|Tuesday, 02 December 2008 14:08|
David Carl "Davey" Allison
Born: February 25, 1961
Died: July 13, 1993, Talladega Superspeedway infield
Notable because: A great Nascar driver but not as good with a helicopter. Crashed his Hughes 369HS helicopter whilst trying a tricky downwind landing at Talledega racetrack.
Davey Allison was a NASCAR race car driver, best known as the driver of the Robert Yates Racing #28 Texaco-Havoline Ford. Born in Hollywood, Florida, he was the eldest of four children born to NASCAR driver Bobby Allison and wife Judy. The family moved to Hueytown, Alabama and along with Bobby's brother Donnie Allison, family friend Red Farmer, and Neil Bonnett, became known in racing circles as the Alabama Gang.
Growing up, Davey participated in athletics, preferring football, but was destined, like many children of racers, to become a racer himself. He began working for his father's Winston Cup team after graduating high school, and would work after-hours on his own race car, a Chevy Nova built by Davey and a group of his friends affectionately known as the "Peach Fuzz Gang". He began his career in 1979 at Birmingham International Raceway and notched his first win in just his sixth start. He became a regular winner at BIR and by 1983, was racing in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) series. Davey won both ARCA events at his "home track", Talladega Superspeedway in 1983, and was named ARCA Rookie of the Year in 1984, placing second in the series title. That same year, he married his first wife, Deborah.
Davey continued racing in the ARCA series in 1985 and eventually notched eight wins in the series, four at Talladega Superspeedway. He also began competing in some of NASCAR's lower divisions and in July 1985, car owner Hoss Ellington gave him his first chance to drive a Winston Cup car in the Talladega 500. Davey qualified Ellington's Chevrolet 22nd and finished 10th in his first Winston Cup start. This impressive showing earned Davey more Winston Cup opportunities in 1986 where he would sub for injured friend and fellow Alabama Gang member Neil Bonnett in Junior Johnson's #12 Budweiser Chevy.
On Monday, July 12, 1993, Davey Allison boarded his newly acquired Hughes 369HS helicopter to fly to Talladega Superspeedway to watch family friend Neil Bonnett and his son, David test a car for David's Busch Series debut. He picked up another family friend, legendary racer Red Farmer, en route to the track. Allison was attempting to land the helicopter inside a fenced-in area of the track infield when the craft nosed up suddenly, then crashed. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on Allison's inexperience in helicopters, coupled with the decision to attempt a landing. Neil Bonnett was able to free a semi-conscious Farmer from the wreckage, but could not reach Allison. Paramedics arrived and freed Allison, who was alive but had suffered serious head injuries. He died the next morning, July 13, 1993, at Carraway Methodist Medical Center. Thousands packed the auditorium at St. Aloysious Church in Bessemer, Alabama to pay their respects at his funeral. He is buried near his brother, Clifford, in Bessemer's Highland Memorial Gardens.
After the final race of the season, series champion Dale Earnhardt and race winner Wallace drove a side by side Polish Victory Lap carrying flags for fallen drivers Alan Kulwicki and Allison.
In his short NASCAR Winston Cup career, Davey Allison posted 19 wins, 66 top-five and 92 top-ten finishes. He also won 14 poles and earned $6,724,174. He is survived by his wife, Liz, and two children, daughter Krista Marie, and son Robert Grey.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 15:55|