A Look Back In Talladega History: Donnie Allison Shares Memories of Talladega
As a founding member of the Alabama Gang, Donnie Allison carries fond memories of his “home track” Talladega Superspeedway. In 21 NASCAR Cup Series starts, Allison won twice and earned the pole award twice.
When asked about his favorite on-track memory at Talladega, Allison says it was the 1971 Winston 500 (now Aaron’s 499), in which he started from the pole and found himself in Victory Lane after a hard-fought win.
“There’s quite a few of them (favorite memories),” said Allison. “The first race I won here really stands out. But we had so many tremendously good races. We put on quite a show several times.
“I think probably ’71, when I won the race in a Wood Brothers car (stands out). We came down and had a caution. We had what they call a green-white-checkered now. It was actually a one-lap drag race. We didn’t have radios where we could talk back and forth to the pit like they do now. I was just saying to myself, ‘Just do whatever I had to do to be around in first’ and I made it. Benny Parsons was involved, Bobby (Allison) was involved, Buddy Baker… it was quite a finish.”
But not all of Allison’s favorite memories occurred on the 2.66 mile tri-oval. Many fond memories were formed just through interaction with the fans at Talladega.
“We used to come about 6 or 6:30 every race morning because the infield would be so filled with people,” said Allison. “We came in the back gate. That’s how we had to get in. We were coming around there and there were already people standing out in the middle of the road with sheets with names of drivers ‘Go Buddy,’ or ‘Go Donnie,’ or ‘Go Bobby,’ or ‘Go David’ or ‘Go Petty’ or go somebody. I use to tell my wife, ‘where in the world would you ever find fans this loyal who would be out here this time in the morning with a sheet with a name wrote on it’.”
Allison made starts at Talladega from 1971 till 1982. His average starting position at Talladega was 11.6 and his average finishing position was 19.1. In 21 starts, he earned 9 top-10 finishes.
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.
Race fans should make plans now to experience part of Talladega’s history in 2009 during the triple-header, Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 24-26, featuring the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For tickets, 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.