Hillin wins a scorcher at Talladega

Sunday, July 27, 1986 – Bobby Hillin Jr. survived the soaring temperatures and held off a red-hot Tim Richmond to score his only NASCAR premier series win with a victory in the Talladega 500 at Alabama International Motor Speedway. The win came in Hillin’s 78th start in the series and snapped a two-race win streak enjoyed by Richmond.

Hillin became the series’ youngest winner with the victory, at 22 years, 1 month and 22 days.

Hillin competed for a dozen years after his Talladega win, eventually ending his career with 334 starts, eight top-five and 43 top-10 finishes.

It was the second career victory for team owners Billy and Mickey Stavola, who fielded the No. 8 Buick for Hillin as well as the No. 22 Buick for Bobby Allison.

Davey Allison made his only career start for team owner Junior Johnson, filling in for an injured Neil Bonnett in Johnson’s No. 12 Chevrolet. Allison finished seventh. After making infrequent starts for Hoss Ellington and the Sadler Brothers, the start was the final time Allison would compete in a Chevrolet.

Bonnett had suffered rib and shoulder injuries the previous weekend during a crash at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

Ricky Rudd finished third in the No. 15 Bud Moore Ford, with an assist from Rusty Wallace. Rudd exited the car due to illness and turned the driving over to Wallace, who had fallen from the race earlier due to engine issues in his Blue Max Racing Pontiac.

The race featured a then-record 26 drivers leading one or more laps. There were 48 lead changes.

Hillin was the 12th different winner of the season, tying the NASCAR record set in 1983 and matched in ’84.

Thirty-nine of the 40 cars in the lineup qualified at more than 200 mph.

Five fined for monkeying with manifolds

Wednesday, June 29, 1988 – NASCAR officials seized the intake manifolds from five of its premier series teams and quickly fined the five drivers $5,000 each prior to practice for the Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The drivers fined were Davey Allison (Ranier Racing), Buddy Baker (Baker/Schiff Racing), Ken Bouchard (Whitcomb Racing), Dale Jarrett (Hoss Ellington) and Cale Yarborough (Cale Yarborough Motorsports).

NASCAR determined the teams were attempting to get around the limitations of the 1-inch restrictor plate in use for the upcoming race by altering the manifolds. Some manifolds had small holes bored in them while others were not seated flush against the gasket, allowing air into the engine

Officials also confiscated a faulty gasket from the Ford driven by Kyle Petty, however the third-generation driver was not fined.

Winston Cup director Dick Beatty said he informed teams that officials would be on the lookout for anyone attempting to get around the horsepower-restricting plates. Anyone caught a second time for a similar infraction would be suspended for 12 weeks.

Rudd penalized, Allison wins

Sunday, June 9, 1991 – Davey Allison collects the victory, his second of the season, after officials penalize Ricky Rudd for rough driving on the penultimate lap of the Banquet Frozen Foods 300 NASCAR premier series race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Rudd was black flagged for contact in Turn 11 and assessed a five-second penalty, leaving him second in the final rundown.

While Allison went straight to victory lane, despite crossing the finish line four seconds behind Rudd, it took officials two hours to officially declare the Robert Yates Racing driver the winner.

Allison led two of the race’s 74 laps; it was his 10th premier series victory and his first on the 2.52-mile California road course.

Officials described the contact from Rudd’s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet as “unnecessary and avoidable,” despite the fact that several similar incidents had occurred throughout the race but did not result in penalties.

Rudd, to no one’s surprise, wasn’t pleased with the ruling, comparing the actions to those of the “World Wrestling Federation” and saying it was “the best example of how NASCAR makes their own rules. NASCAR needs a Ford in victory lane.” Chevrolet, Pontiac and Oldsmobile had won 10 of the first 11 races of the season – Allison’s win in the Coca-Cola 600 two weeks earlier had been Ford’s first of the year.

Chad Little, upset about contact from Ernie Irvan during the race, traded blows with the Morgan-McClure Motorsports driver in the garage afterward. The pair were eventually separated by officials.

Former Trans-Am champion Tommy Kendall nearly pulled off the upset while driving for an injured Kyle Petty. Kendall led laps 60-71 before contact with Mark Martin left him with a flat tire and no shot at the win. Petty had suffered a broken leg the previous month when he was involved in a multi-car crash at Talladega Superspeedway.

There were rumors of a sponsor pullout by Proctor & Gamble companies Tide and Folger’s coffee in part due to the Sonoma incidents. Tide was Rudd’s sponsor at the time while Folger’s backed Martin. The coffee brand did exit the sport at the end of the season, however Tide remained as a primary sponsor for more than a decade.

A hard crash in Turn 2 with 10 laps remaining ended the race for Richard Petty and sent the winner of 200 premier series races to a local hospital for further examination.

Rusty Wallace, Irvan and Ken Schrader finished behind Allison and Rudd.

Allison blisters Coke 600 field

Sunday, May 26, 1991 – Davey Allison spanked the field at Charlotte Motor Speedway, rolling to an easy victory in the NASCAR Cup Series’ longest points event, the Coca-Cola 600. The official margin of victory over runner-up Ken Schrader was a deceptive 1.28 seconds – the race for the checkered flag wasn’t that close. Allison’s No. 28 Ford led 263 of the race’s 400 laps.

The win was the ninth of Allison’s career and his first in the 600, long considered one of NASCAR’s “crown jewel” events.

Allison became the third member from his family to win the event – his father Bobby won the race in 1971, ’81 and ’84; uncle Donnie Allison won the 1970 edition.

The Robert Yates Racing team had to change the engine in the car 90 minutes before the start of the race because of an issue with exhaust valve stem seals.

Allison’s feat was so impressive (it came on the heels of a dominating performance the week before in the series’ all-star race) it led Richard Childress Racing driver Dale Earnhardt to question the legality of the race engine. “Ain’t no way you can outrun an illegal car,” Earnhardt quipped after finishing third.

The race was the debut of new team owner Flossie Johnson. The wife of team owner Junior Johnson had taken on the new role after her husband was suspended and fined for an oversized engine in the previous week’s all-star race. Johnson was originally suspended 12 weeks for the infraction, however it was reduced to four upon appeal.

Tommy Ellis, filling in for the injured Geoff Bodine in the re-numbered No. 97 fielded by Mrs. Johnson, finished 16th.

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.