Bobby Allison discovered his love for racing as a high school senior living in Miami, Florida in 1955. He convinced his mother to sign a waiver so that he could compete in a newly created Amateur Division at Hialeah Speedway. He entered the race and placed 7th out of 40 drivers. A few more races and a few wrecks later, his father ordered him to stop racing. But his competitive drive and desire for victory eventually won out.
After high school, in 1959 he and his brother Donnie, along with a friend named Red Farmer headed to Alabama for more lucrative racing. When they arrived in Montgomery, Bobby heard of a race that very night in Midfield. He entered that race and won, as well as two other races that week. He and his buddies later became known as the Alabama Gang and that was just the beginning of Bobby Allison’s brilliant racing career.
Bobby eventually made his way into the NASCAR circuit. His career lasted for over 2 decades and during that time he officially won 84 Winston Cup races. Two other races should have been listed as wins, but due to technicalities, were not counted as victories.
During Bobby’s career, he brought a dozen different teams to victory lane and drove eight different makes of race cars. He won the Daytona 500 three times, the last of which was his final career victory. He finished just ahead of his son Davey. It was the first father/son, first and second win at Daytona. Bobby was the oldest driver to win the Daytona 500 at age 50.
Despite his numerous wins, Bobby’s greatest desire was to win the coveted NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National championship. After coming close numerous times, he began to wonder if he would ever achieve the championship. “I’ve come so close so many times,” he said with discouragement in his voice. “Maybe I’m never going to win a Winston Cup championship.” Then, in 1983 Bobby Allison finally achieved his dream and won the NASCAR championship. He was ecstatic. “I’ve worked hard for a long, long time,” he said after the championship was locked up. “My wife Judy has worked with me, and so many people have supported me over the years. This is something I have wanted for my entire career and today I’m going to celebrate it. I just thank God for it.”
In 1988 Bobby’s driving career ended when he suffered serious injuries in a wreck at Pocono. He sustained a head injury that almost killed him. After a long recovery, he returned to the racing scene as a team owner for many successful drivers like Hut Stricklin, Jimmy Spencer, and Derrike Cope. Bobby Allison remains one of the greatest ever to sit behind the wheel of a racecar and even though he lost two sons who followed him into racing, his fans still see his resilient spirit, positive attitude, and warm smile.
Born: December 3, 1037
Birthplace: Hialeah, Florida
Awards: 1983 Winston Cup Champion
Named one of NASCARS’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998
Inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993
Inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992
1980 IROC Champion
NASCAR Spring Cup Series Statistics
718 races run over 25 years.
Best Cup Position: 1st – 1983 (Winston Cup)
First Race: 1961 Daytona 500
Last Race: 1988 Miller High Life 500 (Pocono)
First Win: 1966 Race #31 (Oxford Plains Speedway)
Last Win: 1988 Daytona 500
Wins Top Tens Poles
84 446 58
NASCAR Nationwide Series Statistics 43 races run over 7 years.
First Race: 1982 Sportsman 200 (Dover Downs International Speedway)
Last Race: 1988 Winn-Dixie 300 (Charlotte Motor Speedway)
First Win: 1984 Mello Yello 300 (Charlotte Motor Speedway)
Last Win: 1988 Goody’s 300 (Daytona International Speedway)
Wins Top Tens Poles
2 22 0