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2-Headed Monster: Does Davey Allison Belong in the Hall Of Fame?

The Hall of Fame isn’t “Win and you’re in”

Voting recently opened for fans to cast their ballots for which drivers they feel deserve to be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The class of 2019 will join their peers next January but, in my opinion, there is one driver that shouldn’t be among them.

Davey Allison.

There is no question Allison was a skilled race car driver. I’m not here to sell anyone on the idea that he wasn’t good, but this is the Hall of Fame we’re talking about. I find it borderline ridiculous that everyone who racks up 15 or more Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins is suddenly part of the conversation for induction.

I’m well aware of the case supporting Allison joining his legendary father and others as members. He did win 19 Cup events. He captured the 1992 Daytona 500. Allison even had a shot to win the championship that year, entering the final race at the top of the standings. It’s true he likely would have done a lot more winning had he not lost his life in a tragic helicopter accident in July 1993.

The problem I have with all of that is that it isn’t enough to merit his career as worthy of the sport’s greatest post-driving honor.

First, 19 wins in six and a half years of full-time competition is decent, but it isn’t mind-boggling. Several other drivers have similar victory totals, but they aren’t mentioned as being potential Hall of Famers.

Then, there’s that near-championship.

Well, this isn’t the “Hall of Almost”. To be honest, Allison didn’t even have that many “almosts.” He finished third in points in ’91 and ’92. His next best championship result? Eighth. Hardly a regular contender if you ask me. Even in 1993 prior to his accident, he was fifth in the standings but had only eight top tens through the first 16 races.

What about the Daytona 500 trophy? Plenty of drivers have a replica of the Harley J. Earl in their trophy case. It doesn’t immediately cement a driver as a Hall of Fame contender. Would you cast your ballot for Ryan Newman, Ward Burton or Geoffrey Bodine? All have won the Great American Race. Additionally, Newman and Bodine have similar Cup win totals (18 each) to Allison.

Allison had the potential to be great. But it isn’t the “Hall of Potential.” If it were, surely Adam Petty would belong. Allison never got the chance to show the world how much he was capable of had the duration of his career been more comparable to other NASCAR legends. It simply wasn’t meant to be.

We absolutely can’t fault him for that. But at the same time, the vote shouldn’t be used under the premise of sympathy. I feel like too many people view it as if he got cheated out of a promising career so this is the least we can do. That isn’t why the building at 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Charlotte was erected nearly 10 years ago.

It is the Hall of Fame. The entrants should be measured by the quantity of their personal successes, the significance of those successes and their contributions to the sport as a whole.

For example, when I cast my ballot, it featured Alan Kulwicki. Kulwicki had only five career wins. He had no Daytona 500 victories. He won the 1992 championship that Allison came so close to claiming. So why Kulwicki and not Allison? Simple. The significance of the championship that Kulwicki won.

He was a lone wolf, the owner and driver of a single car team at a time where such a thing was already nearly extinct. Fancy shops with polished floors and multi-car teams owned by automotive industry gurus were already becoming the norm. Kulwicki won a Cup title the likes of which we will almost certainly never see again. Allison, on the other hand, was driving a car owned by one of those automotive industry gurus that would soon join the slew of multi-car teams.

Allison was a good driver. He was a proven winner. But his career simply doesn’t have the unique achievement, undeniable contribution, or sheer volume of success to warrant being voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He is worthy of our adulation and praise. He is worthy of a litany of racing-related accolades.

Just not this one. – Frank Velat

Few Were as Great as No. 28

It’s time for the blasphemous talk to stop because Davey Allison deserves to be in the Hall of Fame like his father before him.

Allison was an incredible driver and one of the toughest in NASCAR history. His 1992 season alone should earn him a spot in the HoF. That man went through horrific crash and nasty injury after horrific crash and nasty injury that season, but kept coming back and almost won the championship. He should have won that title if not for a fluke crash in the final race of the season.

Come on, are we really going to keep a guy out of the HOF simply because he didn’t win a title? He only had six opportunities to win one. You put Allison’s first six seasons up against Martin Truex Jr.’s and Allison would get voted into the Hall every single time, but I bet this recent championship gets Truex in.

Hall of Famer Mark Martin had 23 chances to win a championship and never could. Yes, he won 40 races, slightly more than double Allison’s 19, but Martin did so in more than four times as many starts.

A lot of people are saying that Buddy Baker and Harry Gant will be inducted into the Hall of Fame one day. Allison has one more career win than both of them. Can you imagine how many more wins Allison would have over them had he lived to 54 years old, much less driven until then?

Many expect Dale Earnhardt Jr. to make it into the Hall of Fame after he ended his career with 26 wins. Had Allison not passed away when he did, he would have topped that number in the next two seasons. After all, nobody had more wins from 1991-1992.

If we’re going purely off of wins and championships to qualify for the Hall of Fame, then let’s look even lower than Allison on that list. Curtis Turner is in the HoF with only 17 career wins and no titles. Cotton Owens won nine races and Wendell Scott only won once. Red Byron won the first ever NASCAR championship, but only two races. The drivers all respectively made it into the HoF for reasons other than the stat book, and that has set the precedent to which drivers are inducted.

