1968 Tony Bettenhausen 100 (lost footage of USAC Championship Car Season race; 1968)

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1968tonybettenhausen1001.jpg

Roger McCluskey (8) during the race.

Status: Lost

The 1968 Tony Bettenhausen 100 was the 19th race of the 1968 USAC Championship Car Season. Occurring on 17th August at the Illinois State Fairground, the race would ultimately be won by Roger McCluskey in a Kuzma-Offenhauser. The race made IndyCar television history, as it was the first to receive live flag-to-flag coverage, and in colour.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1968 Tony Bettenhausen 100 was the eighth running of the event, the annual race being named in memory of two-time IndyCar champion Tony Bettenhausen, who had also won three times at the Illinois State Fairground in Springfield.[1] The only 1968 USAC Championship Car Season race to take place at Springfield,[2] the dirt event lasted 100 miles.[3] In modern times, the Tony Bettenhausen 100 still occurs annually, with the 2021 edition being won by Kody Swanson.[1]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Al Unser winning the pole position in a Dunlop-Offenhauser with a speed of 102.975 mph.[3] Directly behind him was Ward-Offenhauser driver Gary Bettenhausen, with A.J. Foyt lining up third in a Meskowski-Offenhauser.[3] Roger McCluskey qualified fourth out of 18 runners.[3]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1968 Bettenhausen 100 commenced on 17th August.[3] Bettenhausen shot into the lead from the first lap, and would dominate the first 71.[3] However, he suddenly retired from the lead shortly afterwards following an engine failure.[3] Unser took back the lead, but also had to retire a lap later, after experiencing terminal steering issues.[3] This enabled McCluskey to assume the first position, which he would hold for the remaining 28 laps. He therefore took victory and claimed $4,734 in prize money.[3] Larry Dickson finished second in a Blum-Offenhauser, with George Snider taking third in a Watson-Offenhauser.[3]

Availability[edit | edit source]

The race is significant in that it was the first IndyCar race to receive live flag-to-flag television coverage.[4][5] According to IndyCar on TV, a 90-minute live broadcast was achieved by ABC as part of its Wide World of Sports.[4] Despite its historical significance, the broadcast has yet to resurface, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

nascarman History's Top 10 Lost IndyCar Broadcasts detailing the ABC broadcast of the race (2:16-2:31).


Image[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]