Named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers, Bobby Allison was born in Miami, Florida in 1937. His passion for the sport showed early and he started racing as a senior in high school. Unfortunately for Allison, his father forced him to quit racing after he had been involved in a few accidents – but Bobby Allison was determined. Shortly after leaving high school in 1959, he and his brother and a few friends went on a search for better racing opportunities. His search ended at the Montgomery Speedway in Alabama and on his first night in the town, he entered and won a race in Midfield. He went on to win two other races that week and decided that he had found what he’d been looking for. He set up shop in Hueytown and before long the group of three – Bobby and Donnie Allison and Red Farmer – became known as the Alabama Gang.
Initially he supported himself as a mechanic and an engine tester, but after winning the modified special division national championship in 1962, he was able to focus solely on driving. In 1965, Allison made the move to the Grand National circuit and just one year later he gained his first victory at the Oxford Plains Speedway. His NASCAR career was incredibly successful and he accumulated 84 victories during the 23 years he raced. Bobby Allison won the NASCAR Winston Cup Championship in 1983 and, in his third win at the Daytona 500 in 1988, he competed with his son, Davey Allison, for first place. Davey came in second. It wasn’t long after that Bobby’s racing career came to a screeching halt in a collision at the Pocono Raceway on June 19 that almost killed him. The injuries that resulted forced him to retire from NASCAR forever – but his legendary driving skills lived on in memory. He was inducted to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993.
Bobby Allison is one of the eight drivers to have won a Career Grand Slam. He continued to be involved with NASCAR racing, and was a car owner from 1990 to 1996 with drivers such as Hut Stricklin, Neil Bonnet and Jimmy Spencer behind the wheel of his cars. Today Allison lives a peaceful life with his wife in Hueytown, Alabama.
The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame is dedicated to remembering and bringing honor to the people and the machines that have been responsible for many memorable and extraordinary moments in racing. All the exhibits and inductees at the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame are testament to the love and commitment that goes into this sport, the long hours and the hard work done by everyone on a racing team.
There is a Board of Directors at the North Carolina Hall of Fame that ensures that all areas of this non-profit organization are taken care of. The board consists of Penske Team Owner Don Miller; Vice Chairman Cecile Ebert; Secretary and Treasurer Wanda Cavin; Bobby Allison, Winton Cup Champion and previous team owner and motor sports broadcaster, Buddy Baker. Other members include Johnny Hayes, Joe Gibbs, Darrell Gwynn, Max Helton, Garry Hill, Benny Parsons, Mickey Nutting, Rusty Wallace and Deb Williams.
The exhibits are constantly being rotated and changed to keep loyal fans returning to the North Carolina Hall of Fame. With more than forty vintage race cars being displayed at the museum, it is not an attraction that visitors should rush through. Cars, such as 1965 Ford Galaxy driven by Fred Lorenzen and by Wendell Scott, are still ready to hit the circuit at any time. The very rare Flathead V-8 1934 Ford is also on display, as well as the “Midnight” Pontiac that was driven to victory many times by Rusty Wallace. Racing uniforms and helmets adorn the walls and the Goodyear Mini-Theatre features some of the most spectacular racing documentaries and footage from year’s gone by.
The N.C. Hall of Fame also has a gift shop on the premises that has a vast variety of shirts, gifts and other memorabilia for the public to take home with them. Garry Hill is responsible for the many wonderful pictures that are displayed and has been commissioned many times over to bring the important racing events back to life. His artistic talent is seen in every painting and the public is able to purchase lithographic prints of his amazing work. The Indy Simulator is another great way to experience the excitement of the racing world.
Inductees to the N.C. Hall of Fame have included Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt and David Pearson. Names such as Maurice Petty, Robert Yates and Dale Inman come to mind when thinking of the recipients of the Snap-On Golden Wrench Award. These names have been written down in history to be seen by future generations. Looking at the future, one often wonders who has what is takes to have their name etched onto that wall?