Over the years, American automobile racing has enjoyed a handful of successful racing families such as the Andrettis and Unsers in Indy car racing and the Pettys, Allisons and Earnhardts in NASCAR. We’ve also seen this phenomenon in Europe and international racing, with the likes of Graham Hill and his son Damon, world champions both, and the legendary Ferrari Formula One hero Gilles Villeneuve and his son Jacques, who was successful in both Indy and F1 cars.
Less well-known with the passage of time, but equally accomplished in a wide-range of American open wheel racing are the Bettenhausens, Tony and his three sons, Gary, Merle and Tony, Jr. The family’s story has been told before by Carl Hungness in his epic GO! The Bettenhausen Story, published in 1982. But more than thirty years later, with advice and assistance from Merle and Susan Bettenhausen we decided to take a fresh, pictorial look at the family’s story using Racemaker Press’s superb photo archive along with the Bettenhausen family’s personal collections.
Award-winning author Gordon Kirby has created a visual odyssey of the Bettenhausen family’s epic story, starting with two-time Indy car champion Tony Senior’s first laps at the wheel of a mid-western midget in 1938, and following Gary’s, Merle’s and Tony Jr.’s careers. This book features over 350 superb photos and is enlivened by Merle and Susan Bettenhausen’s personal recollections, observations and commentary about their father, brothers and family. The book is completed with full statistical data of the Bettenhausens’ championship racing careers.