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Dunkiny "Donnie" Allison
Born: September 7, 1939 in Miami, Florida
Home: Hueytown, AL
Driver website:   www.DonnieAllison.com

Dunkiny "Donnie" Allison  is a former driver on the NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup circuit, who won ten times during his racing career, which spanned the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. He was part of the "Alabama Gang," and is the brother of 1983 champion Bobby Allison and uncle of Davey Allison. He was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.

1979 Daytona 500

Donnie is possibly most remembered for his involvement in a final-lap crash and subsequent fight with Cale Yarborough at the 1979 Daytona 500. Allison was leading the race on the final lap with Yarborough drafting him tightly. As Yarborough attempted his signature slingshot pass at the end of the backstretch, Allison attempted to block him. Yarborough refused to give ground and as he pulled alongside Allison, his left side tires left the pavement and went into the wet and muddy infield grass. As a result, Yarborough began to lose control of his car and contacted Allison's car halfway down the backstretch. As both drivers tried to regain
control, their cars made contact several more times before finally locking together and crashing into the outside wall in turn three. After the cars settled in the grass, Allison and Yarborough began to argue. After they had talked it out, Bobby Allison, who was lapped at that point, pulled over and began defending his brother, and a fight broke out. It all happened on the first nationally televised NASCAR race. Richard Petty, who was over half a lap behind at the time of the crash, went on to win the race. The fight made headlines all across America. The publicity was instrumental in the growth of NASCAR.

                     
                   

 
Video of the 1979 event

 

Daytona 500 - 1979 - The Fight - interview with Drivers

 
Bobby Allison about the 1979 fight

 

Donnie was never one to back down from any challenge. Including the Indy 500.

 
      Allison also competed in the Indianapolis 500 twice, finishing 4th and winning
                                 Rookie of the Year in 1970 and finishing 6th in 1971.



The Alabama Gang





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


                                          Neil Bonnett - Donnie Allison - Bobby Allison

           

  
       Red Farmer, Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, ex-heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield, Richard Petty

                     


Donnie Allison Profile

Donnie Allison was never a full time driver but won 10 Winston Cup races and was a member of the famed "Alabama Gang", but Donnie may be best remembered for his role in the infamous brawl with Cale Yarborough following the 1979 Daytona 500.

During most of the '90s Allison worked with a number of race teams in both the Winston Cup and Busch series.  Allison admitted, " I've done deals with race teams just trying to make a living.  I want to run competitive-like I used to do when I was a driver.  I want to race.  I don't want to just show up."

Donnie did not grow up wanting to be a race driver, it was a challenge by his brother Bobby that turned him to racing.  Bobby told Donnie that he would never be a race driver and with that in mind Donnie proved his older brother wrong.  Donnie went on to win close to 400 short track races throughout the country as well as 10- NASCAR Winston Cup events.  His Winston Cup wins included victories at Daytona, Talladega, Charlotte, Atlanta, Rockingham and Bristol.

It was Banjo Matthews who gave Donnie his big break in 1968.  Donnie said Banjo was the best thing that ever happened to him and Banjo was the smartest man he had ever been around in Winston Cup.

Banjo Matthews and Donnie at Daytona

He enjoyed the best season of his career in 1970 while driving for Matthews.  Allison never competed in more than 21 races in a single season, won the World 600 at Charlotte, the Firecracker 400 at Daytona and the Southwestern 400 at Bristol that year and in 19 starts, Allison had 10 top five finishes.  Donnie also finished fourth in the Indianapolis 500, winning honors as the series' top rookie while driving for A. J. Foyt.

Allison said his biggest disappointment was not winning the Daytona 500 or any races at Darlington.  Donnie had the fastest car at Darlington five straight races and still couldn't find a win.  Donnie was in a position to win the Daytona 500 on three occasions, 1969, 1974 and 1979 but failed to capitalize.  The 1979 Daytona 500 has to be the most famous and controversial  one of them all.  Donnie was leading as the field was given the white flag.  He and Cale Yarborough tangled while battling for the lead on the last lap.  Shortly after the race, they were involved in a fight that also included brother Bobby and was featured on National TV.

 

Model by Heikki Reinikka from FINLAND

 

 

 

 

Donnie's career came to a halt in the 1981 World 600 at Charlotte when he was severely injured in a crash in which Dick Brooks rammed into him after Allison spun in turn four.  He only competed in thirteen Winston Cup races after that accident.  His last race was the Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 21, 1988.

Allison said, "I had all the confidence in the world in my abilities and the fact that my injuries were healed, but I just could not get the opportunity (to drive a top car again).  I talked to several people, but for whatever reason, they weren't sure about my head injury or...I just never got the opportunity.  It was all downhill from then on."  Allison's desire to win was what helped him build his racing career.  I often wonder what he could have done if not for that one accident that took him away from Winston Cup and racing for the top owners.

