 17, 2014) – Veteran Indianapolis 500 driver Gary Bettenhausen has died.

Bettenhausen started 21 Indianapolis 500s between 1968 and 1993. He had a reputation for overachieving despite less than stellar machinery. He was the son of Tony Bettenhausen, a 14-time Indy 500 starter.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles issued the following statement about Bettenhausen’s contributions to the track:

“Gary Bettenhausen was the perfect definition of a race car driver of his time. He raced successfully in many types of cars, on every type of track, and he possessed a work ethic that earned him rides based on his ability and his competitive nature. Gary will best be remembered by Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans for the manner in which he carried the Bettenhausen family’s passion for the Indianapolis 500 and how he drove every lap at the limit when he was competing at IMS. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary’s wife, his family, and his friends.”

Bettenhausen’s best finish was third in 1980. He led 138 laps during the 1972 Indianapolis 500 and was the fastest qualifier for the 1991 race.