Tony Bettenhausen, Jr.

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Tony Lee Bettenhausen, Jr.[1] (October 30, 1951, Joliet, Illinois – February 14, 2000) was a Champ Car team owner and driver who died in a 2000 plane crash. He was the son of former 14-time Indianapolis 500 competitor Tony Bettenhausen and the brother of 21-time Indy racer Gary Bettenhausen. The family holds the dubious distinction of the most combined starts in the famous race without a victory. Another brother, Merle Bettenhausen, was maimed in his only Indy Car start.

Career[edit]

As a driver, he started 11 Indianapolis 500 races, scoring a best finish of 7th his rookie year in the 1981 race. He took his trademark #16 into team ownership in 1985, initially using March and Lola chassis, then purchasing year-old Penske chassis and then entering and qualifying two new Penskes for the 1993 race. One, number 76, was driven by himself, the other by former Formula One driver Stefan Johansson. A number of successful drivers passed through Bettenhausen's Alumax car, including Johansson for the first few years as well as three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and former IndyCar rookie of the year Patrick Carpentier.

Bettenhausen, Jr. also competed in 33 Sprint Cup Series series events in his career, most coming in 1974 when he scored a career best 7th place effort at Richmond International Raceway.

A difficult 1999 plagued by a lack of sponsorship and a series of pay-drivers saw the team take on a new look in 2000 with the hiring of Michel Jourdain Jr. and his Herdez sponsorship.

Death[edit]

Bettenhausen never got to see that happen following a light plane crash en route from Indianapolis to Homestead, Florida that went down in Kentucky. Bettenhausen's wife Shirley, the daughter of former Indianapolis racing star Jim McElreath, as well as business associates Russ Roberts and Larry Rangel were also killed. His legacy of the team lived on under the ownership of former Pacific Racing F1 team owner Keith Wiggins and was renamed Herdez Competition in 2001, with the legendary #16 replaced by Herdez's preference for the #55 early in 2002. The team has subsequently gone through additional changes in ownership, was once Paul Stoddart's Minardi Team USA, and is now Wiggins' HVM Racing competing in the IndyCar Series.

He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.[2]

