Two of NASCAR's all-time racing greats were inducted into Hampton's (GA) Speed Lane on Thursday. Bobby Allison and his late son Davey were inducted into the city's walk of fame on Thursday evening. The induction of Davey Allison was a surprise for those in attendance, as only Bobby's induction had been announced beforehand. Bobby was introduced to the crowd by Hampton Mayor Steve Hutchison, who spoke of some of Allison's many accomplishments in racing, including the 1983 Winston Cup Grand National Championship, 84 career victories and three Daytona 500 wins in 1978, 1982 and 1988.
"I've had lots and lots of good days up and down the road," Allison said. "This is another real good one. I like this track out here, I got to win quite a few times." Hutchison noted that Bobby was "a pretty good boxer," referencing a famous incident at the end of the 1979 Daytona 500 when Allison and his brother Donnie got into a post-race fight with Cale Yarborough after Donnie and Yarborough crashed going for the victory on the final lap of the race. "I did not box," Allison said. "I stood there with my fist out and the guy kept beating on my fist with his nose." The crowd laughed heartily at Allison's recollection of the incident.
Hutchison presented Allison with two proclamations honoring him and his son. Bobby's proclamation notes that he had 84 career wins, which is what NASCAR officially credits Allison with. However, Allison stated he has 85 career wins. The discrepancy centers on an Aug. 6, 1971, race at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. when Allison won driving a Ford Mustang. NASCAR does not credit Allison with the victory as the Mustang was not a Grand National-class car, but rather a Grand American-class car. The cars, which were less powerful and lighter, could race with Grand National cars to increase field sizes. "There's one race in the NASCAR record book that has no winner. I went there, ran the race, got the trophy and got the money, so I should get the credit for the win." Officially, Allison is tied for fourth with old rival Darrell Waltrip for most wins in NASCAR with 84.
The induction of Bobby's son Davey was a surprise to all. Davey, the 1992 Daytona 500 winner, scored 19 wins in a career cut short by his death in a helicopter accident at the Talladega Superspeedway in 1993.
Both the Allisons remain two of NASCAR's most popular drivers. A long line of fans greeted Bobby Allison and fellow NASCAR champion Rex White for autographs at the event Thursday. White, the 1960 Grand National (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup) series champion, lives in Fayetteville.
Ed Clark, the president of the Atlanta Motor Speedway, viewed the event as a welcomed new tradition for race weekend. "This is the unofficial official kickoff to race weekend," Clark said. "It's something we've done five years and it's a lot of fun. We see a lot of the same faces out every year. It's a great tie-in for the racing event we're having at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and our local community."
After the induction of the Allisons, the haulers of most of the teams that run in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series paraded down Main Street in Hampton.
--- Henry Herald ---