Long gives Savage a shot

Monday, June 10, 1968 – Three days after driver Bobby Allison announced he was leaving the team, car owner Bondy Long announced a one-race deal with driver Swede Savage for the No. 29 Ford entry in NASCAR’s premier series. Savage, 21, was scheduled to make his first start of the season in the Carolina 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway.

Savage made three starts in ’67 for Holman-Moody Racing, with a best finish of sixth at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Other starts had come at Hickory, N.C., and North Wilkesboro, N.C.

Although he raced motorcycles competitively as a teen, he was considered a protégé of West Coast veteran racer Dan Gurney.

Savage finished 13th at Rockingham, then third at Bristol. He made four more starts, with the Wood Brothers, Smokey Yunick and Banjo Matthews, in ’69 before turning to open-wheel competition.

The Bondy Long team was run by 26-time race winner Fred Lorenzen, who had curtailed his racing obligations. Lorenzen had won the Carolina 500 in 1966 and was crew chief in ’67 when Allison went to victory lane.

Ned Jarrett had won the ’65 title while racing for Long.

Allison left the team, and Ford, to campaign his own Chevelle, citing a lack of racing opportunities provided by the organization.

Allison endures heat for Dover win

Sunday, June 6, 1971 – On a broiling day that saw some of NASCAR’s top stars sidelined by fatigue, Bobby Allison persevered to collect his 20th career win in the premier series with a victory in the Mason-Dixon 500 at Dover International Speedway. The temperature in Dover, Del. exceeded 90 degrees – inside the cars it was said to be as high as 140. Allison took the checkered flag a full lap ahead of the runner-up entry of Richard Petty.

Fred Lorenzen was credited with the runner-up although he was replaced by Bobby Isaac with 60 laps remaining; Isaac had gotten out of his own car, which was taken over by Pete Hamilton. Petty was credited with a third-place finish – he was replaced by fellow Petty Enterprises driver Buddy Baker who had fallen out just past the halfway point with an engine issue.

The race remains the only caution-free Cup race at Dover. In spite of a lack of yellow flags, the race still took 4 hr., 30 min. to complete.

Allison’s Holman-Moody team had planned to run a Mercury in the race, but Ralph Moody said team made a last-minute call to switch and raced a Ford instead.

To help cool their driver, the pit crew sprayed Allison with a water hose during pit stops.

Allison’s winning average speed of 123.119 mph was a record for a 1-mile track.

Pre-double Donnie scores at ‘Dega

Sunday, May 16, 1971 – Donnie Allison won what amounted to a one-lap drag race with brother Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker to capture the Winston 500 at Alabama International Motor Speedway for his sixth career victory in NASCAR’s premier series. The one-lap shootout was set up when Dave Marcis blew an engine while leading with less than 10 laps remaining.

Donnie Allison won in his first start at the massive 2.66-mile speedway in a race that featured 42 lead changes and a 50-car starting field.

It was the fourth 1-2 finish for Donnie and Bobby Allison; Donnie had won all four. Bobby would beat his brother for the win for the first time later that same month in the World 600.

A day before the Winston 500, Donnie Allison had been in Indianapolis where he qualified 20th for the Indianapolis 500 as a teammate to A.J. Foyt.

Foyt was handling most of the driving duties for the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing winning team that season, having won at Ontario and Atlanta. However, Allison was filling in while Foyt focused on the Indy 500.

Marcis gave up his own ride to drive the No. 71 K&K Insurance Dodge. That team’s regular driver, Bobby Isaac, was hospitalized just days earlier with kidney stones. Isaac was released in time to watch much of the race from the press box.

The race was the first for the series with Winston naming rights.

Cornelia Wallace, wife of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, was the honorary pace car driver for the race.

Davey wins, Bobby flips, NASCAR reacts

Sunday, May 3, 1987 – Second-generation racer Davey Allison charged to his first career victory in NASCAR’s premier series when he captured the Winston 500 at Alabama International Motor Speedway (now Talladega Superspeedway). Allison led 101 of 178 laps in a race that was shortened 10 laps due to a 2 hr., 38 min. delay caused by a crash involving his father, 1983 premier series champion Bobby Allison.

The win came in the younger Allison’s 14th start in the series and was the first of 19 he would earn before his death six years later. His No. 28 Ford, fielded by owner Harry Ranier, crossed the finish line 0.65 second ahead of runner-up Terry Labonte.

Bobby Allison’s car became airborne on lap 22 while running through the tri-oval at the 2.66-mile track and tore down approximately 150 feet of fencing along the frontstretch. Debris thrown into the grandstands injured several spectators – three were transported to areas hospitals with non-life- threatening injuries. Others were seen and released by safety personnel at the track. Bobby Allison was not injured nor were any of the nine other drivers involved in the incident.

Bill Elliott had established a series qualifying record only days earlier at the Talladega track with his lap of 212.809 mph. Lap speeds were consistently in the 208-210 mph range throughout the race.

Because of the Allison incident, NASCAR required the use of smaller carburetors at remaining Talladega and Daytona races that season, a move to slow the cars down. At that time, those were the only two tracks where cars exceeded 200 mph.

When teams returned to Daytona the following February, NASCAR had mandated the use of carburetor restrictor plates to slow the cars. That process remained in place until the completion of this year’s Daytona 500. Engines are now equipped with tapered spacers, which also restrict horsepower, instead of the plates.

Silver Fox to fill seat for departing Allison

Friday, March 28, 1980 – David Pearson, winner of 104 NASCAR premier series races and two championships, is named to replace Donnie Allison as driver of the No. 1 Hoss Ellington entry just five races into the season. The amicable split left Allison hoping to find a ride with a team competing full-time on the circuit. The Ellington organization was expected to compete in no more than a dozen races, a schedule Pearson finds attractive.

Pearson made nine starts with the Hawaiian Tropic-sponsored team in ’80. He won in his first start with the team, capturing the Rebel 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. It was his 105th and final win in NASCAR’s top series. He also finished second at Daytona that July and second when the series returned to Darlington for the annual Southern 500.

Allison drove for the Ellington organization from 1977 through ’80. He made just three starts in his final season with the team, finishing seventh (Daytona), fifth (Rockingham) and 26th (Atlanta). Four of his 10 career wins came while driving for the team.