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Bobby Allison Reflects On Good, Bad Of His Career

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 24 2011

The new members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame are Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison, David Pearson and Bud Moore. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Charlotte, N.C. – Bobby Allison’s career-ending crash at Pocono Raceway in June 1988 robbed him of many racing memories, including defeating son Davey for his third Daytona 500 victory earlier that year, but his induction Monday night into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a win for which he was never given credit are two events that will never slip his mind.

In regard to the latter, the year was 1971 and the site was the legendary Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. That year, NASCAR occasionally conducted combination events with the Grand National (now Sprint Cup) and Grand American cars racing against each other.

The Grand American Series featured the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and AMC Javelin, while the Grand National cars that year consisted of the Chevrolet Chevelle, Ford Torino Talladega, Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird/Roadrunner. Allison defeated the full-sized cars in a Grand American vehicle.

Even though the race was on the Cup schedule, Allison was never credited with the victory. Initially, he thought Richard Petty had been credited with the win, but he said he now has learned no one has the race on his victory resume.

With 84 victories, Allison is tied with Darrell Waltrip for third on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series all-time victory list. However, if the 1983 series champion was given credit for the race victory, Allison

Bobby Allison arrives for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Monday night. (RacinToday photo by Deb Williams)

would possess 85 victories and sole possession of third on the all-time victory list.

Still, Allison didn’t let the absentee win overshadow his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. With brother Donnie handling the honors, the elder Allison couldn’t have been happier.

“We’re brothers and every once in a while we had to test each other, but to have your brother induct you into the NASCAR Hall of Fame is out of sight,” said Allison, who in addition to his Cup championship collected 58 poles, NASCAR Modified titles in 1964-65 and NASCAR Modified Special Division titles in 1962-63.

However, the 73-year-old Allison admitted that not having sons Clifford and Davey to share in the special evening was tough on him and wife Judy, and it was still difficult for them to talk about their loss. Clifford died in August 1992 in a Busch Series practice session crash at Michigan. Eleven months later Davey succumbed to massive head injuries suffered in a helicopter crash at Talladega Superspeedway in July 1993.

“You know, the world I hope never is that cruel to any other family again,” Allison said. “We watched the (TV biography) special last Saturday night and we watched it together and we really needed to because we really had to hang on to each other. We really appreciate how well it was done and we really did enjoy the professionalism make of the story, but it was still so hard to go through that part of it. But we made it. She supported me and I hope I supported her a little bit. I don’t know it will ever ease up any day or be less painful, but it’s what happened and it’s our duty to go on.”

– Deb Williams can be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 24 2011
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