Born in 1916 in Tinley Park, Illinois, Melvin Eugene Betten-hausen started his racing career in 1937... with the help of Emil Andres. He became known as the “Tinley Park Express” in honor of his hometown and became one of America’s most popular and successful drivers. He fathered three sons who carried on the family tradition of trying to win the “big one” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Tony lost his life in 1961.
Tony became a part of the famous “Chicago Gang” that terrorized tracks in the Midwest and on the East Coast while teamed with Duke Nalon. He loved racing midgets and competed in them throughout his career. In 1960 he won the 100-mile midget race at Milwaukee and placed second at DuQuoin.
He won the “Turkey Night” classic in 1959 and the “Hut Hundred” in 1955 and 1956. He was the Milwaukee Track Champion in 1942, ’46 and ’47 and the Chicago Raceway Park Champion in 1941, ’42 and ’47.