Starts Poles Wins Top-5 Top-10
242 17 10 78 115


Allison is an original member of the “Alabama Gang”, beginning his career when brother Bobby told him he would never be a race car driver. He proved him wrong claiming the Grand National Rookie of the Year Award in 1967. Allison’s best career season came in 1970 winning three races and claiming 10 top fives in just 19 starts. Allison is also credited with a 1970 World 600 victory and a fourth place finish in the Indianapolis 500 the same month, taking the race’s Rookie of the Year honor. He is considered one of the best cross-over drivers in racing.

Donnie Allison, Inducted 2009

     


 

The ALLISON FAMILY


Younger brother Donnie Allison was born on September 7, 1939 and his older brother Bobby  was born on December 3, 1937 in Miami, Florida, to Edmund and Katherine “Kittie” (Mom) Patton Allison; the brothers were two of 13 siblings, only eight of whom lived to adulthood.

The Matriarch of the Allison Family, Kittie (Mom) Allison passed away March 6, 2008. She and Ed (Pop) had 13 children, 8 of whom are still living, 25 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. Mom was a devout Catholic and an inspiration to everyone she knew. Born and raised in New Jersey, Mom lived in Miami, FL most of her life and raised her children there. She and Pop moved to Hueytown, L to be near their family and racing in the 1970's. A Lifetime Member of the Winston Cup Ladies Auxiliary in Racing (WAM) Mom was always on the racing scene and flew to many tracks with her son Bobby to watch him and Donnie race. For the last few years, she made her home at the Little Flower Catholic Assisted Living Community in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mom will be greatly missed by her family and all who met her over the 101 years of her life.

Funeral Mass was held at St. Aloysious Catholic Church in Bessemer, AL at 751 Academy Drive, Bessemer, AL at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 12th with burial  at Highland Memorial Gardens in Bessemer, AL.

Kittie Allison by Fr. Dale Grubba – March 18, 2008 (Edited)


                        Donnie, Kittie & Bobby Allison. Kittie celebrates her 98th birthday in 2004
                                            at Little Flower Assisted Living in Charlotte NC.

“She was the glue that always held us together.”
Will the heartbreak never end? It was a question repeated of the Allison family. The matriarch of this family was Kittie Allison, the mother of Bobby and Donnie. Kittie, who lived to be 101, passed away March 6, 2008. The Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated for Kittie Allison on March 12th at St. Aloysious Catholic Church, in Bessemer, Alabama. Like her Irish predecessor she knew the depths of pain and anguish. Like Rose, Kittie was one soft-spoken tough Irish Catholic.

Donnie would suffer severely from injuries in a wreck at Charlotte on May 24, 1981. From what Donnie has been able to piece together he was going into the fourth turn on lap 146 when he hit the wall and spun. As he was going into the infield Allison was hit on the passenger side by Dick Brooks. Knocked unconscious Allison suffered a broken left leg, five broken ribs, a fractured right shoulder blade and cheekbone, as well as a collapsed lung and a serious concussion. That wreck ended Donnie’s career.

“I only wish Donnie could do as well as Bobby,” Kittie confided at the time. It would never come to pass.

Then the dark side of fate befell the Bobby Allison family. On June 19th, 1988, at Pocono Speedway during the parade lap Bobby radioed to his pit that a tire was going down. The Buick fishtailed and came to a halt sideways on the track only to be hit by an oncoming racer at 180 mph. Bobby would suffer a badly broken left leg and severe brain injuries. He was flown to Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he struggled to remain alive. Later he returned to Hueytown to begin his rehabilitation. Badges in red and white pleaded, “Hurry back, Bobby,” but his career had ended.

To this day Bobby Allison carries a picture of his two sons, Clifford and Davey, in his wallet. “Davey is the serious one,” Bobby explains. Clifford, with two fingers raised behind Davey’s unsuspecting head, was the mischievous one. On August 13, 1992, Clifford Allison lost his life while practicing for a Busch race at Michigan International Speedway. Eleven months later, on July 13, 1993, Davey would die from injuries he received when the helicopter he was piloting crashed at Talladega Speedway.

Rose Kennedy once said, “I tell myself that God gave my children many gifts – spirit, beauty, intelligence, the capacity to make friends and inspire respect. There is only one gift He held back – length of life.” Kittie would have agreed and shared the sentiment that they could not allow themselves to succumb to tragedy knowing that if they did it would have a bad effect upon the family.

Yet Kittie would wonder. At the death of Davey she would ask how much more Bobby and Judy could take. Then she would say, “I just hope I can be enough for them, that’s all. You have to go on and accept it. You can’t ask why. Someday we might know.”

Kittie’s once asked what she would give her children if she could only give them one thing, “It wouldn’t be wealth or lands or estates or privilege. It would be faith. FAITH!”

Whenever the Allison family went on a trip in their car, Kittie would say, “Now let’s get this trip started off right and they would all make the sign of the cross.” Bobby would encourage those with him to do the same whenever he took off in his private plane.

While Kittie lived to be over 100 years old both were well versed in how fragile life can be. “When my time comes, I’m going to go,” Davey philosophized. Still it wasn’t easy for those who survived. Rose and Kittie survived on steely Irish determination and an abiding faith in God.

