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.

A Place of Honor for NASCAR’s Legends

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 – The NASCAR Hall of Fame, located in Charlotte, N.C., officially opens to the public. The $195 million project took four years to complete. Kicking off the official opening were NASCAR officials, the governor of North Carolina and legends of NASCAR, including Richard Petty and Junior Johnson, two of the Hall’s inaugural inductees.

A mix of memorabilia and interactive displays are located inside the 150,000 square foot building. The Hall’s centerpiece, however, is Glory Road, a sweeping display of 18 famous vehicles stationed on a “road” that gradually increases in banking to simulate the banking found on various race tracks hosting NASCAR events.

The Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 2010, a class that consisted of NASCAR founder William H.G. France, longtime chairman William Clifton France, known as Bill Jr., Petty, Johnson and Dale Earnhardt.

A Pearson victory and a controversy

Sunday, April 29, 1973 – The Virginia 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway was your typical exciting short-track race, ending with David Pearson in victory lane following a lengthy late-race duel with Cale Yarborough. The pair battled for the top spot for more than 50 laps before Yarborough spun his No. 11 Chevrolet, leaving Pearson to sail away in his No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. But it was a caution on lap 374 of the 500-lap race that left Yarborough and team manager Junior Johnson feeling robbed.

NASCAR officials threw the caution flag to allow an ambulance to exit the track and transport a heart attack victim to a local hospital. Pearson, two laps down earlier in the race, got back on the lead lap when the yellow appeared and after Yarborough had pitted under green moments earlier. Johnson said teams weren’t told the yellow was going to come out and the move “cost us that race.”

The victory was Pearson’s first at Martinsville, one of 11 victories in only 16 starts that season for the Spartanburg, S.C. native.

Yarborough, who led 314 laps, managed to finish second in spite of his late-race spin. Bobby Isaac, Buddy Baker and Cecil Gordon completed the top five.