A Look Back In TSS History - 1971 A Good Year For "The Gang"
If there ever was such a thing as a home track advantage, Bobby and Donnie Allison of the famed Alabama Gang found it at Talladega Superspeedway in 1971.
Based out of nearby Hueytown, Ala., the Allison brothers were fan favorites at Talladega. Older brother Bobby had finished second in the NASCAR Grand National series (now Sprint Cup) point standings in 1970, while Donnie plied his trade in both the Modified and Grand National ranks. Both drivers won three times in NASCAR’s premier division in 1970 and were eager to find success at their “home” track.
Winston brought a new sponsorship to Talladega in 1971 and a bevy of drivers followed, seeking to cash in on the record purse for the Winston 500. It became clear early in the weekend that drivers hoping for a trip to victory lane had stiff competition - the Allison boys. Donnie took the pole position with a qualifying speed of 185.869 mph and Bobby was close behind in third with a speed of 185.358 mph.
The thrilling race produced a new track record with 45 lead changes among four different drivers. Donnie fended off charges from Bobby, Buddy Baker and Dave Marcis throughout the race. When all was said and done, Donnie won with an average speed of 147.419 mph and Bobby finished just behind in second. Race fans witnessed history that day with a record for competition and a local driver crowned champion. It seemed nothing could top the weekend, but it turned out to be just the beginning.
When the NASCAR circuit returned to the track for the 1971 Talladega 500, Donnie again captured the pole, this time with a speed of 187.232 mph. Bobby found himself in a familiar position, second behind his brother. The tables turned quickly once the race began however, as Donnie fell out of the race 44 laps in due to engine trouble. Without his brother to contend with, Bobby finally found the victory he had so desperately sought, finishing with an average speed of 145.945 mph. Another track record for competition was set as well, with 54 lead changes among six different drivers.
Race fans can experience part of Talladega’s history this fall, during the 40th running of the AMP Energy 500 weekend, Oct. 3-5. Visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.
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