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Five Best Moments of Davey Allison’s Career

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On this day 30 years ago, Davey Allison passed away after injuries sustained in a helicopter crash at Talladega the day prior. He truly is one of NASCAR’s biggest “What-if?” stories given that he passed away right in the middle of the prime of his racing career. However, he still had quite the career to that is still being talked about to this very day, and these are his five best moments.

5. 1989 Winston 500: Davey Gives Robert Yates His First Win

After the 1988 NASCAR season ended, Robert Yates acquired Ranier-Lundy Racing. Davey Allison stayed with Yates following the purchase. Allison was coming off of his second Cup Series season where he won two races and finished a career-high eighth in the points standings.

The first season with the two together was up-and-down, but Robert Yates horsepower began to showcase its’ raw speed on the race track. Allison’s home track of Talladega Superspeedway was the perfect place to showcase it. That May, Allison qualified on the front row alongside Mark Martin.

Allison led a race-high 94 laps on the day, and he took the lead for the final time with nine laps to go passing Morgan Shepherd. Allison would hold on to beat Terry Labonte by two car lengths. It was Allison’s fifth career win, and Yates’ first career win as a car owner.

4. 1992 Daytona 500: Davey Makes the Allison’s the 2nd Father-Son Duo to Win the ‘500’

In 1964, Richard Petty made himself and his father Lee the first father-son duo to win the Daytona 500. Davey Allison had spent the early part of his career trying to make him and his father Bobby the second, but Davey just could not put it all together. Davey started on the front row in 1987, 1988, and on the pole in 1991, but he could only manage a second place finish to his father in 1988.

In 1992, Davey came into Daytona with a skip in his step after two wins in three races to end the 1991 season. He started in sixth, but it took until lap 56 for Davey to finally make it to the front. After avoiding “The Big One” involving the top-3 cars on lap 92, Davey virtually never looked back.

He would lead 99 of the final 109 laps, totaling 127 laps led on the day. Davey would hold off Morgan Shepherd to take home the win. This made Davey and his father Bobby the second father-son duo to win the Daytona 500, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his father Dale Earnhardt have since equaled the feat as well.

3. 1988 Daytona 500: Father & Son 1-2 Finish

The 1988 Daytona 500 was the beginning of an important year for Davey. He had just won Rookie of the Year in 1987 despite running a partial schedule. It was also a big Daytona 500 for NASCAR as it was the first Daytona 500 to feature restrictor plates.

Davey started on the front row alongside Kenny Schrader, with Bobby Allison lined up in third. Bobby and Darrell Waltrip dominated the race by leading 139 laps combined. In the final laps, however, it was Davey who was looking for a way around his father.

In the end, it was the experience of Bobby who beat out the youth of Davey. Bobby would go on to win his third Daytona 500 with his son Davey in tow. It was the first, and to this day the only, father-son 1-2 finish in the Daytona 500.

2. 1987 Winston 500: Davey Wins His First Race After Bobby Crashes

The 1987 Winston 500 was the definition of a bittersweet day for the Allison family. Davey, in his rookie season, started third in the fastest field in NASCAR history. On lap 21, Bobby Allison blew a tire catapulting his car into the air and into the catch fence.

The crash completely destroyed a large section of the catch fence injuring several spectators. It would be the catalyst for NASCAR to restrict speeds at Daytona and Talladega, but the race went on. Davey took the lead for the first time on lap 60, and he would lead 101 of the final 118 laps.

The final lead change occurred with 10 laps to go, as Davey passed Dale Earnhardt. The race was shortened by 10 laps due to impending darkness, and Davey took home his first career Cup Series win. On the same day that Bobby’s crash changed NASCAR forever, his son took home his first Cup Series win.

1. 1992 The Winston: Davey Wrecks and Wins

In 1992, Charlotte Motor Speedway made one last ditch effort to save The Winston, NASCAR’s All-Star Race. Track president “Humpy” Wheeler decided to do what some thought was impossible and run the race at night. Davey Allison and 19 other NASCAR stars ran the race that night.

Allison dominated the first segment by leading all 30 laps, but a mid-race invert pushed him to the back. Slowly but surely, he worked his way through the field. By the final lap of the race, Allison was sitting in third place behind Dale Earnhardt and Kyle Petty.

After Petty and Earnhardt tangled in turn three on the final lap, Allison squeezed underneath Petty to win by a half-car length at the line. As the two crossed the line, they touched, and Allison slammed the outside wall hard. Allison was airlifted to a local hospital following the crash, and he missed the victory lane celebration. However, he did not miss a single race after the injuries.

Many wonder what might have happened had Davey not been killed in that helicopter crash 30 years ago. Those are questions that are impossible to answer, but he still had some incredible moments on the race track while he was alive.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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