 

Donnie Allison talks about the Davey Allison Tribute Lap

Bobby Allison (L)

Donnie Allison (FR)

Roland Via (Rear R)
 (Webmaster)

Bill France, Jr.
Funeral in Daytona Beach
June 2007

 

 

 

 

 


   


                       

  • Member of the famed, "Alabama Gang" - ten Winston Cup wins, seventeen pole positions (15 superspeedway)
     
  • 1967 NASCAR Rookie of the Year - Grand National (Winston Cup)
     
  • 1968 Wins at North Carolina Motor Speedway-Rockingham; NASCAR Most Popular Driver - Grand Touring Division
     
  • 1969 Wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway
     
  • 1970 Wins at Bristol Motor Speedway - Wins World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway - Wins Firecracker 400 Daytona International Speedway
  • 1970 NASCAR Most Popular Driver - Late Model Division
     
  • 1971 Wins Winston 500 Alabama International Motor Speedway
     
  • 1976 Wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway
     
  • 1977 Wins at Talladega Superspeedway - Wins at North Carolina Motor Speedway; Rockingham
     
  • 1978 wins Atlanta Journal 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
     
  • 1990 competes in the "Winston Legend" race at Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Won over 500 short track races in career
  • 1970 Indy Rookie of the Year
  • Member of World 600 Winners Association, Unocal Darlington Record Club, Alabama Racing Pioneers, Old Timers Club, Legends of Racing, Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Florida Sports Hall of Fame

                               

            

                 

 

Donnie Allison's hand and footprints at Lowe's Motor Speedway 

 

Donnie Allison DRIVER Statistics

Grand National and Winston Cup Statistics
 
Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1966 26 2 of 49 0 0 1 0 664 0 2,180 64 33.0 18.0
1967 27 20 of 49 0 4 7 0 4336 158 17,613 16 11.7 14.6
1968 28 13 of 49 1 5 8 1 3829 284 50,815 25 6.8 14.2
1969 29 16 of 54 1 10 11 2 3893 400 78,055 24 7.5 12.0
1970 30 19 of 48 3 10 12 1 5252 697 96,081 40 7.0 10.5
1971 31 13 of 48 1 7 9 5 3017 806 69,995 29 4.2 12.1
1972 32 10 of 31 0 2 3 0 1385 35 16,826 36 12.4 23.7
1973 33 14 of 28 0 2 5 0 2904 44 41,246 35 7.2 19.5
1974 34 21 of 30 0 6 10 2 5101 181 60,314 17 6.2 17.4
1975 35 14 of 30 0 3 6 2 2819 33 49,080 28 5.8 19.8
1976 36 9 of 30 1 2 5 0 2178 104 48,455 34 7.7 17.8
1977 37 17 of 30 2 9 10 3 4133 1163 146,435 24 4.2 14.7
1978 38 17 of 30 1 7 8 0 3876 209 127,475 25 9.2 16.9
1979 39 20 of 31 0 7 10 1 4921 293 144,770 24 9.4 14.7
1980 40 18 of 31 0 3 6 1 3794 231 92,640 26 11.1 21.3
1981 41 6 of 31 0 1 1 0 1306 2 38,745 44 23.8 21.5
1982 42 9 of 30 0 0 3 0 1818 1 38,180 45 23.3 21.7
1983 43 2 of 30 0 0 0 0 138 0 6,375   20.5 25.0
1986 46 1 of 29 0 0 0 0 131 0 1,840 114 30.0 33.0
1988 48 1 of 29 0 0 0 0 114 0 3,000 81 41.0 35.0
20 years 242 10 78 115 18 55609 4641 1,130,120   9.4 16.7
Other years with DNQs in this series (1983-1991, 1993-present): 1987 (2)

Busch Series Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1984 44 1 of 29 0 0 1 0 200 0 8,355 72 34.0 8.0
1986 46 6 of 31 0 1 2 0 585 0 17,555 38 25.0 21.7
1987 47 10 of 27 0 0 2 0 1450 12 15,788 34 17.0 20.0
1988 48 2 of 30 0 0 0 0 300 1 6,426 63 15.0 18.0
1989 49 1 of 29 0 0 0 0 7 0 2,225 94 31.0 37.0
5 years 20 0 1 5 0 2542 13 50,349   20.8 20.6

Grand National East Series Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1972 32 2 of 15 0 0 0 0 96 0 450   11.5 18.0
1 year 2 0 0 0 0 96 0 450   11.5 18.0

Camping World West Series Statistics   (1971-present only)

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1972 32 3 of 30 0 0 1 0 364 0 375   7.7 13.0
1977 37 1 of 20 0 0 0 0 27 0 130   4.0 18.0
1980 40 1 of 11 0 0 0 0 102 0 425   9.0 19.0
3 years 5 0 0 1 0 493 0 930   7.2 15.2

IROC Statistics (International Race of Champions)

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1979 39 3 of 5 0 1 2   98 0 15,000 10 8.7 8.0
1980 40 1 of 5 0 0 1   50 0 0   2.0 8.0
2 years 4 0 1 3   148 0 15,000   7.0 8.0

DNQ data may be incomplete or missing for some seasons. 

Note: Page under construction. Please send stories or pictures for inclusion.


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