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"Remembering" Davey Allison

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Davey Allison
February 25, 1961 – July 13, 1993
Born In Hollywood, Florida, USA.

He was best known for driving the #28 Texaco-Havoline Ford for Robert Yates Racing. He was the eldest of four children born to Bobby Allison and wife Judy. The family moved to Hueytown, Alabama and along with Bobby's brother Donnie Allison, family friend Red Farmer, and Neil Bonnett, became known in racing circles as the Alabama Gang.
Growing up, Allison participated in athletics, preferring football, but was destined, like many children of racers, to become a racer himself. He began working for his father's Winston Cup team after graduating high school, and would work after-hours on his own race car, a Chevy Nova built by Davey and a group of his friends affectionately known as the "Peach Fuzz Gang". He began his career in 1979 at Birmingham International Raceway and notched his first win in just his sixth start. He became a regular winner at BIR and by 1983, was racing in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) series. Allison won both ARCA events at his "home track", Talladega Superspeedway in 1983, and was named ARCA Rookie of the Year in 1984, placing second in the series title. Allison continued racing in the ARCA series in 1985 and eventually notched eight wins in the series, four at Talladega Superspeedway. He also began competing in some of NASCAR's lower divisions and in July 1985, car owner Hoss Ellington gave him his first chance to drive a Winston Cup car in the Talladega 500. Allison qualified Ellington's Chevrolet 22nd and finished 10th in his first Winston Cup start.

In his short NASCAR Winston Cup career, Davey Allison competed in a total of 191 Winston Cup Series races, with 19 wins, 92 top ten finishes, 14 poles and earned $6,724,174.
His achievements include; 1992 Daytona 500 Winner, 1991 Coca-Cola 600 Winner, 1987, 1989, 1992 Winston 500 Winner, 1991, 1992 The Winston Winner, 1993 IROC Champion (posthumously), 1987 Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year and 1983 ARCA Talladega Super Car Series Rookie of the Year. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers and inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

On Monday, July 12, 1993, Davey Allison boarded his newly acquired Hughes 369HS helicopter to fly to Talladega Superspeedway to watch family friend Neil Bonnett and his son David test a car for David's Busch Series debut. He picked up another family friend, legendary racer Red Farmer, en route to the track. Allison was attempting to land the helicopter inside a fenced-in area of the track infield when the craft nosed up suddenly, then crashed. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on Allison's inexperience in helicopters, coupled with the decision to attempt a landing. Neil Bonnett was able to free a semi-conscious Farmer from the wreckage, but Allison was unresponsive and could not be freed until paramedics arrived. Farmer would go on to a lengthy but successful recovery, but Allison never regained consciousness after sustaining a critical head injury. He was pronounced dead at 7:00 a.m. the next morning by a neurosurgeon at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham after a procedure to relieve pressure on his brain proved unsuccessful.
Thousands packed the auditorium at St. Aloysious Church in Bessemer, Alabama to pay their respects at his funeral. He is buried near his brother, Clifford, in Bessemer's Highland Memorial Gardens. After the final race of the season, series champion Dale Earnhardt and race winner Wallace drove a side by side Polish Victory Lap carrying flags for fallen drivers Alan Kulwicki and Allison.
Allison was leading the IROC series championship at the time of his death, with one race remaining in the four race series. Terry Labonte drove the final race in place of Allison and secured the championship for him. Allison's championship money, $175,000, was set up as a trust fund for his children.
On April 28, 2003, the mayor of Hueytown, Alabama declared it Davey Allison Day and is celebrated on the weekend of the springtime Talladega race.
Ten years after Allison's first win, Texaco debuted the throwback Battlestar paint scheme in his memory. It ran two races, but in the second, at the 1997 DieHard 500 in October, Ernie Irvan put the throwback Battlestar on the pole. Later, Texaco would often use the throwback paint scheme for their drivers at the track until they discontinued sponsorship.
The R. K. Allen Oil Company, the Talladega-based distributor for Texaco in the area, remembered the legacy of Allison with the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in the city of Talladega, where fans vote drivers, past and present, to a specially themed "hall of fame" for drivers. The induction ceremony takes place at the AMP Energy 500 weekend.
Allison also had his own brand of chili by Bunker Hill with his face on the can. Allison also had a comic book printed about him during his racing days.
A road called "Allison-Bonnett Memorial Drive" in his hometown is honored by him, along with fellow native Neil Bonnett, who died a year after Davey.
In the videogames NASCAR 99 and NASCAR 2000, he appears as an unlockable NASCAR Legend with his Texaco Ford that he drove from 1987–1989.
Racing Champions ran diecast model of Allison's car as a tribute after his death which were cars Allison drove during his career. Allison's replacement, Ernie Irvan, appeared as a promotional diecast 28 car to pay tribute to the team's win at Martinsville. Only 20,000 of them were released.

Posted by Dave Wheeler
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