INDIANAPOLIS — Officials with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway say race car driver Gary Bettenhausen has died. He was 72.
Bettenhausen, who was born in Blue Island and raised in Tinley Park, was a member of a famous racing family and a veteran of open-wheel competition who drove in 21 Indianapolis 500s between 1968 and 1993. His best finish was third in 1980. He led 138 laps of the 1972 race and was the top qualifier in 1991.
Bettenhausen’s father, Tony, also was an Indianapolis 500 veteran who was killed in a practice crash at the speedway in 1961.
Speedway President J. Douglas Boles issued a statement Monday, noting Gary Bettenhausen’s success in many types of cars and calling him “the perfect definition of a race car driver of his time.”