Davey Allison, Stock Cars, Class of 2021
If you look up determination... guts... and perseverance in the dictionary, the first name you would find associated with each would be Davey Allison. Davey had no idea what "I can't" or "that's not possible" even meant. He wanted to win every race, lead every lap and sit on every pole. Davey Allison was the most competitive race car driver you would ever run across.
Davey was born Feb. 25, 1961 in Hollywood, Florida to Bobby and Judy Allison, the oldest of four children. Not long after, the Allisons moved to Hueytown, Alabama where eventually Davey, Bobby and brother Donnie, along with close friends Red Farmer and Neil Bonnett, became known as the "Alabama Gang."
In high school, Davey tried his hand at a few sports, but the apple didn't roll far from the tree. In 1979, he worked at his dad's race shop during the day, then, at night, Davey and several friends, known as "The Peach Fuzz Gang" built his first late model, a Chevy Nova. He won his first race in just his sixth start.
Davey rose quickly through the ranks. He joined the ARCA Series in 1983 and was named Rookie of the Year. He made his first NASCAR Cup Series start in the summer of 1985 in Hoss Ellington's No. 1 and finished 10th.
The turning point came in 1987 when he was hired by Harry Ranier to drive the No. 28. Davey won his first Cup race at Talladega and, two races later, Dover, going on to score 1987 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year.
In 1989, Robert Yates bought the team and the real magic started. From 1987-93, Davey won 19 races. His Cup career consisted of 191 starts, 19 wins, 92 Top 10s and 14 poles.
And Davey had a knack for winning the big races, including the 1991 Coca-Cola 600, 1992 Daytona 500 and back-to-back Winston All-Star Races. He could win on any type of track — superspeedways, intermediates, short tracks. He even won on the Sonoma road course in 1991.
Just a few examples of Davey's drive and determination I witnessed during our time together:
- At North Wilkesboro, spring of 1992, with injured ribs and a bruised shoulder from a wreck at Bristol the week before, Davey not only ran the entire race, he won.
- At Talladega in 1992, after a bad crash the week before at Pocono that required surgery on his right wrist, he began the race with his hand Velcroed to the shifter to get the starting points.
- At Michigan in 1992, he had to race on the same track where his brother, Clifford, was killed the day before in a Busch Series crash. Davey finished fifth.
We lost Davey in a helicopter crash on July 13, 1993 at 32 and people still recognize how great he was. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers and inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. In 2019, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall Of Fame. Gone way too soon, we all miss that special Davey Allison smile, but there is comfort in knowing he is looking down on us, still smiling at the people and the sport he truly loved.
By Larry McReynolds
Two-time Daytona 500 winning crew chief, FOX NASCAR analyst and author Larry McReynolds was Davey Allison's crew chief from 1991-1993.