Friday, April 10, 2009

Bobby Allison Returning to Thunder Road

NASCAR legend Bobby Allison will return to "The Nation's Site of Excitement," Barre's Thunder Road, on Thursday night, June 18, to help celebrate the track's 50th season of racing. Allison was the 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) Series Champion, and officially ranks in a third-place tie with Darrell Waltrip with 84 career victories on the series.

Allison previously visited Thunder Road in 1999 as part of the track's 40th Anniversary celebration.

"The track’s intention is to honor the greats from the '60s to today, national stars and Thunder Road’s own greats," said Thunder Road founder and co-owner Ken Squier. "Actually we’re planning to present another NASCAR star driver for the future who will compete against Thunder Road regulars later this season," said Squier. "No one better represents the spirit of racing. Bobby raced four and five nights a week. He said for him it was his golf game and he loved the short tracks as much as the Super Speedways."

The patriarch of the famed "Alabama Gang," Allison began racing short tracks near his home in Hialeah, Fla. in the 1950s with brother Donnie. After relocating in the 1960s, the two drivers, along with Red Farmer, Neil Bonnett, and Bobby Allison's son, Davey and Clifford, put Hueytown, Ala. on the world's auto racing map.

Bobby Allison won the NASCAR National Modified championship in 1964 and 1965 before taking his first Sprint Cup Series victory at Maine's Oxford Plains Speedway the following season. Allison was involved in perhaps the sport's most important moment - "The Fight" at the 1979 Daytona 500, which also involved brother Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough - with Squier leading the call on CBS television.

Allison's driving career ended in 1988 after a horrific crash at Pocono, Penn. left him with critical injuries. Just months earlier, Allison beat his son, Davey, in a 1-2 finish at the Daytona 500, the final victory of his career. Following his recovery, he continued in the sport as a car owner until 1996.

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