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Great Families in NASCAR – The Allisons

Great Families in NASCAR – The Allisons

The Allisons always won because they send continuous power and torque to the wheels, and their torque converters tend to keep engines at speeds where they perform best. The Allisons chronicle the racing careers, and little else, of brothers Bobby and Donnie (both forced to retire by severe injuries), and Bobby’s sons Davey and Clifford (both killed in racing-related accidents).

Bobby Allison was a founding member of NASCAR’s fabled Alabama Gang, but few know that he actually was born in and raised in Miami Florida. In his senior year of high school, Allison entered his first race in South Florida, but his budding career was cut short by his father, who wanted Bobby to stop racing after witnessing his first few wrecks. Bobby Allison would drive his #15 Ford past Buddy Baker and go on to win what would become the first of three Daytona 500 wins. Benny Parsons would finish in third while Cale Yarborough would take 2nd place honors with 33.2 seconds off of Allison’s lead.

Donnie Allison was always the “other” brother of the famous NASCAR racing duo. Overshadowed throughout his career by Bobby Allison, his older brother and with the third highest wins in NASCAR history, Donnie often did not get his due for being an outstanding racer in his own right.

Davey Allison, like his father, was born in South Florida and became the second-generation star of the Alabama Gang. A good all-around athlete, but his racing genes kicked in after his high school graduation and his decision to go racing led him to Birmingham International Raceway for his first start in 1979. Davey Allison’s behind the wheel career began in 1979, with his first win in only his sixth start. He won two ARCA races, finished second in points and won Rookie of the Year honors in 1984. Davey Allison would succumb to his injuries the following morning at the age of 32.

Davey Allison was given mountains to climb and obstacles along the way, and he never complained, never gave up and continued to climb those mountains time and again. I pause to remember Davey Allison, his courage, his determination, his strength and above all his class. Davey Allison’s 1989 season didn’t start well. A year after he and his father’s one-two Daytona 500 finish, Davey started a disappointing 16th, then was involved in an early incident with Geoff Bodine that sent his car careening into the sand bar separating the track’s backstretch from Lake Lloyd. Davey Allison cruised to victory in the 1992 Daytona 500 in the ’92 Daytona 500 past champion #28.

Allison nearly died in a horrific 1988 crash that ended his career. He spent more than 10 years recovering. Allison became the first rookie to sit on the front row of the Daytona 500, a race he eventually won in 1992 after finishing second to his father Bobby four years earlier. Davey Allison won 19 career races on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit in a brilliant six-year career that came to a premature end when he died in 1993. Allison entered and won that race, along with two others races that week. He had found his lucrative racing.

Donnie Allison also remains actively involved with racing and the Allison Legacy Series as a motorsports consultant. Bobby Allison, a noted ambassador in auto racing, continues his involvement with NASCAR and the Cup Series.