Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
This weekend is one of those races that most NASCAR fans have circled on their calendar. While many will argue that restrictor plate racing isn't "real" racing, the tight packs, high speeds, and breathtaking action are undoubtedly exciting if not a little nerve-wracking. Or maybe make that nerve-"wrecking". When the green flag drops at what was formerly known as Alabama International Speedway this weekend in Talladega, there will be one driver absent from the field that many will fondly remember and wish was taking part in the action. No, I am not talking about Mark Martin, who will be sacked out on the couch Sunday with barbecue sauce all over his fingers. I am referring to one of the greatest drivers of the modern era, one who was unable to find out just how bright his Texaco-Havoline star could shine. This week it is only fitting that we profile one of the Alabama Gang's finest, Davey Allison.
David Carl Allison was born February 25th, 1961 in Hollywood, Florida. The oldest son of the 3rd all-time winningst driver Bobby Allison and wife Judy, Davey and his brother Clifford really had no other choice than to join their father, uncle Donnie, as well as friends Red Farmer and Neil Bonnet, as charter members of the Alabama Gangâ€¦.even though the Allisons were Florida natives. Davey started racing at the age of 18, driving a car he and his buddies put together, deeming themselves the "Peach Fuzz Gang". He would win both Talladega ARCA races in 1983, and ARCA Rookie of the Year in 1984, while placing in the runner-up spot in the series points standings.
Davey Allison made his first career NASCAR start at Talladega in 1985, driving Hoss Ellington's No. 1 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. Things got off to a promising start as he notched a top 10 finish in his first outing at the big track in a car that was unrestricted, unlike today's machines. The pole speed back then was almost 20mph faster than today's speeds, in cars that actually bore more than a passing resemblance to their street counterparts than today's cars with their cockeyed bodies and headlight stickers. In 1986 he would run a handful of races for the Sadler Brothers, and while subbing for Neil Bonnet in the spring race (Bonnet was injured the week before at Pocono) would notch another top 10 run, this time a 7th place finish in the No. 12 Budweiser Chevrolet.
1987 would be Davey Allison's coming out party. He captured the first pole position of his career at the second race at Richmond, and scored his first career victory at his home track at Talladega in the spring, dominating the event, leading 101 laps of 198. The win was an ironic one. As Davey had just scored his first victory, his father almost put his car in the grandstands in one of the most memorable Talladega "big ones" in history. Davey Allison’s second win would only have to wait two more weeks where he put a hurtin' on â€˜em again at Dover, leading 212 laps of the 500 lap event. His father Bobby led early, leading 147 laps before retiring with engine failure. He would win four more pole positions that summer, and finished second at both Talladega and Dover upon the return trip to those tracks, and also was runner-up at Michigan in June. He would take Rookie of The Year honors, becoming the first rookie to win two races in a season.
In 1988, race fans were treated to one of the most memorable finishes in Daytona 500 history. Davey in his No. 28 Harry Ranier prepared Ford Thunderbird dueled with his father's No. 12 Miller Genuine Draft Buick in the closing laps of the Daytona 500. The CBS cameras captured the action from his car as Bobby drove around Davey to claim racing's biggest prize for cars with fenders. He was soon in victory lane, dousing his dad with a can of Miller High Life. The rest of the 1988 season was an up and down affair. A top five one week would be followed by an engine failure the next. Then things really turned for the worse at Pocono in June. On the opening lap, Davey’s father Bobby was involved in a grinding crash. A tire went down, sending Bobby into the second turn wall, and into the path of another car which struck him in the driver's side door. Davey drove up to the scene under caution and stopped his car to check on his dad, not knowing how badly he had been hurt. Bobby was critically injured in the No. 12 car at Poconoâ€¦.the same track where Neil Bonnet was injured a few years earlier, also driving car No. 12. It would be the same track where Davey would endure a similar fate in the future. Bobby was pulled from the wreckage, clinging to life. He suffered a bruised heart and brain damage, from which to this day he has still not fully recovered. He cannot remember the Daytona 500 from earlier that season.