And the same should go for Davey Allison because of the “what if?” factor. Had Allison not died young, then he likely would have gone on to compete for several races and championships, and Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon might have had their accomplishments stunted a little.

The other main reason that Allison belongs in the HoF is that he created memories to last a lifetime. Who can forget the fierce battle to the finish line in the 1992 Winston where Allison edged Kyle Petty before slamming into the wall and celebrating his victory in the hospital?

One of the most famous Daytona 500s was the 1988 edition that saw Bobby Allison win and Davey finish second. It made the younger Allison’s win of The Great American Race four years later that much more special.

Fans loved Allison; despite being the son of one of the greatest drivers ever, he came off as a down-to-earth, blue-collar guy. If the car needed work done to it, Allison wouldn’t be hiding in his hauler, but rather working on it with his crew. That’s why many were heartbroken when he died and why his legacy has given him a larger-than-life persona.

The quickest way to define whether or not someone is a racing legend is to analyze what driver you think of when you think of a certain number. When I think of No. 43, it’s Richard Petty, No. 3 is Dale Earnhardt and No. 21 is David Pearson. When I think of No. 28, I don’t think of Fred Lorenzen, A.J. Foyt, Bobby Allison, Ricky Rudd, Ernie Irvan or even Cale Yarborough. I associate those drivers with different numbers. The only driver I think of in the No. 28 is Davey Allison.

With that kind of legacy, Allison should, without a doubt, be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

-Michael Massie

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Brian

Totally agree with Michael that Davey Allison should be considered for HoF induction. It is very likely Jeff Gordon does not become JEFF GORDON if Allison is not killed in that helicopter crash at Talladega and Alan Kulwicki in the plane crash in Tenneessee earlier that year.

I like how Frankie boy uses only 19 wins in 6+ years of racing Cup as a reason for exclusion citing others have done that but gives zero examples of who has accomplished that same feat in the same era.

In Allison’s era 1985 – 1995 who else pulled that many wins in their first 6+ years in Cup other than Jeff Gordon, which may not have happened in Kulwicki and Allison had not died. Argument could be made for Allison who also had a huge fan base and as such did make an impact on the sport which is a consideration for hall induction.

Frankie boy, so using your argument there are several NFL players who should also not be in the Football hall of fame in Canton based strictly on stats and so forth. Several QB’s have very mundane and average stats but are in the hall.

Bill B

So Jeff Gordon racked up those wins and championships against Jarrett, Martin, both Labontes, Earnhardt Sr, Wallace, Rudd, Elliott, and others that are HOF candidates but Allison and Kulwicki would have made a huge difference in those stats. So by that reasoning you are implying that Kulwicki and Allison were more talented than all those other drivers that competed against Gordon from the 1994 to 2001 time span.
It’s not worth debating over because debates based on “what if” scenarios are a waste of time that cannot be proven one way or the other but I can’t buy into the premise that those two drivers were any more competitive or talented then the other stars I listed that Gordon beat week after week.

Dan

Amen Bill

DoninAjax

Seems like Frank never saw Davey drive the 28.

Bob

Geoff Bodine should be on the ballot already based on where we are….when you count in his other NASCAR racing wins (55 modified wins in a single year) D500 win, 18 cup wins. (the usual line about bringing power steering) also was one of the last owner drivers to win. He’s the feel good story with a connection to past and present of NASCAR that they need

Jerry Vernold

I absolutely agree Bob! He also brought the full face helmet into NASCAR. Not to mention all he had to endure with being a “Yankee” in a Southern sport. Most all of the drivers that came from the North credit Geoff with breaking the ice for them.

Richard Adams

“Smoky” is more deserving than anyone on this year’s list. I saddens me that Nascar see’s fit to blacklist him.

Linc Leu

If anyone deserves to be in the Hog, it’s the whole entire Allison family. For God’s sake, not only did they make accomplishments other well established drivers could it dream of doing, but did it it less time. It took Dale Jr what 19 years to get 26 wins to Dave’s 19 in 6 years!?! Davey would of soured Dale Sr’s 86 wins and 7 cups. And you can be reasurred Dale Jr will be inducted because of who his daddy is. So Frank cut the B.S. on the Hall of whatever’s you mentioned, because if it was truly inducted by accomplishments, Matt Kenseth would be inducted and not Dale Jr, but we all know how that race will turn out! God Speed Davey and Clifford Allison!

Bill B

“Davey would of soured Dale Sr’s 86 wins and 7 cups”

That’s quite a BS statement there. Total conjecture. No way to prove and the math doesn’t work out either.
19 wins and 0 championship in 6 years.

Based on those numbers and those numbers alone you can only extrapolate 76 wins and 0 championships in 24 years. You can’t just pull numbers out of the air based on only your personal feelings and present them as a logical conclusion.

LOL. Hilarious.
… or are you just trying to stir up shit… (if so it worked on me).

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