Bettenhausen drove in 11 Indianapolis 500-Mile Races and was owner of the Bettenhausen Motorsports racing team. He was killed in a plane crash along with his wife, Russ Roberts and Larry Rangel.
He drove in 11 Indianapolis 500-Mile Races and was owner of the Bettenhausen Motorsports racing team.
Killed in a plane crash along with Bettenhausen's 47-year-old wife, Shirley; Russ Roberts, owner of Friendly Foods and a partner in Bettenhausen's auto racing team, and Indianapolis restaurateur Larry Rangel who often did catering for the racing team.
The group was en route to Indianapolis from Championship Auto Racing Teams spring training in Homestead, Fla., when the plane went down in central Kentucky. Bettenhausen, who was piloting the Baron BE-58, radioed a request to change altitute because of ice buildup as he flew through bad weather. Bettenhausen attempted to climb above the storm, but moments later the small plane went into a spin and crashed into a hillside, killing all on board instantly.
Tony Lee Bettenhausen Jr. was one of three racing brothers and a son of two-time U.S. Auto Club national champion Melvin "Tony" Bettenhausen, who ran at the Indianapolis 500 from 1946-60 and was killed in practice in 1961. Although their names were different, the son went by Tony Jr.
Tony Jr. drove Indy cars from 1979-93. In 1988 he bought a CART team, which earned nearly $6 million in prize money with 13 drivers.