The following year the team would be bought by Davey’s then crew chief Robert Yates. The horsepower king's swoopy new Thunderbird would win at Talladega in the spring and later in the year at Dover, posting wins at the same two tracks he did in 1987. 1990 would produce a hard fought win at Bristol, barely holding off Mark Martin in what is still one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history, and a second win at Charlotte in the fall. While he only finished thirteenth in points, the No. 28 team was building something special for 1991.
The next year Davey would be united with crew cheif Larry McReynolds, following an ugly falling out with then crew cheif "Suitcase" Jake Elder. The combination was an instant success, and McReynolds seemed to be the missing link for Davey and the new Yates team. The duo got off to a fast start, finishing 2nd in their first race together at Darlington. He would win at Charlotte, Sears Point (following a NASCAR penalty on Ricky Rudd for rough driving on the final turn of the last lap), Michigan, Rockingham, and Phoenix. At the second Michigan race he was involved in another one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history, as he was nudged out by Dale Jarrett who scored his first career win by less than a foot. He also won the Winston All-Star race that year. With Larry McReynolds' leadership and finely tuned racecars, the No. 28 would end the year 3rd in points, and was considered the favorite in 1992 to win the Winston Cup.
Davey and company proved the prognosticators right at the Daytona 500 in 1992, winning the race in dominating fashion. Although a majority of the field was eliminated in a wreck before halfway when Ernie Irvan, Bill Elliott, and Sterling Marlin tangled while battling for the halfway bonus (that paid a whopping $10,000â€¦.paltry by today's standards), the No. 28 team was competing with a back-up car after the primary car was damaged beyond repair in a crash during practice just three days before the 500. While that victory certainly was a high point in 1992, there were a number of lows as well.
During the spring Bristol race, Allison tangled with one of his father's arch nemeses, Darrell Waltrip, injuring his ribs. His grandfather "Pop" Allison would pass away that spring as well. While battling with Kyle Petty door to door on the final lap of the The Winston, the first race run at night at Charlotte under the lights and a full moon, he was involved in a very hard crash on the front stretch. As he attempted to squeeze by Petty as the cars crossed the finish line, he had just won by a nose and the two cars made contact. Davey spun around, hitting the wall driver's side first. Allison would later say that as crews were working to extricate the unconscious driver from his car, he saw a bright white light, and was headed towards it, and had an aerial view of his car with safety crews tearing it apart.
In July, Darrell and Davey would again get together. Depending on the vantage point, going across the Tunnel Turn at Pocono, Davey came down into Darrell, or Darrell moved across the back end of Davey's car. The last shot on television was Davey's car sliding sideways on the grass out of view. The next picture was the No. 28 car stood up on it's nose leaning backwards, as it began a series of violent barrel rolls through the infield and up onto the guardrail, landing a few feet from a rescue vehicle. The car flung everything from the springs and shocks to the steering wheel out of the car. Larry McReynolds was monitoring radio traffic as the crews worked feverishly to extricate Davey, or what was left of him, from his car. Larry happened onto Mark Martin's radio channel just in time to hear him say, "they better get a body bag for Davey." Alas, Davey emerged bruised, beaten, arm broken but conscious and very much alive. Davey returned to driving just a week later, with raccoon eyes and his hand Velcroed to the Hurst shifter in his racecar. Two weeks later however, Davey would loose his younger brother Clifford during practice for an ARCA race at Michigan. Following the penultimate race at Phoenix that year which he won, he entered the final race with a 30-point lead and a solid chance at winning the Winston Cup. Unfortunately for Davey he was involved in an incident on the opening lap that saw his rear quarter panel crushed, and later would be involved in a wreck with Ernie Irvan, dashing his chances at a title.
