November 18, 1941 |
Tinley Park, Illinois
|NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career|
|8 race(s) run over 2 year(s)|
|Best finish||43rd - 1974 (Grand National)|
|First race||1967 Daytona 500 (Daytona)|
|Last race||1974 Motor State 360 (Michigan)|
He began as a midget car driver. He finished third in the midget car national points in 1967. He won the first leg of the Astro Grand Prix in 1969, which was held in the Astrodome. He won the 1967 and 1970 Turkey Night Grand Prix, the 1972 Astro Grand Prix, and the 1976 Hut Hundred. He has 27 career USAC midget wins.
A crash at a Championship Dirt Car race (AKA Silver Crown Car) in Syracuse, New York on July 2, 1974 crushed Gary's left arm and left it paralyzed. He regained enough mobility to drive but has never fully recovered from the injury.
Indy style cars/Indianapolis 500
He competed in Indy style cars from the mid-'1960s until 1996. During this time he won six USAC Indy Car races. Gary made 21 starts in the Indy '500, contesting each event from 1968 until 1982 (with the exception of 1979 when he failed to qualify), and again from 1986 to 1993. His best finish came in 1980 when he finished third after starting 32nd in the 33-car field. He led the 1972 Indianapolis 500 for 138 of the 200 laps, suffering a mechanical failure with just a few laps to go.
He competed in eight career NASCAR Winston Cup events. He had four Top 10 finishes. His highest career finish was a fourth place finish at the 1974 Motor State 360 at the Michigan International Speedway in 1974.
- He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1993.
- He was a 1998 inductee in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
Indy 500 results
|1979||King||Offy||Failed to Qualify|
|1983||Lightning||Chevrolet||Failed to Qualify|
|1984||March||Cosworth||Failed to Qualify|
|1988||March||Cosworth||Failed to Qualify|
|1994||Penske||Ilmor||Failed to Qualify|
- http://www.worthyofhonor.com/Inductees/Gary_Bettenhausen.htm Biography at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame
- http://racing-reference.info/driver?id=bettega01 Biography at racing-reference.info