Merle & Gary B Indy 1994 Dn
Merle (left) and Gary Bettenhausen on pictured on pit lane during practice for the 1994 Indianapolis 500 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While Merle Bettenhausen’s driving career was behind him, Bettenhausen was still fast at the famed 2.5-mile track. (David Nearpass photo)

GLORY DAYS: Bettenhausen Brothers

Merle and Gary Bettenhausen (pictured) were the elder of the three (Tony Bettenhausen Jr.) Bettenhausen brothers, all who raced Indy cars at some point in their careers.

Merle Bettenhausen lost his right arm in a crash at Michigan Int’l Speedway in 1972, derailing his racing career almost before it got started.

Gary Bettenhausen, meanwhile, was a terror on the short tracks of Mid-America.

Gary Bettenhausen won the USAC sprint car title in 1969 and 1971 and among his victories were the Turkey Night Grand Prix and the Hut 100. Gary B. won six USAC Indy car races and earned 83 overall USAC national victories.

He made 21 Indy 500 starts with a best finish of third in 1980.


This story appeared in the Aug. 30 edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider.

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