After a few months to recuperate, recover, and reconcile the loss of his brother, Davey and company were back at it in 1993, again picked as the team to beat to win the Winston Cup. This time they waited until the third race of the year to win, running away with the victory after a dominating early performance by Kyle Petty. As has so often been the case in this sport, that sadly would be the final win of his career. Davey Allison would run his last race at New Hampshire International Speedway in July. During the week before the next race in Pocono, Allison decided to make a trip to his home track, Talladega, to watch his friend David Bonnet run a test session. While arriving at the track by helicopter with fellow Alabama Gang member Red Farmer, the helicopter, only a few feet off the ground, suddenly climbed straight up, rolled over, and crashed on its roof. Neil Bonnet was on hand to witness the horrific event. He freed Red from the wreckage, but could not help Davey. Farmer would survive the crash. Davey Allison would succumb to his injuries the following morning at the age of 32. The No.28 Texaco-Havoline team was shaken by the loss and elected to stay home from the next race at Pocono, but would return to the track in Talladega the following week with young Ford driver Robby Gordon behind the wheel. Later that year, Ernie Irvan would vacate his #4 Kodak Chevrolet to take over the driving duties for the team.
In 1993, Davey was leading the IROC points heading into the final race of the season. Terry Labonte started his car for him, and Davey won the title posthumously. All of the cars for the remainder of the year carried #28 and #7 stickers on the B-pillars, in tribute to Allison and Alan Kulwicki, who was also killed in a plane crash months earlier. Allison was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at his home track in 1998. He was also named to NASCAR's list of 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998, along with his father, in honor of NASCAR's 50th Anniversary.
Davey Allison remains one of the most memorable and popular drivers in the sport. To this day, cars and trucks are proudly emblazoned with faded No. 28 stickers with his signature. The next time you're at a race, keep your eyes pealed; you will no doubt spot a couple of Davey Allison t-shirts proudly worn in tribute to an always favorite driver. I was at the 1992 Daytona 500 when Davey Allison won the crown jewel of stockcar racing. Fans had no idea then it would be a little more than a year later that he would no longer be with us. As Jeff Gordon was circling the track at Phoenix last week with the No. 3 flag in hand, one couldn't help but wonder that had Davey Allison not died in some bizarre accident in 1993, how the racing landscape as we know it would have been changed. Would Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt be tied for 76 wins? Would Dale Earnhardt have seven Championships? Would Jeff Gordon have four? Unfortunately, we will never know just how spectacular Davey Allison’s career would have been. Many believe there is a good chance he'd be knocking on his father's door of 84 wins by now.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Thanks Vito. That was awesome.
When Davey died in that helicopter crash, my boss was a former Army Colonel who flew Cobras in â€˜Nam. The reports said that the aircraft had leapt up into the air and then spun out of control and crashed. Iâ€™m not a pilot, but I spent enough time around choppers to know a little about them. After the crash, I asked my boss if he had heard about the helicopter crash at â€˜Dega. He said â€œYes.â€ I said, â€œHe flew the tail rotor into the fence didnâ€™t he?â€ My boss said, â€œYes.â€
About a year later, the NTSB released its report, saying Davey had hit the fence with the tail rotor. Davey Allison was one heck of a racecar driver. But he was a novice helicopter pilot, and that killed him.
And that leaves us with the haunting questions you posed. What ifâ€¦
Thanks for a great article. Davey was a large part of our home. My oldest son who is now 19 is autistic and could not talk when he was younger. He loved Davey and to this day has Davey items all over his room. As I said he could not talk and my husband and I had taken our son out for drive. Texaco is not here in Upstate NY except for a little station over an hour from where we live. As we passed the station we heard a little voice from the back seat say “Davey”. I almost cried he was pointing at the big Texaco Star. My husband were at the race in Pocono when Davey flipped and that is one crash I don’t think I will ever forget.
Thank you for reminding everyone what an incredible talent Davey was. Davey’s star rose so very fast then..blinked out before our very eyes. Far too fast for his true brilliance to shine. He will be missed, by many, for a long, long time.
I have been following Cup racing since the late 1960’s and my favourite driver was Bobby Allison.
Of course, that expanded to include Davey Allison when he came along. I have to agree with you; there is no way that Earnhardt and Gordon would have accumulated the wins and championships they have if Davey had lived.
Maybe one day, a young driver named Robbie Allison will take up the mantle …