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Why Is Donnie Allison a NASCAR Hall of Famer?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

On Friday, Donnie Allison will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame alongside Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus. Allison won 10 races in his Cup Series career, and he is a member of one of NASCAR’s most iconic families. What was it that convinced the voters that a 10-time race winner should be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame?

Read Also:

  • Donnie’s older brother is a Hall of Famer and a member of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers list, Bobby Allison. Donnie’s late nephew, Davey, is also one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers and a Hall of Famer. Donnie was also an original member of the “Alabama Gang” alongside Red Farmer and Bobby Allison.
  • Donnie was voted into the Hall of Fame via the “Pioneer Ballot”. He beat out driver A.J. Foyt, driver Sam Ard, mechanic and car owner Banjo Matthews, and car owner Ralph Moody. Donnie received 53% of the vote.
  • Fans are happy for Allison to join the Hall of Fame, but, some younger fans may not know much about him. Well, here we are to tell you more about Donnie Allison.

His Driving Career

At first glance, fans may look at 10 wins and think, “That’s a solid career, but, is it really Hall of Fame worthy?”. Donnie Allison was not even listed as one of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers in 2023. However, Allison’s career comes down to quality over quantity.

He never finished a full-time NASCAR Cup Series season. The closest he came was in 1974, when he started 21 of 30 races. As a result, he was never a serious threat for a Championship.

However, when he did race, he was fast. In 248 career starts, Allison had 10 wins, 78 top-5s, 115 top-10s, and 18 poles. That comes out to a winning percentage of 4.03%.

That winning percentage is comparable to a few other NASCAR Hall of Famers. Terry Labonte (2.5%) and Bobby Labonte (2.9%) each had far worse winning percentages, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4.12%) is about on par with Allison.

Perhaps the most comparable driver to Allison is Hall of Famer Buddy Baker. Both drivers competed against each other throughout the late 1960s into the 1970s, and Baker won 19 races in 700 starts (2.7%). Again, that percentage is lower than Allison’s.

His totals may not be as impressive, but, a deeper look shows that his numbers are at least on par with other Hall of Famers. It leaves many to ask the question, what if Donnie Allison decided to race full-time? If he would have made 700 starts in his career, same as Baker, these are the totals Allison was on pace for.

  • 28 Wins
  • 220 Top-5s
  • 325 Top-10s
  • 51 Poles

That’s a Hall of Fame resume. We will never know what Allison would have done if he attempted to race full-time, but, when he did race, he was very competitive.

His Contributions to the Sport

Donnie Allison gained some clout because of being a part of the famous “Alabama Gang” and being a part of the Allison family. Both groups did a lot for the sport, and they both account for multiple NASCAR Hall of Famers.

However, Allison’s biggest claim to fame is a race he did not win, the 1979 Daytona 500. The story of the 1979 Daytona 500 cannot be told without mentioning Donnie Allison. His battle with Cale Yarborough and subsequent fight with brother Bobby against Yarborough was one of the most iconic moments in NASCAR history.

The story of NASCAR’s rise cannot be told without mentioning Donnie Allison’s name. He was also a great race car driver, even if he did not race as much as others did. That’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame.

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Joshua Lipowski

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