This weekend, the racing world remembered the life and career of 72-year old Gary Bettenhausen, who competed in 21 Indianapolis 500s and obtained success in USAC dirt cars from 1966-1993.
Bettenhausen’s 82 USAC National victories earned him a place in USAC’s inaugural Hall of Fame in 2012, according to usacracing.com. His success and involvement in motor racing has spawned a large reaction through the social media world.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles released this statement on the passing of Bettenhausen:
“Gary Bettenhausen was the perfect definition of a race car driver of his time. He raced successfully in many types of cars, on every type of track, and he possessed a work ethic that earned him rides based on his ability and his competitive nature. Gary will best be remembered by Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans for the manner in which he carried the Bettenhausen family’s passion for the Indianapolis 500 and how he drove every lap at the limit when he was competing at IMS. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary’s wife, his family, and his friends.”
Drivers from all corners of motor racing have also taken to social media to pass along their condolences.
RIP Gary B. Racing lost one of the greatest drivers ever! pic.twitter.com/SHVsJwbnx5
— Ryan Newman (@RyanJNewman) March 17, 2014
We’re saddened to hear the news of Gary Bettenhausen’s passing. Our thoughts are with his friends and family today. pic.twitter.com/kysX7BGeMY
— Indy Motor Speedway (@IMS) March 17, 2014
RIP Gary Bettenhausen one of the all time best !!
— Davey Hamilton (@DaveyHamilton) March 17, 2014
Just heard that Gary Bettenhausen passed away. Sorry to hear that we lost another great open wheel racer. RIP
— ray evernham (@RayEvernham) March 17, 2014
Gary Bettenhausen, IndyCar
— Eldora Speedway (@EldoraSpeedway) March 17, 2014