CART[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
1979 McElreath United States
PHX
United States
ATL1
United States
ATL2
United States
INDY
DNQ
United States
TRE1
United States
TRE2
United States
MIS1
United States
MIS2
United States
WGL
United States
TRE3
United States
ONT
United States
MIS3
United States
ATL3
United States
PHX2
NC 0
1980 Medlin Racing United States
ONT
United States
INDY
DNS
United States
MIL
DNQ
United States
POC
32
United States
MDO
DNS
United States
MIS1
United States
WGL
DNQ
United States
MIL
United States
ONT2
United States
MIS2
Mexico
MEX
United States
PHX
63rd 5
1981 Provimi Veal United States
PHX1
12
United States
MIL1
7
United States
ATL1
11
United States
ATL2
2
United States
MIS
DNS
United States
RIV
14
United States
MIL2
10
United States
MIS2
8
United States
WGL
8
Mexico
MEX
11
United States
PHX2
19
6th 107
1982 Provimi Veal United States
PHX1
12
United States
ATL
19
United States
MIL1
12
United States
CLE
United States
MIS1
10
United States
MIL2
20
United States
POC
5
United States
RIV
18
United States
ROA
7
United States
MIS2
4
United States
PHX2
6
10th 80
1983 Provimi Veal United States
ATL
10
United States
INDY
17
United States
MIL
10
United States
CLE
18
United States
MIS1
18
United States
ROA
12
United States
POC
10
United States
RIV
8
United States
MDO
14
United States
MIS2
9
United States
CEA
21
United States
LAG
14
United States
PHX
18
17th 19
1984 Provimi Veal United States
LBH
DNQ
United States
PHX1
22
United States
INDY
26
United States
MIL
United States
POR
United States
MEA
United States
CLE
United States
MIS1
15
United States
ROA
United States
POC
16
United States
MDO
United States
SAN
United States
MIS2
United States
PHX2
United States
LS
United States
LVG
NC 0
1985 Skoal Bandit United States
LBG
United States
INDY
29
United States
MIL
United States
POR
United States
MEA
United States
CLE
United States
MCH
United States
ROA
United States
POC
United States
MDO
Canada
SAN
United States
MCH
United States
LAG
United States
PHX
United States
MIA
NC 0
1986 Bettenhausen Racing United States
PHX
United States
LBG
United States
INDY
28
United States
MIL
United States
POR
United States
MEA
United States
CLE
Canada
TOR
United States
MCH
United States
POC
United States
MDO
Canada
SAN
United States
MCH
United States
ROA
United States
LAG
United States
PHX
United States
MIA
NC 0
1987 Bettenhausen Motorsports United States
LBG
11
United States
PHX
15
United States
INDY
10
United States
MIL
DNQ
United States
POR
United States
MEA
13
United States
CLE
20
Canada
TOR
DNQ
United States
MCH
11
United States
POC
22
United States
ROA
15
United States
MDO
25
United States
NAZ
United States
LAG
United States
MIA
29th 7
1988 Bettenhausen Motorsports United States
PHX
6
United States
LBH
DNQ
United States
INDY
33
United States
MIL
19
United States
POR
United States
CLE
15
Canada
TOR
17
United States
MEA
8
United States
MIS
4
United States
POC
15
United States
MDO
16
United States
ROA
16
United States
NAZ
13
United States
LS
26
United States
MIA
17th 25
1989 Bettenhausen Motorsports United States
PHX
United States
LBH
United States
INDY
DNQ
United States
MIL
DNQ
United States
DET
United States
POR
United States
CLE
United States
MEA
Canada
TOR
United States
MIS
United States
POC
26
United States
MDO
United States
ROA
United States
NAZ
United States
LS
NC 0
1990 Bettenhausen Motorsports United States
PHX
United States
LBH
DNQ
United States
INDY
26
United States
MIL
13
United States
DET
16
United States
POR
17
United States
CLE
12
United States
MEA
10
Canada
TOR
26
United States
MIS
22
United States
DEN
24
Canada
VAN
United States
MDO
20
United States
ROA
DNS
United States
NAZ
22
United States
LS
24th 4
1991 Bettenhausen Motorsports Australia
SRF
10
United States
LBH
12
United States
PHX
18
United States
INDY
9
United States
MIL
12
United States
DET
13
United States
POR
13
United States
CLE
13
United States
MEA
21
Canada
TOR
11
United States
MIS
5
United States
DEN
10
Canada
VAN
18
United States
MDO
18
United States
ROA
13
United States
NAZ
10
United States
LS
16
14th 27
1992 Bettenhausen Racing Australia
SRF
13
United States
PHX
11
United States
LBH
15
United States
INDY
DNQ
United States
DET
United States
POR
21
United States
MIL
18
United States
NHA
Canada
TOR
United States
MIS
9
United States
CLE
United States
ROA
Canada
VAN
United States
MDO
United States
NAZ
United States
LS
24th 6
1993 Bettenhausen Racing Australia
SRF
United States
PHX
United States
LBH
United States
INDY
20
United States
MIL
United States
DET
United States
POR
United States
CLE
Canada
TOR
United States
MIS
United States
NHM
United States
ROA
Canada
VAN
United States
MDO
United States
NZR
United States
LS
47th 0
1994 Bettenhausen Motorsports Australia
SRF
United States
PHX
United States
LGH
United States
INDY
Wth
United States
MIL
United States
DET
United States
POR
United States
CLE
Canada
TOR
United States
MIS
United States
MDO
United States
NHM
Canada
VAN
United States
ROA
United States
NZR
United States
LS
NC 0

Indy 500 results[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish
1979 Eagle Offy Failed to Qualify
1980
1981 McLaren Cosworth 16th 7th
1982 March 27th 26th
1983 9th 17th
1984 17th 26th
1985 Lola 29th 29th
1986 March 18th 28th
1987 27th 10th
1988 Lola 24th 33rd
1989 Failed to Qualify
1990 Buick 13th 26th
1991 Penske Chevrolet 20th 9th
1992 Failed to Qualify
1993 22nd 20th

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1980 Indianapolis 500 Daily track Report
  2. ^ "Indianapolis Auto greats". Celebrating Automotive Heritage at Crown Hill Cemetery (Crown Hill Cemetery). 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-10.