Allison has fond memories of Daytona 500
NASCAR hall of fame member Bobby Allison signs an autograph for a fan before the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in March. (Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)
But the memories of Daytona that Allison treasures most don't come from the 1979 backstretch brawl with Cale Yarborough.
And, of course, there's the Daytona 500 Allison doesn't remember at all. In 1988, he and son Davey Allison finished 1-2 in the Great American Race. But a horrific crash at Pocono in June of that year critically injured Allison, ended his career and wiped out all memory of the historic run with Davey.
The ruckus in 1979 is a different matter. Allison remembers that race as if it were yesterday. Brother Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough wrecked each other on the final lap, battling for the win, Bobby stopped his car on the infield grass, climbed from the car and defended his brother's honor with his fists.
The sanctioning body nevertheless made the drivers pay the price for behaving badly.
Donnie Allison and Yarborough, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively, earned enough money to cover the fine, and NASCAR withheld $6,000 each from the purse for those two drivers. Bobby Allison wasn't so fortunate. His prize money, exclusive of contingencies, wasn't enough to cover the fine.
"So then we were good boys for a few weeks, and NASCAR refunded the prize money withheld. They've still got my $2,000."
In all seriousness, though, his love for Daytona remains undiminished. Allison was the last driver to sweep both NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the 2.5-mile superspeedway before Jimmie Johnson added his name to the elite list last Saturday.
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